Many of you told us that the Privacy Paradox challenges freaked you out. But you were happy to take back even just a little control. Want to go further? Here’s what you can do to protect your personal information.
We also heard from you that this problem is bigger than you realized. Keep reading for our ideas on what we can all do, together, to create the web we want to see in the world.
- Change your privacy settings on your browser and in social media. Here’s how on Chrome, Firefox, Twitter and Facebook.
- Try the new Firefox iOs app for private mobile browsing.
- Create strong, unique passwords.
- Join Signal, an encrypted texting app. More on why here, download here.
- Turn on two-factor authorization for your key accounts (like email). It’s a simple additional layer of protection against hacking.
- Write a letter to a friend on paper. Seal the envelope and mail it. So private.
- Do movie night and watch The Lives of Others, or Josie and the Pussycats. Double feature!
- Read (or re-read) 1984 by George Orwell. Everyone’s doing it.
- Watch John Oliver’s 2014 segment explaining net neutrality. After it aired, nearly 4 million public comments were made to the FCC.
Okay, you have strong passwords. And two-factor on all your accounts. And you’re using Signal. Well, it’s on your phone. Right?
Then here are your next steps.
- Start using a password manager for all your super-strong passwords.
- Try browsing with Duck Duck Go, a search engine that never stores your search data.
- Take the Tor browser for a test drive.
- Learn how to guard against phishing and malware (who knew about the inline images?).
- Install the https Everywhere plugin for your browser, to minimize what data gets sent without encryption.
- Take a break from any voice activated technology you have.
- Read the ten original amendments in the Bill of Rights.
- Peruse the report President Obama received from the bi-partisan Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity. Manoush likes Principle #7: Because human behavior and technology are intertwined and vital to cybersecurity, technologies and products should make the secure action easy to do and the less secure action more difficult to do.
You’ve done the basics and then some. You have the stamina and want to take it to the next level.
- Remove your information from data brokers. It’s not easy, but there are paid services and DIY guides.
- Consider a YubiKey (or two, don’t want to lose it!).
- Pay with cash for a day.
- Try out facial recognition camouflage.
- Start the switch to open source software.
- Read up on or follow someone who is working on the decentralized web.
- Make a faraday pouch for your phone.
- Stop emailing with a friend and agree to only meet in person.
- Make Manoush and Martha’s “Digital Thumbprint Cookies.” Well okay, they’re just thumbprint cookies. But make them and serve them at a cryptoparty, maybe.
Three Things You Can Do to Protect All Our Digital Rights
This isn’t all on you. These are society-level problems that require collective response. Here’s some ways to take action.
1. GO STRAIGHT TO THE TOP
- Let your Congressperson know you care. Find an EFF campaign you like and sign.
- Not happy with what a tech company is doing with your info? File a privacy complaint to the FTC.
- Help the technologists and researchers building better tools.
2. CHECK OUT THESE (NON-PARTISAN) GROUPS WORKING ON PRIVACY
3. TALK ABOUT PRIVACY OPENLY
- At work
Talk to your IT department what the protocol is if you get hacked or doxxed. Ask team members to check with whom they’ve shared documents outside the company. Have a team meeting out of the office or off-the-record to promote open discussion.
- At home
Show parents, kids, or grandparents how to put a password lock on their phone and change privacy settings. Consider getting everyone on the texting app Signal. Talk to kids especially about why having a private inner life is vital.
- With all the other people in your life
Ask your babysitters, doctors, teachers, accountants and anyone else relevant to be mindful of protecting your personal information. Have them ask you before they post pictures of your kids or tag you in photos. Just telling them you have privacy on the brain could make them more conscientious.
4. BONUS FOR TECHNOLOGISTS
- Lend your skills to projects like Solid, Simply Secure, Time Well Spent or other good causes.
- Sign a privacy oath. Or start another for your field.
- Read your company’s Transparency Report and pass it on.
This should go without saying, but just in case: We’re not suggesting that you use any of these tools or tips to hide illegal activity or nefarious deeds. We’re suggesting you use them because the U.S. Constitution affords us a right to be secure in our persons, houses, papers and effects. And digital privacy is the 21st Century version of that.