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Digital skills: succeeding in a digital world
Digital skills: succeeding in a digital world

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2.3 Protecting personal data

An increasing number of services conduct business online. They all involve providing personal data over the internet such as name, address, credit card number and salary in relation to shopping, banking or even a job application process. In May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect and although an EU policy, its relevance for the UK is expected to continue even when the UK is no longer a member of the EU. GDPR places the obligation of keeping personal data safe with the person or company processing the data. However, it makes sense for you to do what you can to protect your own personal data yourself, as well as that of others. You can find a full guide to GDPR online (GOV.UK, 2018).

Ensure that the webpage is secure by looking out for these features:

  • secure sites will have a web address that begins https://
  • some sites may provide a padlock in the address bar
  • use websites that are trustworthy – you’ll be finding out how to judge how trustworthy a website is in Week 5.
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Figure 3 Personal data

There are a number of free tools that can warn you if a site you are accessing is considered unsafe before you access it. We’ve provided some examples below, but you might want to search for your own.

  • McAfee Site Advisor [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] – free download that gives ratings to signal when to click and when to skip.
  • Avira Browser Safety – a free browser extension for Chrome that blocks harmful sites, protects your privacy and finds deals while you shop.

Ensure you have permission from the owner, for example before you upload photos of them or their family to social media. You might think, for example, that you can post your photos of your grandchildren online, if you want to. However, think again! In one case, a grandmother was ordered to delete Facebook photos under GDPR or face being fined (BBC News, 2020).