(NC) Whether shopping online, signing up for a newsletter or taking a virtual course, you’ve undoubtedly been asked to share personal information. Be aware of what personal information is and why you might be asked for it.
Personal data includes anything someone could use to identify you – a phone number, date of birth or mailing address, for instance. As the name suggests – it’s personal. Online transactions do require you to provide some information, but it’s important to know how to maintain control over your own personal information.
Here are four key tips:
Avoid fields not marked with an asterisk (*). Only fields marked with an asterisk are “required”. Required fields are usually your name and email address, plus address and payment details if you’re making a purchase. Before entering any information in a non-required field, always ask yourself why the organization is asking for it and if you’ll benefit from disclosing it.
You can withdraw marketing consent at any time. Did you sign up for a mailing list but you’re not interested anymore? No problem. Canada has stringent consumer privacy protection legislation, under which organizations need your express consent to send you marketing material – this is why so many stores ask for your email at the checkout. That consent only lasts for two years, and then it needs to be given again
Additionally, marketing emails must have an “unsubscribe” option. Know your rights as a consumer and always make sure you’re only getting communications you actually want to receive.
Find out how companies are using your data. Look for an organization’s privacy page to find out more about how they’ll use the data they handle. For example, in addition to its privacy commitment (policy), Telus has a Trust Model and a privacy centre that outline how it respects data. Clearly communicated privacy practices can be indications that an organization is working to be transparent and more worthy of your trust.
You can find out more about how to protect your personal data at telus.com/privacy.