Data privacy ranks up there with zombies on the list of things that people worry about. And who can blame them? 

Both come up a lot online, both are scary and, unfortunately, both are viewed (to varying extents) as concerns plaguing the paranoid. We hear about both data privacy and zombies so often, we’ve become desensitized to the gore and the risk — and we associate that same “it will never happen to me” thinking to both scenarios.

Consumers need to snap to and realize big data is coming to get them, and if THEY don’t start taking privacy seriously, businesses certainly won’t. 

The privacy data inventory that follows will help you see how little attention you're directing toward some pretty serious things.

Data Privacy Inventory

Please check all that apply:

  • Do you have a Facebook?
  • Do you comment on public Facebook pages?
  • Tag yourself or others in Facebook pictures?
  • Do you use social logins to access any websites or apps?
  • Ever give your email and zip code to a retailer?
  • Ever give any info in exchange for discounts? Or to make a purchase?
  • Ever store your credit card info on retail sites like Amazon?
  • Have any retailer-specific credit cards?
  • Do you check in to places on your smartphone?
  • Tweet about places you’ve been? Daily routines?
  • Share your detailed job history on LinkedIn?
  • Like videos on YouTube when signed in to your Google account?
  • Ever signed OUT of your Google account or opted out of browser tracking?
  • Do you turn off listening capabilities on your phone? How about your TV?
  • Ever look at all of the above and realize — with horror — that “online privacy” is a myth?

And now you’re wondering what I’m going to throw at you about zombies, right?! Stay away from bath salts and you should be fine. Back to privacy: companies aren’t demanding more info, consumers are giving it, and giving it freely. Because we’re lazy and enjoy easy access in return.

They're After Us. They Know We're Still in Here

But even though we’re our own worst enemies, companies DO have a responsibility to protect the enormous amount of data (a.k.a., Big Data) they’re collecting about customers — even when customers aren’t protecting it themselves.

The first step to holding THEM accountable though, is recognizing how much information you’re entrusting them with, and being (at least somewhat) selective when it comes to who knows what about you. And taking some basic safety precautions so that it's not so easy to get all of your info in one fell swoop.

Businesses can be expected to encrypt our data and provide a standard level of security to protect our information, but that obviously isn’t enough. They aren’t moving faster than those seeking to exploit confidential information. And, arguably, part of the reason why is because they don’t need to. Not when it comes to YOUR privacy, at least. They’re all over protecting their own.

Consumers aren’t savvy enough to demand more and businesses aren’t offering it as part of your standard service agreement. Expect more. Demand more. Understand your options and use them. When they see you paying attention, THEY will.

Because as it stands today, all it really takes is a bored teen you’ve kinda ticked off online to use a bit of social engineering to come at you in a doxxing hell fury that will make zombies seem preferable to the data privacy damage they can inflict.