Do you want to keep your privacy? Well, in today’s world, it’s really impossible. However, there are many things you can do to help protect your privacy to an extent. Here’s a list of “Do’s & Don’ts” to help you keep your privacy. Add more tips in the comments below…
In case you didn’t know it, there’s an ongoing assault on your personal and financial privacy. Countless private organizations as well as some specific ‘alphabet agencies’ are collecting and maintaining detailed records on all of us.
While clearly your privacy is under siege, there are things you can do about it…
Keep your mouth shut
“Loose lips sink ships”. There always seems to be someone in a crowd, group, or setting who has the loud and boisterous voice. Perhaps a braggart or self-important individual. A first rule of privacy is to keep your mouth shut. Especially while in public, or any environment where others will hear what you say.
Don’t flaunt what you have
People love to flaunt what they have. Whatever it is. By doing so, you may become a target. Be modest, not flashy. Don’t draw attention to yourself. Keep things private.
It is apparently legal for others to go through your curbside trash. Never throw away important documents which will reveal your personal or sensitive information.
Protect or Encrypt computer files
Most people keep some (or many) important documents and files on their computer. Snoops and hackers may be able to get in and see or download these documents. With that said, today’s firewalls and routers are pretty good at keeping them out.
You might consider keeping one computer separately for sensitive file storage. One that you do not let connect to the internet. File transfer via USB drive (for example).
You might purchase a VPN plan (virtual private network), which will also help prevent ‘man in the middle’ attacks while on the internet (it’s an encrypted ‘tunnel’).
Additionally you might consider to encrypt your sensitive files with one of the many software encryption programs that are available (some free, some are pay).
Privatize your email
It should be well known by everyone these days that unless you’re using encrypted email, it can be easily intercepted and read. So either assume that everything you write in an email can be read by ‘anyone’, or consider using an encrypted email service (e.g. ProtonMail.com).
Have you ever wondered why some email is free (like gmail)? Well, the big tech behemoth reads them all, and tracks you, and sells your information.
Note: Protonmail.com (no affiliation – although I use them). I do pay for their email service and VPN (along with other included perks). They also offer free private encrypted email. Most agree they are the best as far as privacy. They make their money by selling paid email plans (which include more services) and they sell VPN services / packages.
Anonymize your internet searching and browsing
All of the most popular widely used internet search engines will track every search that you ever make. Additionally, it is well known that the NSA program “PRISM” (and likely others) similarly can keep track of what you’re looking for on the internet with apparent cooperation from the internet service providers themselves.
That said, you should consider using anonymous search engines which do not log or track your IP address when you search online (e.g. search.brave.com, or DuckDuckgo.com). For example, I use Brave (browser and search). And a VPN (proton).
Use cash instead of debit or credit cards
Cash is private. Although there is a definite move towards a cashless society (a watched and controlled society), while you can, you can still use cash if you’re concerned at all about your online ‘dossier’. When you purchase with a debit or credit card, there’s a record of what you’ve bought (forever?), where you’ve bought it, and when you bought it.
Don’t sign up for promotional enticements or discount offers
Have you ever considered why a store might offer you a 10% discount or a $30 discount (etc..) to ‘sign up’ for their store card? Your information is worth money to them. You will be targeted with mailings (and spam mail & phone calls) based on what you purchase, your personal demographic, and other such things. Your name, address, phone number, and email address will go out far-and-wide. Is it worth it for you to do that? Some don’t care. But if you’re concerned about privacy, don’t sign up.
Avoid Facebook, Twitter, and similar social websites
If you’re concerned abut privacy, then it should be a no-brainer that social websites like Facebook (for example) are anything but private. Additionally, it is known that Facebook is apparently a cooperating partner with the ‘PRISM’ program of the NSA, and other .gov programs. Everything that you say on Facebook, every picture you upload to Facebook, is a permanent record of your life for others to peer into…
Be aware that your smart phone is leaving ‘breadcrumbs’
Smart phones are specifically tied to ‘you’. Unless you’re buying a ‘burner phone’, when you sign up for a new cell phone your social security number (as well as your personally identifiable information) is linked to that specific phone. Not only are your calls potentially monitored, but it has been widely reported that many ‘apps’ have total access to the phone’s microphone, camera, GPS position, messaging, etc.. Your phone can track your movements (to other entities) and it could be ‘looking’ at you right now and listening to what you’re saying. Creepy…
Yes, I have a smart phone, just like most everyone else. Although I know it leaves breadcrumbs when its with me, I do pay particular common-sense attention to the Apps and their privacy settings. If someone has a cell phone and they don’t want to leave breadcrumbs when they’re traveling to XYZ, well, when going there, don’t take your cell phone. Or put it in a signal blocker bag…
Cell Phone Faraday Bags
I’m not paranoid, and I know that it is literally impossible to keep your privacy in full. I simply take measures where I can, to help mitigate the gush of personal information that is sucked up each and every moment from the giant vacuum cleaner of modern technology.
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