****Consumer Alert **** Consumer Alert **** Consumer Alert ****
ATTORNEY GENERAL MADIGAN URGES CONSUMERS TO PROTECT THEIR INTERNET IDENTITY
Madigan Advises Google, Facebook Users to Protect Personal Information Online Today
Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today recognized Data Privacy Day and encouraged Illinoisans to take steps to protect personal information and communication online. Madigan said many computer users are unknowingly vulnerable to financial fraud and privacy invasions online, and they need to stay vigilant to protect their Internet identities.
In light of her investigation into Google, Attorney General Madigan together with her counterparts in states around the country are recognizing today as Data Privacy Day to prevent consumers from falling victim to online identity theft.
In May 2010, Google announced it had been collecting data over wireless networks. Street View, a Google feature that photographs homes, buildings, streets and other landmarks, also was equipped to capture data that was being transmitted over public networks. This data included user emails, passwords and web surfing activity. Madigan and the attorneys general continue to investigate Google’s collection of this data.
“Google’s collection of personal information demonstrates how easily someone can follow your Internet activity,” Madigan said. “Consumers should take this opportunity to follow the necessary steps to ensure protection of their personal information online.”
Madigan said it is important for consumers to know that the wireless routers they purchase are not automatically encrypted to protect their privacy online. Consumers must change their wireless settings to protect their data by consulting the instructions for their wireless router or visiting the router manufacturer’s website.
Also in recognition of Data Privacy Day, Madigan and several other attorneys general worked with Facebook, the online social networking site, to post a message to users to remind them to review their privacy settings on the site. The message sent today by Facebook will reach more than 32 million of its users. It will link Facebook users to the steps necessary to ensure appropriate privacy of their profiles on the site, and to control the information that strangers and friends can access and share from a user’s site.
In addition, OnGuard Online, a consortium of federal government agencies and technology industry experts, recommends additional precautionary steps to secure your wireless network and ensure safe web browsing. The steps below are provided by OnGuard Online:
Data Privacy Day, internationally recognized on January 28, brings necessary awareness to an individual’s right to protect his or her most sensitive and personal data. The day unites businesses, individuals, government agencies, non-profit groups and academics in a dialogue about how personal data should be collected, used and stored.
Consumers who believe they may be victims of identity theft are encouraged to contact Attorney General Madigan’s Theft Hotline at 1-866-999-5630. Consumers can also contact Madigan’s Consumer Fraud Hotline: