In age when companies know more about you than ever, do you know what they’re doing with all your data? In honor of Data Privacy Day, F-Secure is sharing its recently inauguratedprivacy principles that outline how it treats customer data, while on the flip side, its Freedome privacy app tells nosy online advertisers to mind their own business.
We give companies unprecedented access to our personal information and shopping habits. We give overtly, such as when we fill out a website form, as well as in ways we may not be aware of, in the case of online advertisers who track our clicks around the web and gain insight into our interests and preferences. These advertisers are building up detailed, extensive profiles about us. The apps we install garner even more of our information. The result: a mass of digital data is spread around about each of us that becomes increasingly difficult to control.
An Adroit Digital study found that 58% of respondents aren’t comfortable with the amount of information they have to give to get special offers or services from retailers, and 82% are uncomfortable with the amount of information online advertisers have about them. And according to a survey by SAS, more than 69% of respondents agree that recent news events have increased their concerns about their data in the hands of businesses. 85% of consumers in an F-Secure survey* say they only make online purchases from companies they know.
These statistics are no doubt affected by frequent reports of data breaches, but also a skepticism of what businesses and organizations may do with the data they are entrusted with. Last week, for example, Americans were shocked to learn that their government’s healthcare website had been quietly funneling consumers’ personal details along to advertising and analytics companies.
“It’s your stuff, not ours”
“Everyone’s personal data is growing exponentially,” says Samu Konttinen, Executive Vice President, Consumer Security at F-Secure. “That’s why F-Secure has put together our list of privacy principles, to let people know the core principles we follow when processing our customers’ personal data and content. These fundamentals are what our company has always stood for, and now we’re sharing them in a structured form. We want people to know when they deal with F-Secure, we respect the privacy of their data and content – it’s theirs, not ours.”
F-Secure’s privacy principles, which include stipulations like “No backdoors,” “If we don’t need it, we won’t ask for it,” and “we won’t use your data for hidden purposes,” are backed up by the strong privacy laws in F-Secure’s home country of Finland. Both privacy in general and communications privacy are secured via the Finnish constitution. Secrecy of communications in Finland is the norm.
These firm convictions push F-Secure to create products that embed privacy and security into their very design. One such product is F-Secure Freedome, a privacy app that combines anti-tracking technology with malware protection and VPN-provided WiFi security. Freedome’s tracking protection allows users to take control and keep online advertisers at arms’ length. And importantly, the product itself also takes pains to avoid infringing on users’ privacy: it keeps no logs of users’ browsing history.
“Now is the time to pick a good partner who gets it. It’s about you,” says Konttinen. “As our principles say, at F-Secure we believe a free and open Internet is for the betterment of humanity, and we can stand for privacy and digital freedom because we have the people to back it up.”
6 Tips for Defending Your Personal Data
- Check your settings. Use this handy list to check your privacy settings on all the most popular sites, from ecommerce to social media and more. Provided by the folks behind Data Privacy Day.
- Search carefree. Use F-Secure Search, our free search engine that makes sure your search history is not stored anywhere or linked to you
- Get informed. Use F-Secure App Permissions, our free app that lets you know what information you’re giving up to the apps you’ve installed on your phone
- Keep advertisers at bay. Use F-Secure Freedome, our privacy app that blocks third-party online advertisers from following you around the Web. Freedome is available for a free 14-day trial here.