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Managing Your Privacy

It seems like more and more “smart” devices are popping up on the market – from baby monitors, doorbells, refrigerators, water bottles – giving you the ability to connect to the world around you. The downside to connected devices is they are constantly generating – and collecting – data about you and your habits. Your information has value - be thoughtful before sharing information and the permissions you are granting apps and services.

Table of Contents

Tips & Tricks for Managing Privacy Settings

Delete when done

Many of us download apps for a specific purpose, such as before a airline flight or a trip. It’s a good security practice to delete all apps you no longer use.

Review both Privacy Statements and settings

Privacy statements are required by law in many states and should answer fundamental questions:

  1. What personal information is collected?
  2. How is the information collected?
  3. Why is the information collected?
  4. How will the information be used?
  5. Who will have access to the information?
  6. What are your options?

While the privacy statement will outline the privacy practices of an organization, the privacy settings will give you control over how the data is shared. For example, does the Amazon app on your phone really need to know your location at all times?

phone app setting screen


 Make it a habit to review these settings early and often.

Keep it updated

Your phone and applications are just as vulnerable as your physical computer. It’s important to be sure to update promptly as this is your best defense against cyber-attacks.

Passwords are important here, too

A strong passphrase is a sentence or passphrase that is at least 12 characters long. Focus on positive sentences or phrases that are easy to remember. Connected devices and applications still contain information about you and your habits. It’s important to make sure that is just as protected as you would other sensitive data. Be sure to utilize multi-factor authentication (MFA) when offered. MFA uses a second piece of information in addition to a password, such as a pin number or token, to verify a user’s identity before granting access.

Remember, less is more

Think about what your putting online as it’s difficult to have information removed once it’s been posted. This goes for social media sites as well as applications and services requesting information about you. If it isn’t required, consider leaving it blank. And if a company does require information you don’t feel comfortable submitting, then reconsider creating a profile with that company.

Contact for Managing Your Privacy


For cybersecurity or risk management questions: Email Cybersecurity and Enterprise Risk Management at ERM@mass.gov


McCormack Building
1 Ashburton Place, 8th Floor, Boston, MA 02108
Date published: May 5, 2020

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