Data Privacy Tips from Secrets in Your Data | NOVA

In today’s technology-driven world, where so much work and communication take place online and digital devices are everywhere, our personal lives are no longer entirely private. Sometimes we share information on purpose, but personal information is often shared without our knowledge. Furthermore, companies and data brokers over the past two decades have made a big business out of tracking and selling information. Data security is a global issue, but its effects are felt at the individual and community level, and we can all take steps to ensure our safety and security online.

bubbles of data appear over a cityscape

NOVA’s Secrets in Your Data documentary provides viewers with an understanding of what happens to our personal data online, how it is used both to our detriment and to our benefit, and how citizens and communities can take steps to maintain their privacy online and move toward a less exploitative data future.

Take steps to secure your personal data online by following some of these best practices:

  • Create complex passwords that differ across applications and use a password manager.
  • Activate additional log-in authentication or 2-step verification on your applications.
  • Avoid using public Wi-Fi.
  • Use a prepaid credit card for online purchases.
  • Install and regularly update security software on all devices.
  • Review your settings for who can view your social media profiles.
  • Turn off Bluetooth and GPS on mobile devices when not actively in use.
  • Limit the number of apps that have access to your personal information.
  • Restrict cookies and use a browser extension that adds privacy features.
  • Block automatic downloading of images in emails.
  • Remember that the collection of personal data in the U.S. remains largely unregulated.

Receive emails about upcoming NOVA programs and related content, as well as featured reporting about current events through a science lens.

View the Secrets in Your Data outreach toolkit for more information about data privacy tips and check out additional resources below:

Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)

Electronic Frontier Foundation

Privacy International

Foundation for Technology and Privacy Outreach

Access Now

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse

Identity Review


NOVA Cybersecurity Lab

NOVA Crypto Decoded

Overview of the American Data Privacy and Protection Act, H.R. 8152

Future of Privacy Forum