It was 1984 when this prophecy was upon us, “I always feel like, somebody’s watching me. And I have no privacy.”
The lyrics by American singer Rockwell were soon to prevail our current world, surrounding technology. It is now nearing the end of the year 2017 and I am here to warn you of the circumstances of this situation. I am here to tell you, what you need to know about your online privacy.
1). E-mails Aren’t as “Private” as You Think – The National Security Agency collects all emails sent to and from the United States for the purpose of catching keywords that may presume a threat. This means that the Fourth Amendment is not in place here. The NSA is collecting data from American citizens without a warrant not only from outside communication but also from “downstream” surveillance directly from communication companies like Google and Facebook.
*This bill which allows the NSA to do this, will expire at the end of this year unless it is renewed.
2). A 24 Hour Surveillance Standard in Effect – We have rights as citizens of the world to privacy; the surveillance that is monitoring us globally has been proven time after time to have crossed the line. We need to assume now that every word, message, phone call, and email is being filtered and possibly stored.
3). Every Move You Make, Someone’s Watching You – Big brother doesn’t stop at e-mails and messages; every website you visit, online purchase you make, and video you watch, is being recorded and later analyzed for information. This is not only for advertisement purposes to better marketing tactics for companies but also for government agencies to use and store for whatever reasons they have.
4). Does The Internet Know you Better Than Your Friends? – Technological giants like Facebook and Google are using all of your personal data to record a portfolio of who you are. This means they know your age, gender, location, as well as your areas of interest, and even your political stance! This information is kept in their database and used to suggest and direct you to certain areas of interest. Facebook and Google may know you better than your own friends do, and who are they sharing that with?
5). You Can’t Hide – Don’t think that the privacy breach stops with this. Keep in mind that your phone locations (if activated) are also being monitored and stored by Google. Not only does Google know where you have been but they also know what means of transportation you used to get there! You can even access this data as a “feature” called “Google Timeline”. This also relates to the location stamp on all photos taken and stored.
6). You’re Not Alone– Have you ever seen people with a sticker over their built-in camera on their laptop and wondered what it’s there for? Well, it is there for good reason, since the internet world had become so incredibly powerful, the fear of being spied on is very real. Hackers have the ability to open your webcam without any activational signal on your end and record whatever it is you’re doing.
7). Your Gadgets are “Bugged”– Just because you haven’t Googled something or typed it into the computer in any way or form, doesn’t mean it isn’t being tracked. Have you ever noticed that after speaking to someone about a topic, you later had ad or article suggestion on the matter? That is because your microphone (if activated) is also picking up keywords and topics to use as a way of directly targeting individual areas of interest.
8). Some Things Last Forever – Next time you are posting something on Facebook, searching something on Google, backing up photos on the Cloud; remember that whatever you put on the Internet is permanent. These companies are not the only ones who may end up with access to this information. Privacy rights are violated every single day on the Internet and who knows whose hands your private information could fall into.
With all this being said, how can we go about our daily lives without living in fear of everything we do, say, and write being monitored? A virtual private network (VPN), is essential the safest way to protect your privacy online. Basically, a VPN is encrypting your data to create a tunnel between your device and your VPN which cannot be externally accessed. Although, we may not be able to block every possible threat on the Internet, it’s a start.
In a world run by technology, where things can be accessed with the click of a button, be smart! Take the precautions needed to protect your privacy and your human rights!