5 Safety & Security Tips On Data Privacy Day

Credit: http://nyphotographic.com/. Licensed via CC BY-SA 3.0.

January 28, 2017 is International Privacy Day.  As the person behind the 25 state laws and the federal legislation (Social Networking Online Protection Act) that protects your social media privacy by banning employers and schools from being able to request that you provide access to your personal social media accounts, I am pleased to share 5 tips to better protect your personal safety and security on Data Privacy Day.

Use A Virtual Private Network When Logging Onto The Internet                                                              

One of the best ways to protect your personal privacy is to utilize a Virtual Private Network or VPN when logging onto the Internet either from desktop computer, a cell phone, or other mobile device.  A VPN cloaks your Internet Protocol (IP) address which is your physical location and provides greatly enhanced privacy and security by encrypting your Internet traffic.

There are free and paid VPN services.  I utilize several different paid VPNs depending upon the type of work I am doing and I highly recommend getting into the habit of using a VPN most of the time. I have found that when logging into my bank’s website it is best turn off your VPN because many banks will only allow you to access your account online if they can authenticate you via your IP address.

Use Secure Messaging Apps                                                                                                                                          

If you have some information that needs to stay private but needs to be sent to another person quickly a secure messaging app is an excellent option instead of a cell phone text. Signal or Telegram are potential apps to utilize for secure texting. Stay away from apps that are owned by Facebook or Google when privacy and security are paramount because these apps may share their data with other Facebook or Google services.

Use Strong Passwords Instead of Finger Prints To Secure Your Phone                                                            

Despite the push by some companies towards widespread usage of fingerprints to access your phone this is not a very secure method to protect your personal information. There are several cases where the government has successfully required people to open their phones with their fingerprints.  However, the government can’t require you to provide them your password because its a 5th Amendment violation.  If you can use both a password and a fingerprint or another form of two factor authentication that will also better protect your privacy.

Use DuckDuckGo Instead of Google                                                                                                                              

DuckDuckGo is an anonymous search engine that does not track your searches.  Google tracks your every search and sells this information to data brokers and other 3rd parties and this information may be utilized to discriminate against you when it comes to your home mortgage rates, credit card rates, prices you pay for online goods and services, and your insurance rates.

Use Tor Instead of Google Chrome To Access The Internet

Tor is a web browser that protect your privacy and safety and does not track your Internet activity.  In contrast, Google Chrome tracks you across the Internet and just like Google Search the information may be utilized to discriminate against you when you buy goods or services online and offline.

I could mention many more ways to better protect your privacy.  However, if you follow the above five tips you are off to a good start.

Copyright 2017 by Brad Shear All rights reserved.