Understanding privacy for consumers especially privacy for cops can be confusing. Your browsing history, emails and text messages can all be easily accessed if your privacy controls are not the best. Weak passwords and security answers do not help and only strengthen the ability for someone to hack your accounts.
Then there is the recycling of your data which increases your exposure. For example, whenever you sign up for an online account or obtain new software, by default you are opted-in to offers. These offers might allow you to receive notifications about third parties, automatically sign you up for actual offers, or even install unwanted software on your computer. Once you are opted-in to these programs, your information is shared with more companies. Most people do not realize that you must choose custom settings or begin to uncheck a long list of boxes that will opt you out from these subsequent offers that you did not want in the first place.
According to an article in Online Media Daily, “researchers at Carnegie-Mellon University said in a new report that current tools for opting out of online behavioral advertising are hard for people to understand and use.” The article further explains, “The default settings for most of the tools we tested were not appropriate for users who are interested in protecting their privacy.” And most companies do not want to make it easy for consumers.
As a person in law enforcement you are also a consumer. In an effort to keep your information from appearing in anymore databases, look for the opt-out policies of sites you visit online as you sign-up for new offers. There are many places you can check when you first sign-up up for an account. These places are the Privacy page of a site, in the Term and Conditions, in the Help section, and perhaps even on the Contact page. Opt-outs are another area to look into in an effort to maintain your privacy and police privacy and if you research or pay enough attention, you will have opted yourself out from some unwanted database before you are even opted-in.