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Private companies and the government should not track our data

Here are some of the organizations that are spying on you, and some of the simple steps you can take to protect yourself and your information. But even outside of the States, many governments have their own version of the NSA. The most prominent ones are: These government organizations regularly collaborate on spy programs with silly code namesbut their work is no laughing matter. The government can call upon technology companies to learn about you.

Tracking terrorists online might invade your privacy

Google has even made a petition for greater transparency. So technology companies are forced to work with the government.

  • The next time you use your Web browser, have a look at the URL bar;
  • Such a notice would legally compel a telecommunications firm to record all of the communications by the target s named in the warrant, and to transmit this information, in near real-time, in a readable format if it's already in a readable format;
  • However, whilst we may have nothing to hide, we still have the right to a private life;
  • However, whilst we may have nothing to hide, we still have the right to a private life.

Yahoo has complied with government requests for information. Google scans your emails in order to serve you more relevant advertisements. Apple stores your iMessages. Dropbox reads your files. How can you protect ourselves from people spying on you?

  • Tails is an operating system which forgets your activities after you unplug;
  • More than 70 percent of smartphone apps are reporting personal data to third-party tracking companies like Google Analytics, the Facebook Graph API or Crashlytics;
  • Because Lumen is about transparency, a phone user can see the information installed apps collect in real time and with whom they share these data;
  • It still serves ads, but DuckDuckGo doesn't do it by tracking users -- rather through keywords in your searches.

Given enough time and money, an experienced hacker can hack into any system. Surveillance organizations and technology companies have both time and money. That means yes, they could hack into your computer if they were specifically targeting you. It would cost them too much time and money if they scaled that up across the board. Imagine if every citizen made it more difficult and therefore expensive for these organizations to spy on them. It would become more expensive for these programs to keep an eye on everyone.

How the government can spy on you, and what you can do about it

That would make it more difficult for them to keep a close eye on the majority of people. A simple, but fundamental, step to privacy is to encrypt your data.

Any prying eyes e. The next time you use your Web browser, have a look at the URL bar. Although many sites support HTTPS, some of them may not enable it by default keeping you on an unencrypted http: That means the company has an extended verification certificatewhich provides the strongest encryption level available and requires more rigorous testing and validation.

Edward Snowdenfor example, recommends using SpiderOak instead of Dropbox or at least protect your Dropbox folders with Truecrypt.

It takes work to keep your data private online. These apps can help

You could use DuckDuckGo instead of Google. Chat with OTR instead of Skype.

Have a look at this privacy pack put together by Reset the Net. Keep your eyes peeled for technology that uses end-to-end encryption.

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How do the pros protect their information? There are certain experts like journalists and security specialists that work with sensitive information. You can use their methods to set up a more secure system of your own. Columnist Bruce Schneier writes at The Guardian: Since I started working with the Snowden documents, I bought a new computer that has never been connected to the Internet.

If I want to transfer a file, I encrypt the file on the secure computer and walk it over to my Internet computer, using a USB stick.

The help, and hazard, of code libraries

To decrypt something, I reverse the process. If you plan to use an airgap, you might also want to remove any network chips, bluetooth chips, or even microphones and webcams from your new computer before using it.

  1. DuckDuckGo boasts 20 million private searches a day, according to its website. We found data being shipped across national borders, often ending up in countries with questionable privacy laws.
  2. Or when you searched for medical advice? Cricket Encrypt an email account you already have.
  3. All you need about Europe's new privacy law going into effect May 25.
  4. Here are some of our favorite tools that you can try.
  5. Mindsets to help you go private Adopt the mindset of only giving out the personal data that you absolutely must—for example, at checkout or when signing up for an online account—to significantly reduce your digital footprint.

Tails is an operating system which forgets your activities after you unplug. Journalists working with Edward Snowden relied on it for secure communication. I could not have talked to Edward Snowden without this kind of protection. Tails also allows journalists to work on sensitive documents, edit audio and video, and store all their files in an encrypted format.

Additionally, Tails routes your web connections through the Tor network by default. The Tin Hat explains Tor pretty simply: Tor offers a great degree of anonymity and privacy by encrypting your Internet connection and sending it through three servers placed around the globe.

For example, learn from this article how Edward Snowden leaked his information to the world. If you have some sensitive information that you want to share with the press, use an encrypted service like SecureDrop. Just remember that it all starts with making your information a bit more difficult to read through encryption. Use software that has end-to-end encryption built-in. VPNs are a simple solution that quickly ensure your information is at least a bit more challenging to read.

If you ever do want to turn your privacy up a notch, encrypt emails with crypto technology and use airgaps and encryption-focused operating systems. Even if you have nothing to hide, you have the right to privacy.

  • The app can send data elsewhere, too;
  • And there's something you can do to stop it;
  • It still serves ads, but DuckDuckGo doesn't do it by tracking users -- rather through keywords in your searches.