Privacy Myths Debunked

Privacy myths debunked

Privacy Myths Debunked

Many people have misconceptions when it comes to privacy and security. Many myths have circulate on the internet concerning them.  In this article –Privacy myths debunked – I have listed several and will try to explain why and how they are false. Here are just some of the more common ones:

 

Myth: “Security and Privacy are the same”

  • Privacy refers to the control that you have over your personal information and how that information is used. Personal information is any information that can be used to determine your identity.
  • Security refers to how protected your personal information is.

 

Myth: “Nobody cares what I do online”

Actually, it is quite the opposite. Your ISP collects all of the places you go online. The things you just ordered online track your preferences, are you male, female, do you pay with a credit card, you name address, phone number and everything about you they can want.  Even your browser tells places you visit about where you came from, your operating system, screen size, resolution, and what plugins you have enabled. Everything is tracked and catalogued (sometimes it is sold to others).

All of the tech giants want you to stay in touch with your friends online – what, you haven’t talked to Johnny245 for awhile? He went to High School with you!

Algorithms have gotten so good that they cannot just predict your next steps, but actually influence and manipulate your behavior. In fact, your data is so invaluable to them that it sits at the core of their business strategies.

So yes, everyone actually cares what you do online.

Myth: “If you’ve done nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide”

This argument falls apart under basic scrutiny. After all, if you’ve got nothing to hide, why are you protecting your accounts with passwords? We all want a certain amount of privacy or there would be no doors on bathrooms.

The idea that it is okay to put your data in the hands of an unaccountable corporation or an authoritarian government is simply wrong, no matter how you look at it.

Myth: “Strong passwords are enough to protect my privacy”

Complex/Strong Passwords are a great start to being more secure. But, as we went over there is a difference between privacy and security.

You can have the most secure way of going onto Facebook, only to compromise your privacy by giving your information away in your profile and who you associate with. Not to mention all the other ways social media is anathema to privacy.

Myth: “I use Private Browsing mode so I am completely anonymous”

Recently there has been a lot of discussion about Private or Incognito modes and Firefox and Chrome both taking steps to tell people that they really aren’t a Romulan cloaking device for your browsing activities.

Your ISP, work, school and others can see what you are doing. It doesn’t hide much of anything really.

Myth: “Governments can’t spy on me without a warrant”

Governments around the world use surveillance. There really isn’t a need to get a warrent when the information is going through the wires or over the air. In the US, the Fourth Amendment protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures. The US government has successfully found ways around this legal hurdle. Legislation like the Patriot Act (and others) allow them to buy personal data from third parties. Your ISP, Data brokers, tech firms, stores and many others just sell them to the government.

Myth:They already have all my data”

The first question is – “why keep giving them more?”  Feeding “the beast” is not the same as taming or getting away from it.

So where do we go from here?

Until selling people’s data and compromising their security and their privacy is legislated, we still have a problem.  What you can do in the mean time is limit the amount of data that you provide online services. Another thing that helps is deleting yourself from the information that data brokers have. This can be done one by one, but it is a daunting task and takes many hours (days and weeks usually). There are services that can help, such as DeleteMe and Optery (this one is more through). There are additional things you can do to keep your data private and more secure that I will be going over in future articles.

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