Keeping your life private in this day and age of total surveillance isn't easy.
That's because it isn't just your government that's spying on you.
We're all under constant threat of identity theft and other forms of electronic fraud, too.
You might be surprised to learn, though, that the biggest threat to your online privacy…
Recently I talked to privacy expert Frank Ahearn about what you can do to stop endangering your own private data.
Here's a summary of what he told me.
Freedom Fight: How To Stop Hackers & Government Spies From Targeting You On The Internet!
Do you want more privacy?
Do you want your data to be more protected?
Well, the first thing you've got to do is actually stop and THINK about what you post online and what you search for.
Have you ever Googled an idea?
Searched for a hotel?
Posted your private thoughts to Facebook?
Every time you do that, you're creating connections.
You're establishing a network of data that CAN be traced back to you.
Here are three questions you need to ask yourself every time you use your computer, your tablet, or your phone… to make sure the hole in your “personal firewall” isn't one YOU made.
1. What Connections Did You Create Today?
Privacy is based on our connections.
It's about how we connect to other people.
Anytime someone feels the need to create some privacy and disappear, they need to STOP what they are doing and they need to find a new connection that CANNOT be attached to them.
Think backwards, and think about the things you searched.
Most people and most investigators (and even predators) will look for what a person has left behind.
- What was it you last searched on your computer?
- What phone calls did you make?
- What emails did you send and receive? Did you use the computer for directions to where you are going?
- Did you search for the weather at that locale?
- Did you do some online shopping that could otherwise lead someone to you?
2. Are You Using Privacy Software?
Most people don't think to use privacy software.
It's available and you should start using it.
An IP blocker or anonymizer, a prepaid cellphone… these things are NOT private.
They may be private on YOUR end, but they're not private on the receiver's end!
When you walk into a store and buy a prepaid phone, there is a camera watching you.
You are therefore traceable to that service.
You need to think about online and offline privacy in that sense, in terms of the connections your actions make.
The other reason you need privacy software is that the “secure” websites you are using are only as secure as the people running them.
Every day we hear about compromises of personal data, in which third-party locations see breaches that expose your account data.
Just because someone shows you a baseball with Babe Ruth’s signature on it does not mean that baseball is authentic, and just because a website has a fancy seal on it does not mean it's actually secure.
What Are You Volunteering?
When you use free online services, like Gmail, you are voluntarily giving up a goldmine of personal data.
Your information is scanned and extracted and that information is very valuable.
Just because you delete online information, or shut off your cellphone, or shut off your utilities and cable, doesn’t mean that information goes away.
It is always within the system.
Before you shut things down, start deviating from known information about you on those accounts.
This way, when you leave, they don’t have correct information to use to trace you.
When considering the privacy mistakes you are making, always think in terms of the connections you establish, especially when you volunteer parts of your data and your life.
YOU will always be the greatest threat to your own data security.