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Protecting Your Data at Pride 2024!

As we welcome Pride Month 2024, we want to ensure we are promoting a safe, empowering pride season ahead for everyone. Large Pride festivals, parades, and fairs are planned in various cities and towns of all sizes all across the country this June, and while these events prove to be fun and crucial ways for our communities to come together and celebrate, any large scale event with big crowds can pose risks to our personal devices and data*.


*Personal Data, or Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is any information that can be used to identity or find a person. (Examples: Name, Email, Phone, SS#, ID#, Address, etc.)


Staying cautious, being prepared, and acting proactively can help you mitigate the consequences of a lost or stolen device or the potential leaked exposure of your personal information to data thieves and hackers.


At LGBT Tech, we want to ensure that you can enjoy all the festivities that Pride has to offer while keeping your devices and personal information secure. We have put together a quick list of 8 essential tips to help keep your data and personal information safe at Pride this year.


  1. Use Passcodes & Turn Off Face ID: Before attending large events, consider turning off your Face-ID features and utilize a strong, unique 6-8 digit passcode to lock and unlock your device. While Face-ID can be a quick feature for accessing your phone, having this turned off minimizes the chances that your phone can be accessed by force using your face for facial recognition if your phone is stolen or taken from you.

 

  1. Avoid Using Public, Unsecured WiFi in Crowded Areas: In areas of large crowds or near the festival site, try to refrain from using public, unsecured wifi networks or open hotspots that you are unfamiliar with. Hackers will often target unsecured networks near large events or set up fake hot spots to try to intercept data from unsuspecting individuals. If you must use a public or unsecured wifi network during a large gathering, first install and use a VPN before connecting your device to the wifi network.


  1. Be Selective When Sharing Information with Vendors & Exhibitors: One of the best parts of Pride festivals is getting to explore the vendors and exhibitors booths to learn about all of the great resources and services available to the community. Often, vendors will have different opportunities for you to engage or sign up with their organization through sign-up sheets, surveys, or give-aways. While we always encourage you to take full advantage of the vendors at your local pride, we also want to encourage everyone to use caution and discretion when sharing personal details like your name, address, email, phone, and social media handles, both on paper or digitally, with vendors at large scale events. Make sure the information you are sharing is going to be held in a secure location (including during the event) and that it is with an organization or business that you trust. 

  2. Backup Your Data: Prior to attending Pride, take time to secure your important files, pictures, and documents on your device by backing them up to a reliable and secure cloud service or even an external drive or USB. This will ensure that you have access to your memories and critical information even if your device is lost or damaged during the parade or festival.

 

  1. Keep Your Device Secure: Though this one may seem a bit like common sense, many of us are so used to having our phones at our side that we may not consider how easily they can be stolen unnoticed or dropped in large, loud crowded places. When at Pride, always keep your device safe and secure. Try to avoid putting your device in the back pockets of pants, or in front pockets of backpacks or bags where quick-handed opportunists could steal the phone without notice. If you are able to, think about purchasing a crossbody cell phone holder or a hidden pocket phone carrier.

 

  1. Enable 2Factor Authentication: Another proactive tip to add a layer of security to your online accounts and apps is to enable 2Factor Authentication (2FA) prior to attending any large scale events. Think about adding 2FA to your important accounts such as your email, work accounts, social media, bank apps, etc. Adding 2FA ensures that if your device is lost or stolen there will be a second layer of security protecting all of your accounts.


  1. Use Caution with ATMs and Credit Card Terminals: At Pride, just like with any large, public events, it is important to use caution when making purchases using your debit or credit cards. If you’re using ATMs or credit card terminals, make sure to check that the machines are free of any devices that can intercept your card information. A good rule of thumb to avoid any potential credit or debit card fraud at large scale events is to pay in cash or utilize Tap-to-Pay if that option is available to you. This minimizes your chances of encountering “skimmers” which are used to steal credit card data.


  1. Protect Each Other: Staying proactive and informed is a great way to help protect your own data and personal information, but we also have a collective responsibility to keep our community safe. Remember that not everyone attending Pride has the same level of comfort or safety when it comes to sharing their personal identity. Be respectful when you are filming or live streaming during Pride events, and try to ask consent from those in the crowd that you are filming before sharing or posting. If you cannot ask consent, consider avoiding taking photos or videos of faces of other Pride attendees you may not know. 


We hope these tips provide you with tangible steps to help safeguard your information at Pride this summer, and while it's crucial to remain vigilant about data protection, please don't forget to immerse yourself in the joy, progress, and resilience of our beautiful, diverse LGBTQ+ community during your local Pride celebrations. We at LGBT Tech wish you a happy pride season as we continue advocating for a world where everyone can live authentically and safely, both online and off.




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