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Don’t Get Distracted By Buzzwords

Data privacy. Information security. Big data. These buzzwords are getting a lot of play lately, especially as the concepts and concerns behind each become more and more intertwined.

In the scenario (real or hypothetical) that is most commonly used to cause people to sit up and take notice, questions are raised about one or more of the big data collectors (Google, Facebook, Verizon, Acxiom, etc.) and their motivations for aggregating zettabytes (or is it yottabytes?) of digitized information about you and me, how they are using it, who might have access to that information, and how far they are or may be stretching the laws and regulations, not to mention the bounds of human decency.

Now, let me be clear: I’m not defending these players. I have no special insight into how they operate. I have my opinions, but those are worth very little once they make their way outside my brain and onto a blog post or tweet or in casual conversation. But the unknown is fertile ground for growing fear, uncertainty and doubt, and it’s easy to demonize under those circumstances.

This post is not about any of that, other than as a preface to say that while the world is wringing their hands over the shadowy relationship between Big Data, Big Business and Big Brother, most of us should be paying closer attention to small data. We can’t do much about the enormous amounts (what’s bigger than a yottabyte?) of data being generated, collected, and analyzed by others, but we can do a lot about the kilobytes of data we might generate and share each day.

If you are truly concerned about the security of your personal trail of digital bread crumbs, generate fewer of them—and protect the ones you do make. Here are a few suggestions:

Use cash and shop locally. Turn off your cell phone when you aren’t using it, and disable location tracking when it’s on and you are. Hand-write letters and snail-mail them rather than use email or social media to keep in touch with folks. And when you must share sensitive information online, protect it.

There are many tools available to protect our personal information. Of course, we think HoGo is a good choice to make. It’s simple, inexpensive and it works. And that’s why we like to say...

When you need to protect it, HoGo it!

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