It is very important to take measures to maintain your privacy online. The information that you post online will stay forever and can be used by organizations or companies to create a profile about you. The recent revelations about the United States government’s active role in monitoring and collecting personal information make it even more important to take measures to maintain your online privacy.
Social networks have become very popular in recent years. They help you in meeting new people and staying in touch with friends. However, they are also a source of private information. Many companies and organizations gather information from social networks and monitor people. You should be careful with what you post to social network websites.
Many social network websites are aware of these issues and so provide privacy settings which allow you to prevent unknown persons from viewing your information.
You’ll find more information about these privacy settings on the support section of the websites. You can also create a random profile and view your actual profile to see how much of your information is accessible publicly.
Search engines can be another source of information about you. It is a good idea to search for your name every now and then and see how much information is accessible publicly. If you find any personal information, you can contact the search engines to have those pages removed.
Most importantly, you should use your common sense while posting information or pictures online. It is better to limit this information in the first place. You don’t have to share everything that happens in your life online. If you do not need to use social networking websites, you can delete your profiles once for all.
E-mail and chat
E-mails and chat programs can be another source of gathering information about you. Anybody with access to the server that hosts your e-mail or chat service can read your messages unless they are encrypted. To prevent this, you can use PGP to encrpyt your communications. This is an extreme measure but is advisable for sensitive information.
Other means of communication such as video conferences can also be intercepted. You can encrypt videoconferences by using a tool called Jitsi.
Surfing the net securely
Your online activities can be monitored by search engines. Certain toolbars and other software applications can also monitor your online activities. If you are using an outdated browser, you should update immediately to the latest version as they can make your computer vulnerable to spyware and other malware. You can also consider using anonymous browsing software such as TOR.
Search engines such as Google track the search strings you enter along with your IP address. If you are concerned about this, you can use alternative search engines that are more privacy oriented such as Startpage, Ixquick or DuckDuckGo.
Online security and privacy are very serious issues. These are not something that should take lightly. Always use your common sense. Staying safe and secure should always be a main criteria when you’re online.