Privacy

Why is privacy important? Some people say they have nothing to hide, so they do not care about privacy. This makes about as much sense as saying they do not care about free speech because they have nothing to say (Edward Snowden). It is not only what you have to say, but who you are saying it to, what platforms do you use to communicate, when and how often do you communicate and more. You may say you have nothing to hide, but what about your friends, relatives and associates. Can you speak for them?

So what is there to protect? The content of the communication comes into mind first. What about the “meta-data”??? Meta-data is data about data, for example it is not the content of a text message, but the phone number or other user id of the sender and the receiver and the date and time when the message was sent or received. This may not sounds so important. How about your web browsing history? All the websites you have visited. The big issue here is that those sites can then be visited by anyone later, revealing your interests, even your medical history. How? Imagine you use a search engine such as Groogle, which records your search history and exploits it for money (I do not suggest using Groogle, instead use Ixquick or DuckDuckGo) to search for a doctor’s name, then later use the same search engine to search for a particular medicine. Would that information reveal your medical issue? So you may want to use the Tor Browser, which is a privacy oriented web browser which uses the TOR (The Onion Router) network to mask your location.

Another big threat to privacy is malicious software (malware). There is a huge number of malware for Windoze so it is risky business to access your bank account via a web browser while using Windoze. A safer way is to use a Linux distribution or a Linux Live CD. One of them is Tails (The Amnesic Incognito Live System).

Do you trust crApple and Groogle with the contents of your messages, your web browsing history and even your wi-fi network password? Did you know your crApple iDevices and Groogle Android based mobile devices backup all that and more to the servers of crApple and Groogle? Do you realise that while crApple iMessagges are encrypted crApple has the ability to decrypt them if they are backed up on their servers? So what is the answer to this problem?

Signal: private messaging and calling app.
A guide to Signal for Android.

For further information on privacy: Tips, Tools and How-tos for Safer Online Communications by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.