5 Online Privacy Lessons You Can Learn from Edward Snowden
Feb 22, 2017 00:09
You don't need to worry about online privacy unless you have something to hide, right? Wrong. Privacy is not about hiding information but about having the right to not be observed or disturbed by others. Think it like this: as a teenager, you didn’t want your Mom overhearing things, so why would you, as an adult, want companies and governments know about your online whereabouts?
Most companies claim that your information is safe with them, but you can take further precautions by adding another layer to your "protective shield."
One of the best at breaking these shields is the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. So naturally, he’s also one of the best at giving advice on how to keep them standing.
1. Encrypt Your Calls, Texts, Chats and Emails
Encryption is “a way of putting clothes” on electronic communications as they travel “a hostile path,” Snowden says. After his revelations on NSA in 2013, tech companies like Google, Yahoo, Facebook responded by adding encryption measurements and user privacy while startup companies developed apps and hardware with higher security.
There are various tools you can use to encrypt communication between electronic devices, such as your computer or smartphone. You can also use a VPN service to protect your emails and chats.
You might think that as long as you keep your data on a hard drive, away from the cloud, nothing bad can happen. However, that doesn’t mean that you’re completely free from danger. You could lose your hard drive, or someone could steal it.
You wouldn't want information about you, your business, and your family to be available to the competition, would you?
You probably know that one-for-all passwords are not safe. However, you still use them. It’s easy and convenient. Think about it this way: if someone hacks your account on Goodreads, and you use the same password on your Facebook and PayPal accounts, then the hacker will get access to more than your list of favorite books.
With a password manager, you can create unique passwords for all your accounts without having to memorize them.
4. Use Two-Factor Authentication
With two-factor authentication, every time you log into your account, you will get a text or an email to certify that the one trying to log in is indeed you. That way, the attacker will need not only your password (the first factor) but your phone or another physical device as well (the second factor) to access your account.
Snowden recommends this option for every program that supports it, such as Dropbox, Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, or Apple ID.
5. Use Tor for Web Searching
Tor is one of the most important privacy-enhancing technologies used today. What Tor does is to allow you to hide your location, identity, and searches when browsing the internet. The information is bounced between different nodes run by volunteers making it difficult to track.
With every click you make your information is intercepted and used by companies and governments. But, sometimes, you get to choose when, where, and how you give your information. You can't control all of it. But if more and more of us make a statement out of protecting our privacy, our chances to produce a change in this matter are higher.
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