Big Brother Watching: Why Your Online Privacy Is Under Attack
Your privacy is under attack, and it is worse than you think. Big Brother is always watching; his eyes are perusing your every move on cyberspace. You are not safe, nor your activities private, and this is on a larger scale than regular cyberstalking. It’s almost as if you are being followed, spied on; every bit of your activity (both online and offline) is gathered. It is not a figment of imagination but the truth. You are being watched, maybe even now. Big brother has his eyes on you.
Before you begin to panic, let’s take a moment to break it down. Who is Big Brother? Why is he watching you? Can he be stopped? Find out more below.
Who Is Big Brother, and Why Are You Being Watched?
If you have ever come across the book 1984 by George Orwell, you should understand the Big Brother concept. It is simply the government spying on its citizens. This surveillance is happening differently in our day. Today, it is the government and its many security agencies who, in a bid to know the state of the nation, have gone paranoid over security and surveillance. The result of this is the government prying into and eroding the privacy of the citizenry.
Then we also have the big organizations. They are not the government, but they aren’t any different. Their names are not necessary; you know them all. Through our gadgets and devices, all of our activities are being tracked. All of this data collected is used to predict your movement and habits. Top companies use this data to determine what kind of ads they should serve you. It now is your responsibility to protect yourself and all your devices. If your online privacy would ever be safe again, then you have to do something.
How to Avoid Big Brother and Protect Your Online Privacy
Before we get into ways you can protect yourself from the prying eyes of Big Brother, it is good to state that none of these methods would solve the problem 100%. You can only reduce the amount of privacy invasion. You can not put a stop to it. The only day they stop trying to get to you is the day you kiss the world goodbye. With that clearly settled, let’s get to the ways you can protect your online privacy from the prying eyes of Big Brother.
1. Create Secure Passwords
This is important. The first layer of security you can create online is your password. It should not be “12345” or your name, or something too simple. Make it as complicated as possible. After all, you are the only one who needs to remember it. A password that is not secure can be easily hacked. Don’t allow that. Take your time and create safe and unique passwords for each of your accounts. You don’t have to remember them all. Save them in a folder on your system, in a USB, or use a reliable password manager. This is the first layer of security you can create. Password generators also help to create secure and unique passwords.
2. Always clear your browser history
Clearing your history after every session can help you stay one step ahead of Big Brother. Anytime you visit a site for the first time, it saves some cookies on your phone, making that site load faster the next time you come calling. However, these cookies can be used to monitor all of the activity that goes on your phone. That is why you sometimes visit a site, and it is serving you ads relating to something you recently searched for or an app you used. These cookies can be cleared out every single time you finish an internet session. This would significantly limit the eroding of your privacy.
3. Encrypt your mails
One of the places where your privacy gets attacked is in your mailbox. A lot of times, your emails have already been read before you actually read them. Some of the mail service providers read your emails. At other times, it is just hackers or government security agencies. What you can do is encrypt your Mail. For that, some applications and services give you an anonymous email address. Even these services cannot hack their secure encryption, thus keeping you from mailbox snoopers. While most of these are paid apps, there are also free versions that can keep your mails secure.
4. Use Tor
Traffic analysis is another way through which Big Brother monitors you. This is basically intercepting a message and getting information from it. But if you use Tor, you would be able to avoid such occurrences. With Tor, it is not possible to detect the identity of whoever you are communicating with via the internet. It also keeps the source and destination of your traffic. These are details that can be used to determine your behavior. Tor software works by bouncing your communication data around a vast volunteer network spread across the world. With the Tor software, you can stop anyone (including Big Brother) from tracking your activity, viewing what sites you visit, and preventing visited sites from retrieving data like your location or IP address. Tor has a browser that works with the Tor interface, ensuring that your data is secure. It is available on different devices, and it’s free to use also.
5. Stay private online
If you use social media, you must stay private on all of your accounts. Do not accept friend requests from people you do not know. Set your account privacy to only those you know. Also, be careful what you post on these different platforms. Anyone could be watching. You can make your privacy less vulnerable if you take steps to stay as anonymous as you can to the public on social media. Do not respond to chats from unknown people. Keep to yourself and to those you know.
6. Use anonymous payment methods
There are tons of anonymous payment methods available out there today. An example is using Cryptocurrencies. Coupons might seem a little bit old-fashioned, but they still work. You could also try using gift cards too. Try out all such secure payment methods. If these aren’t available, consider paying cash before you think of using e-payment methods. The reason for this is simple. When purchasing online, there can be anomalies that can open up opportunities for your accounts to be hacked and your details collected. You can avoid all such occurrences by using anonymous payment methods.
7. Always read agreement policies
Reading agreement policies all the time can indeed be tiring. First, they are usually lengthy, and second, you just want to get right into doing whatever is on the other side of the policies. But these policies are somewhat tricky. Most of the time, it’s clearly stated in these policies that the companies involved would be eroding your privacy. Since you never read, you never know what you are giving up to use that app or have that social media account. Take time to read these policies. Even when the policies are updated, read it all over again. You can save yourself some privacy erosion just by reading them.
8. Go old-school
This is a somewhat dicey option. If you are up for going back to the analog age where you have to write letters and use papers and typewriters, this one’s for you. You can boycott the internet, close all your accounts, delete your internet existence, and leave a life of solitude. This could be really tedious and would require a lot of discipline. It would, however, be quite effective.
9. Use a VPN
If you can afford a top-tier VPN (because those are the really effective ones), then get one. A VPN is software that provides you security and privacy online. With a VPN, you can mask your IP address online and encrypt all of your browsing histories. Top-tier VPNs offer you airtight security and confidentiality. They use an encryption technology that’s impossible to penetrate. With such protection, it would be difficult for Big Brother to get access to you. With a VPN, you can stay anonymous on the internet. No one would even know you were there.
Keeping Big Brother away is a lifelong journey. It never ends. Every day, new ways through which Big Brother watches us are being revealed. But for now, you can win these little battles with the tips listed above. Stay safe, stay private.