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Technology Safety

Social Smarts: Privacy, the Internet, and You was created by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada

Thanks to smart phones, tablets and laptops, we can access the Internet and communicate to the world with the touch of our index finger.

Many of us use our mobile devices for much more than just making a phone call. We play games, we complete school work, we have our lives planned out in our calendar app, send emails, keep our contacts' information stored, take photos and videos. We also bank, browse and download. With your whole life accessible on one hand-held device, you should keep yourself protected.

Here are some tips to keep your device and everything in it safe:

  • Password-protect your device. All devices can be locked with a password or even your thumbprint.  It's an easy setting that can protect all of your information if your device is lost or stolen. Be sure to enable your password auto-lock setting so it locks after a short period of inactivity.
  • Avoid connecting to unknown or non-password protected Wi-Fi networks. Free Wi-Fi is great, but unsecured wireless networks can compromise your information!
  • Don't store EVERYTHING on your device. Remove items that are not crucial so if it's lost or stolen, that information doesn't end up in the wrong hands. For example, don't keep your banking information, passwords, etc. on your phone.
  • Read before you install. Understand what information an app could access and share from your device, before you download.
  • Disable the geo-tagging setting on your device (Location Setting). Smartphones and tablets can automatically attach the exact location you updated your social media profiles, and can see where you took a photo. This setting can provide your location to anyone who has access to your profiles. 
  • If your device has the setting, turn on the "Find my phone" setting. This way, if it is lost or stolen, you can see where it is (if it is on).
  • Update your software when it becomes available. Downloading the latest mobile security software and operating system can protect you against viruses, malware and other technology threats.

Discarding your mobile device?

So the latest and greatest phone was just released and you HAVE to have it. So what are you going to do with your old phone?

Delete the files, right? Wrong. That's a good start, however, deleted files are easily recovered with free tools available right from the Internet.

You'll want to completely wipe out your phone. This will overwrite all of the information that has been stored on your phone. Recovery is impossible.

It's simple: use the factory reset option. That's all!

If your device has a SIM card and you can't use it in your new phone, physically destroy it! The same rule applies to external SD cards.

After you've wiped your phone, be environmentally friendly and recycle that phone!