Seattle Times op-ed: Now are you ready to safeguard your personal data?

State’s chief privacy officer reminds consumers there are ways to protect online privacy

Thanks to social networking apps, smart speakers for the home, DNA ancestry services and other advancements in technology, information about our personal traits and behaviors is more accessible than ever, demanding that our society do more to protect privacy.

That was the subject of Washington State Chief Privacy Officer Alex Alben’s op-ed published today by The Seattle Times. It follows reports that a political firm accessed the private data of more than 50 million Facebook users in a way that violated Facebook’s rules.

Alex Alben, the state’s chief privacy officer

“No one wants to live in a world where their most essential data is profiled and monetized by unknown parties without their awareness and consent,” Alben wrote. “To get ahead of this curve, companies need to put in place much tighter and enforceable restrictions on data sharing. Simply giving notice to a consumer that they may share data with ‘third parties’ or ‘affiliates’ fails to protect consumers, as these sharing practices have proved to be a source of potential data breach.”

Read Alben’s op-ed here.

Consumers have a role to play as well. Alben recommends they visit privacy.wa.gov, the state’s website about protecting online privacy. It includes tips and tools, the latest privacy news and information about steps the state has taken to protect residents’ information.

Washington state’s privacy.wa.gov includes tips and tools for protecting online privacy.