Below will be
A) a commentary explaining the basic issues,
B) a list of what you can do and,
C) articles and videos going into more depth so you can understand what is happening and what is at stake.
Additions will be at the end of each section.
A) Privacy, security, free speech and control over your information
should be extremely important to you.
The talk about your data, of facebook and Cambridge Analytica are but a drop in the bucket, it goes way beyond what you see on the news. Even facebook’s harvesting and selling of info on you is beyond what you’ve been told and there are many, many others out there gathering and selling information and data about you, your internet habits, surfing, even phone and location and it is NOT harmless.
It can affect you in ways you may never have imagined and we must all be aware and proactive.
Please open your mind to some of the issues. This is a short list, not at all complete, obviously.
Before I list some of the ways you can have at least some control over your data and your life and protect yourself, I’ll toss out there just a couple ways what they do can negativity affect you.
1) If do an internet search for, let’s say, “What are the symptoms of diabetes?” the fact you searched that can be sold to a health insurance company or anyone that may (or already does) employ you and you can end up not getting insurance, seeing your rates go up, being fired (or, “let go”) since the companies buying that data might decide you are too much of a risk to their profit.
Think about that, then think about how what you eat, what you buy, what political actions you take or support and on and on can affect you. If you are not intentionally sharing certain things (such as an internet search) you should not have to worry about Google (or other search engines) selling the search to anyone who wants to buy it.
There are companies compiling not only posts on facebook or elsewhere, and searches, but also your location (through your phone), where you go, how long you are there, what you buy (those “rewards” cards at stores are there to connect all the things you buy) and more.
It’s not harmless.
I’ll list below a number of ways you can limit what information is gathered about your life but just remember, if you’re online or use a phone or have a “smart” tv or virtually any other device like those there’s no fully safe, fully private life you will have.
For one, the government of the US (and other ones around the world) harvest info on EVERY call, text, search and everything else you do online or through your phone. That will be covered as I can, but you can always look up “William Binney” who was the 30 year veteran of the NSA, who wrote the code for the program that they eventually used to illegally and without a warrant spy on every American and many people’s communication around the world.
But, with that said, you can do a lot and here’s some info. Newest will be added to the bottom of the list and this is not necessarily listed in a well prioritized order, so please check out as much as you can and decide what steps to take.
And lastly, before the list, please don’t let the problems of privacy and all the ways data can be used stop you from dissenting or make you limit your life. Be smart but don’t let fear ruin you or this world.
(Check terms of service of the various companies, etc and read up on your own, I can not guarantee the info shared here as up to date or fully accurate, it’s up to you to decide)
B) What can you do?
1) Here are a few organizations that list some of what you can do, if you visit them please make sure to check out the rest of the list here.
2) Do not use Google search engine and limit as much as possible any use of their programs or products.
They are up top with harvesting of data.
3) Some search engines that at least claim to not save searches or sell your data are
More listed here:
4) Browsers (the program you use to access the internet on your pc, phone, table, etc)
Don’t use Chrome (it’s by Google), don’t use Safari (Apple) or IE (Microsoft). None of those companies have earned or deserve any of our trust whatsoever.
Browsers that claim they are focused on privacy are
More listed here:
5) Use “private mode” on whatever browser you use and delete cookies often, those can track your surfing. Read how to set and use your browser properly.
6) Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network). That encrypts traffic between your computer or phone and the site you visit.
“Private mode” on browsers is helpful but does nothing at all to stop your ISP (Internet Service Provider), phone company or a clever hacker from seeing what sites you visit and what you are viewing/texting/sending, etc.
The EFF has some info on VPNs
You can also help FFTF and get a VPN here (but feel free to research on your own)
7) If you run a website get an SSL certificate. That makes your site be encrypted with the visitor. When you see the (usually something like) a green padlock up in the address bar (not the search bar, but where the name of the site which is like https:together4earth.one is)
https is secure, http is not.
8) Limit what apps you put on your phone. Read what permissions you allow before you use one. Click “more” on some phones to see permissions given that aren’t the first ones they bother to tell you about.
