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Data Privacy Week: A Countdown to January 28

Dimple T Shah

Data Privacy Week: A Countdown to January 28
South_agency via Getty Images

The ABA Litigation Section’s Privacy and Data Security Committee is celebrating Data Privacy Week 2024 with the theme “Take Control of Your Data!”

This year, artificial intelligence (AI) is also top of mind with the widespread adoption of Generative AI (GenAI) tools such as ChatGPT and Google’s Bard. Let’s dive into a few privacy-centric tips on data protection and responsible AI use.

Mindful Data Management

  • Be wary of apps or services that require access to information that is not related to their services.
  • Delete unused apps.

Adjust Privacy Settings

Check privacy and security settings on your apps, accounts, and devices. Set them to your comfort level for personal information sharing. Start small and over time you will make adjusting these settings a habit.

Protect Your Data

  • Create strong, complex passwords (at least 12 characters), unique for each account and device. Use a reputable password manager to store each password securely.
  • Turn on multifactor authentication (MFA) wherever it is permitted.
  • Turn on automatic device, software, and browser updates, or make sure you install updates as soon as they are available.

Learn to Identify Phishing Messages

A few questions to ask when confronted with suspicious texts or emails are: Is the greeting ambiguous or very generic? Does it stress an urgency to click on unfamiliar hyperlinks or attachments? Does the sender’s email address match the company it’s coming from? If you’re in an office, report any suspect emails to your IT manager or security officer as soon as possible. If you receive a personal email, delete it! Advanced steps involve blocking the sender, and if your email platform allows, reporting phishing attempts.

Much Ado about AI

Data is the key input to GenAI. We must exercise caution when using GenAI tools. As a general rule, do not enter any privileged, sensitive, or protected information. Follow your employer’s AI use policies and when in doubt seek your AI leader out! Additionally, do not completely rely on AI generated material, especially research. Make sure you fact-check, report false or biased output, and do not upload information without express authorization. There can be significant data privacy and  intellectual property / copyright implications including information that could potentially be leaked or accessed by others using public GenAI.

Author's note: The views expressed are my own and they do not reflect the opinions of my employer and affiliated organizations. The views expressed are not to be construed as legal or professional advice.