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Information Privacy Tips for Students

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When coming to campus this fall, it is important to remember to protect your personal information when selecting and using apps on your smartphone and tablet, and when using Internet applications and services. Before installing any application, be sure to review the apps privacy policy, review the data that it collects, and decide if you want to install the app with these concerns in mind. If you decide to install, use your device’s privacy settings to limit access to the information apps can use. In addition, you should follow best practices for smartphones/tablets, which include but are not limited to:

  • Always keep your mobile operating system up-to-date
  • Do not jailbreak or “root” your device as this compromises built-in security controls.
  • Prevent unauthorized access to your device: use a unique PIN or passcode, turn off Bluetooth capability when not in use, and set up remote disable in case your device is lost or stolen.

Recently, popular apps such as Pokemon GO have highlighted privacy and security concerns common with mobile apps. Pokemon GO collects location data and initially required full access to users’ Gmail accounts and contacts, which is a privacy concern. Crowdfunding mobile apps such as Kickstarter and GoFundMe collect personal financial information in order for users to conduct transactions, which is also a privacy concern. Sometimes it is not obvious what users are agreeing to when they initially install an app. Allowing apps to access your location data, contacts, email, network connections, among other information, enables companies to use this information for tracking and marketing purposes. Sharing personal and financial information in apps can put you at risk for identity theft.

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