Every day it seems we hear more news about our online privacy being compromised and violated.
More than 2 years ago, we already were warned that companies and governments are gathering unprecedented amounts of data about every click, link, and status update you make. Google, for example, builds an online profile on its users, keeping track of our searches and the sites we visit.
Some very useful tips from Simon Black of SovereignMan.com, Feburary 15, 2013:
Online privacy is becoming more important by the day. And nobody is going to give it to you, you have to take steps yourself to secure it.
Below are five different tools and services that will get you started. You can set up most of the tools below in 5 minutes. Each of them will go a long way in securing your privacy online.
1. Tor Browser
Tor is a great weapon in the fight for online anonymity as it allows you to surf the web without giving up your location and other personal data to the websites you visit.
The Tor Browser Bundle is the easiest and most secure way to get started; simply download it, and start surfing the web with the Tor Browser. It’s available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
2. Duck Duck Go
If you want privacy, don’t search with Google.
Google store all of your searches to customize ads for you, but even worse, they can hand over the whole list of searches to any government agency that are curious about what you’ve been looking at for the last couple years.
A better alternative is Duck Duck Go, a completely anonymous search engine that does not store any information about you or your searches. The search results are essentially identical to Google’s, so there’s no loss of quality.
3. HTTPS Everywhere
HTTPS Everywhere (S is for security) is a plug-in for Firefox and Google Chrome that tries to force a website to connect in secure mode, thus encrypting your traffic with the website you are visiting. This makes your browsing more secure because it prevents eavesdropping thieves or state-mafia from intercepting your unencrypted Internet traffic.
Cryptocat is an encrypted chat that beats Facebook and Skype when it comes to security and privacy. If you want to chat in private then this is one simple solution. It’s also open source, which means you can see the full code and be sure there are no government “backdoors” built in.
5. Silent Circle
Silent Circle is a new player on the market, but it is founded by “old” players in the security and encryption industry. One of the founders, Phil Zimmerman, is also the creator of PGP, one of the most-used encryption platforms in the world.
Silent Circle is a suite of products offering:
- Encrypted email
- Encrypted video chat
- Encrypted phone calls
- Encrypted text messaging
Silent Circle is the only service on this list that is not free. But having the gold standard of encryption may be worth it for you.
I’ve already started using Duck Duck Go as a search engine. Alas, Silent Circle does not yet offer encrypted e-mail service, but the site does say it’s “coming soon”.