Hundreds of apps have been found to be spying on people using the mic and camera and some are wanting permission to send a receive and even alter texts, check into that.
Here is a bit of info at the link below, but again remember, a lot of what can be done to listen and watch and harvest info will NOT be evident nor stated nor have any way to opt out, so not having a smart phone or at the least turning it off and putting it away is the safest.
9) Turn your phone off when not using it. Getting a case or sleeve that blocks the signal is a good idea (and if you get one test it to make sure it actually blocks signals by having it turned on with the ringer turned all the way up, put it in the sleeve or box and then call it from another phone. If the sleeve or whatever does block the signal the phone should not ring and the call should go straight to voicemail. At the least turn it off and put it in a drawer or something. Phones can be turned on remotely and the camera and mic can be turned on without any light or indicator they are on.
10) Don’t sign into sites unless you need to and when leaving there sign out. Turning your browser off and then back on if it’s set to be private can erase cookies and history so that any tracking that site does use may be blocked from being used by them.
Don’t ignore things like this, data selling is a multi billion dollar industry. Companies and sites use it all the time.
11) Only use “loyalty” cards and accounts if you really think it’s worth it.
12) Turn off and unplug your tv (or have it on a power strip that you can easily switch off and on) if it’s a “smart” tv.
Samsung in their TOS actually state right there that ANYTHING said within where the tv can hear it is transmitted to a 3rd party. Who that is or what is done with it is obviously out of your hands. Think about that. Those also have cameras…. think hard about that.
The convenience of those being voice command and needing a camera can’t be worth having your house bugged, can it?
13) Don’t buy into the Alexa or other devices that are voice command and connected to the internet.
Again… you are bugging your own life. You are putting you and every visitor to your house or around you under surveillance by people that make money selling data and info and marketing.
It’s not worth it, don’t buy into it.
14) How to Keep the NSA From Spying Through Your Webcam
15) Anything with a mic or camera (smart tv, cell phone, pc, laptop, tablet, Alexa type devices, a home security system hooked up to the internet) could be used by a company, government agency, hacker, pepping tom or blackmailer if they know how to do it.
Question if you need those devices and if so do they really need to be plugged in and turned on and with you all the time?
Technology can serve us, it can also be harmful. Be smart about what you have and how you use it.
C) Articles, videos and info on data harvesting,
your data being used and sold, privacy, etc.
1) Facebook Buys Sensitive User Data to Offer Marketers Targeted Advertising
2) Facebook, This Is Not What “Complete User Control” Looks Like
3) A very good short video dealing with US government surveillance of everyone. Note that it is from a few years ago so the amount of data (including texts and all phone info) isn’t even included in the already massive amount of data he mentions.
4) Think Facebook knows a lot about you? Google is WORSE! From deleted files to location history, IT expert reveals the extent of the personal data the search giant holds on you
5) Video: Voice sniffing or eavesdropping? Amazon’s Alexa security remains a controversy (They kid around a bit but please watch the whole short video, they cover some important points)
6) Is your TV spying on YOU? It sounds like science fiction but many new TVs can watch you – telling advertisers your favourite shows or even filming you on the sofa. And there’s no off switch!
7) He covers a few things in this video below, starts with facebook and google, then after a bit how the DHS is working on tracking ALL journalists, bloggers and anyone sharing articles and information.
Get aware people, read up and research on your own and awaken others!
8) ‘Very damaging’ or inevitable? Lawyers assess US proposal to rummage through visitors’ social media
Additions to all 3 of those sections will be added at the bottom of each.
Please research on your own.
Please don’t write off these issues as “just the way it is” or not important or that it doesn’t affect you. It does affect you and will only get worse until we protect ourselves as much as possible and simultaneously work to get people in office and support companies that respect our privacy, our rights and the Constitution.
Some of those things are in various posts on this site, please check them out and don’t forget to check back and also share this with others. Many people are totally unaware of the depth of these problems or what they can do. Help inform them.
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