As for how we can protect ourselves from these intrusions into our privacy? Aside from everything mentioned above in Jacob Appelbaum’s Q&A workshop, which included some brief remarks about open-source software and an in-depth discussion on maintaining anonymity by using the Tor Network and how to secure your cell phone and computer, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has provided a 12 step program – originally publish in 2002 and still very relevant today – with some suggestion on how we can protect our online privacy:
- Do not reveal personal information inadvertently.
- Turn on cookie notices in your Web browser, and/or use cookie management software or infomediaries.
- Keep a “clean” e-mail address.
- Don’t reveal personal details to strangers or just-met “friends”.
- Realize you may be monitored at work, avoid sending highly personal e-mail to mailing lists, and keep sensitive files on your home computer.
- Beware sites that offer some sort of reward or prize in exchange for your contact information or other personal details.
- Do not reply to spammers, for any reason.
- Be conscious of Web security.
- Be conscious of home computer security.
- Examine privacy policies and seals.
- Remember that YOU decide what information about yourself to reveal, when, why, and to whom.
- Use encryption!
* Additional suggestions from EFF at the Surveillance Self-Defense Project.
The dangers of providing too much personal information cannot be over emphasized. It is up to us to make sure that we are protected not only from identity theft but also from private data mining organizations and governments that have developed massive data collection systems.
An open Internet is crucial for our development and growth as a collective, but this social networking can also occur without us providing sensitive information about our identity.
The Internet provides a great opportunity for us to create our second persona that will live in parallel with us, expanding our social network beyond our wildest dreams.
Through the Net, we can visit and live anywhere we want, and be anyone we want. The Internet is where we reside, it is our home, so until Social Networking Websites give us the option to choose the Internet as our hometown, we should travel the world.
Keep in mind that even an alternative spelling of our name, a different birth day, or a fake address can help protect your anonymity.