Sensitive Data

What?

Sensitive data is a specific category of personal data which needs a higher degree of protection, because it can reveal very intimate aspects of a person. This can include information about your health, political ideology or sexual orientation. We inevitably provide such data to search engines and social networks. If you get ill, there is no other easy way of finding information online about your symptoms or disease than using a search engine. The sensitivity of these data increases when they are combined with non-sensitive data that can be directly connected to you, such as your name, gender and sex. This information can then also be shared with third parties.

Why is this important?

In countries where human rights are respected the availability of these data might only lead to small annoyances, like seeing advertising related to your work or hobbies. Sometimes, it can also result in outright discrimination, such as your health records ending up in the hands of an insurance company that wants to charge you more because you seem to have a higher risk of a certain illness. In more repressive countries, the availability of sensitive information can lead to prosecution and torture. This is for example the case in Russia, where members of the LGBT community are frequently prosecuted.

How to protect myself online?

Even if most of us use Google’s search engine, there are alternatives. One of them is DuckDuckGo. DuckDuckGo’s privacy policy explains that it does not collect or share any personal information. By not letting your personal data be collected and by not sharing sensitive information with others, you are a step closer to browsing and looking for information on the internet in a private way. If you are searching for really delicate stuff online, it’s best to use the Tor Browser.

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The video was prepared by our member Association for Technology and Internet (ApTI) – Romania.


Read more about sensitive data here!

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