All you need to know about Google's 'Good To Know'

Jan 24, 2012 5:29pm


By Emily Eckland, NCSA Managing Editor of Digital Media

Eric Davis is Google’s Global Public Policy Manager and an NCSA Board Member. Recently, Google launched “Good To Know,” a campaign to educate people and raise awareness about privacy and security.

We asked Eric to tell us about “Good To Know,” and the steps people can take to stay safe online this Data Privacy Day and throughout the year.

What is the “Good To Know” campaign?

“Good to Know” is our largest ever consumer advertising campaign focusing on educating users on privacy and security.

We have run a similar campaign around the “Good to Know” ads in other countries, and after seeing a positive reaction, we decided to extend the geography and scope of the campaign.

We believe it’s in everyone’s interests for consumers as well as companies to be more active and engaged in protecting themselves online. This campaign raises the bar for us - people will hold us to a higher level of account on issues like privacy and security.

That’s a big responsibility, but we’re doing it because we believe we can raise the bar for our industry.

What are you hoping to achieve with “Good To Know?”

Everyone wants to stay safe online, but many people don’t know all the tools and tricks that are available. The “Good to Know” campaign is the latest step in our ongoing effort to help users manage their privacy and security online.

Why is a campaign like “Good To Know” important for all Internet users – including novices and those who are tech savvy?

Good to Know gives more tech savvy users good references and language to use to teach other people in their life about technology and the importance of online safety. It’s a shared responsibility, and everyone should take part.

What are some ways people can protect their privacy and security online?

  1. Pick a strong password. You can use numbers, symbols and letters, and combining several short words often works well. The more unusual the phrase you choose the better.
  2. Be wary of urgent emails that request your personal or financial information, think before you click, and never enter your password after following a link from an email that you don't trust.
  3. Look for 'https' in the address bar and a padlock to check that a site is secure. When you go into a branch of your bank, you recognize the official staff by their name, their uniforms and the services they offer you. Having this level of reassurance shouldn't be any different for online banking or other sensitive services.
  4. Always lock your screen when you step away from your computer or leave your phone on the table. Ever gone out for the day and left your front door wide open? Exactly. The same principle applies when you leave your devices unattended.
  5. Use 2-step verification for accounts that offer it, like Google and Facebook. 2-step verification adds an extra layer of security to your account by requiring you to have access to your phone – as well as your username and password – when you sign in. This means that if someone steals or guesses your password, the potential hijacker still can't sign in to your account because they don't have your phone.

What steps can people take to secure their information on their mobile devices?

  1. Always use a passcode, password or security pattern to lock your phone.
  2. Never store personal details on your mobile device, in messages or emails. This includes things like your bank card pin number, any account passwords or security codes under obvious names in your contact list. You can use a code name if necessary.
  3. Only enable application installs from unknown sources if you plan to review your apps very carefully (e.g. for Android apps, be wary of those from outside Android Market). It’s always helpful to check permissions before downloading an app.
  4. Check the source of all your files and apps to make sure they’re safe before you download. For example, if you see a URL like www.goog.le.com and not www.google.com it’s probably safer to leave the site.
  5. If you give your phone away when you get a new one, make sure you do a factory reset to clear all of your personal data.
  6. If your phone goes missing, report it right away and work with your provider or police to either locate or deactivate it remotely. Change the password for your online accounts that can be accessed through your phone.
  7. Only allow automatic updates for apps you really trust.

Where can people see the “Good To Know” campaign?

The ads are appearing online, outdoors in subways in New York and D.C., and in nearly two dozen newspapers and magazines for the next few weeks. Some of the publications include the New Yorker, the Economist, Time magazine, USA Today, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and regional newspapers across the country.

People can also view more content at our Good to Know site.