Online privacy: How much do you have and how can you protect it?

With NSA and Ed Snowden making headlines, along with Facebook on the next run of confusing its users on privacy with its full launch of Facebook Graph Search now rolling out (Australian date not announced just yet), just how far can you protect yourself online?

The truthful answer is that there is no privacy online. There are some things you can do, however, to protect yourself as much as possible.

Facebook basics

Facebook shares a lot more information than you think.

1. Make sure you know what you are sharing and with whom. Click on the top right lock icon.

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2. Select More Settings and display the entire privacy dashboard. You can customise exactly who sees what.

3. Make sure you update your privacy settings and get ready for Graph Search here.

4. Check your activity log, so you can see clearly what you have and are sharing.

5. One of the biggest errors of Facebook is that you can’t stop people tagging you in photos or posting images of you online. You are subject to their privacy settings, not your own. Tagging + camera phones everywhere provide one of the biggest breaches of privacy of our times – think Prince Harry in Vegas!

Getting into “real privacy” concerns, PRISM, NSA, etc

Browsers

1. Google Chrome tracks your web movements; if you are logged into your Google account, use the Incognito mode.

2. Firefox, opt for “Private Browsing” mode: Tools> Options> Privacy

Cookies

Google and Facebook track you long beyond their own websites by using cookies. They are effectively spying on you to understand your online habits to serve you ads. LOG OUT when you are online of accounts such as Yahoo!, Facebook and Google.

Android beware

Secure your text messages using “Text Secure” – download it here.

Silent Circle

Silent Circle has a number of services to protect calls and texts. You can use these on iPhones and for encrypted calls.

Encryption

I use Tor on my Mac, it works on other operating systems too. Other free encryption programs include www.truecrypt.org or www.diskcryptor.net.

But if you want to get into the really technical side of protecting yourself from PRISM these instructions work here.

An added extra from the man who alerted us to the fact no one has any privacy anymore – Q&A with Ed Snowden in the The Guardian.

Fi Bendall is the managing director of Bendalls Group, a team of highly trained digital specialists, i-media subject matter experts and developers.

 

 

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