Over the past couple years we’ve seen digital privacy take the world by storm. Recent revelations about government snooping, data breaches releasing personal information, mobile apps tracking your every move, social media sites exposing your personal life for their gain, etc. shows why digital privacy has become such a huge concern for anyone utilizing the internet today.
With these technologies grafted into our everyday lives, we need to understand the difference between privacy and secrecy before we dig any deeper. Privacy is what we choose to share with other people, or technology for that matter, while secrecy is protecting something from ever being seen. With this in mind let’s look at a few options we have to keep our digital persona private in a very public internet.
Secure your connection
Protecting your privacy is a multi-layered approach, but securing your connection to the internet is where you need to start. By logging into insecure public networks, such as at cafes, airports etc. you’re completely exposed to the risks of cyber snooping. Use VPN services or anonymizers, such as Tor, that can provide reasonably private connection to the internet even in public places. This doesn’t eliminate the risk entirely, but it does help lower the threats of malicious snooping.
Monitor your settings
Be careful about giving sensitive data to websites or applications that don’t really need them. Many sites these days ask for the world, but often times you don’t actually need to give them all your private data just to create an account with them. They want this data in order to get a better idea of your demographics so that they can market to you. Moreover they are likely selling this data too. Protect your sensitive data, birth date, email address, social security, etc., if you can and be very careful what you give out over the internet.
There are many tools which can be downloaded that force privacy within your browsers, computers and mobile devices at no cost. A few of the tools that allow for a more private browsing experience are:
In the age of mobile devices there are so many areas where your privacy can be taken advantage – it’s alarming. Your mobile device collects data about your contacts, texts, emails, phone calls and most disturbingly, your location. Having geolocation services enabled on your phone is very convenient, but it’s also giving away your location to multiple applications and services without your knowledge. Even if you’re not doing anything illegal, you should still be concerned about disclosing your every move to systems that are going to correlate it and with your habits to market to you.
In order to preventing access to your personal data, another way to protect your data is by encrypting it. Data can be encrypted when in motion and when at rest.
These are just a few steps you can take to secure your privacy while using the internet and technology. With so much of our personal data being sent across the internet, or stored on a device of some sorts, r in the cloud, it’s critical that you take privacy of this data seriously – even if you’re not a celebrity. We wouldn’t leave our homes unlocked and allow anyone to just wander through, so why would we allow this over the internet? Let’s be both safe and smart about how we interface with technology these days.
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