As the NSA PRISM debate rages E RADAR's Jim Richardson looks at some of the steps you can take to protect your online personal privacy from the prying eyes of government.
Today it seems like you have no privacy at all. Your home may be monitored at any time by both legitimate and illegitimate sources. If you have secrets, make certain you protect sensitive notes and conversations from unfriendly eyes. The recent announcement by the Obama administration, granting Verizon daily access to data, is just one instance of how your privacy is eroded by others daily. It would be no wonder if today’s preppers would be up in arms over the erosion of our constitutional rights.
The Guardian noted the NSA PRISM already accesses social media such as Apple, Google and Facebook by connecting directly to these companies to extract information. Governmental institutions can directly access email content and live chats. Companies granting NSA direct access surprisingly deny all knowledge of such activity. The overall picture indicates that video, email, voice chat, social networking, file transfers and chats will all be privy to invasion by others.
What has changed with the new legislation is that NSA no longer needs to get approval for access to information. Now they will be able to take it directly from the relevant servers at Google, Apple, Verizon, Facebook, Skype and other information giants. Although many senators have raised objection such as Ron Wyden, it doesn't seem as there is enough clout to repeal relevant laws.
Voice and Data
There are security risks for both voice and data privacy. Wireless devices all have privacy risks. These include wireless cameras, speaker phones, intercom, radio scanners and cordless phones. Others can view the frequencies these devices use to capture data that you never intended to reveal. Depending on signal strength, image data can be hijacked up to 300 years from the data source. Air to ground phone communication isn't immune either. If you think your cellphone is protected from unwanted listeners, think again. When using a cellphone, there are numerous fraud risks. Identity theft is one of the most difficult to deal with.
To protect yourself, make certain that you don’t make your identifying information publicly available. Avoid phone cloning by reporting hanging up call incidents to your carrier immediately. Using your phone’s lock feature will also give you some protection. It helps to know where your cellphone is at all times. When it’s lost or stolen, make sure to report it immediately. Cellphone tracking is always possible even when your phone is off. When you remove your phone’s battery you can thwart unwanted trackers.
Choosing Communication Methods
The government has had widespread accessibility to commercial and personal communication for years. Wireless calls, land-lines, emails and text communications have long been subject to NSA eavesdropping as well as surveillance by other government agencies.
Alternative methods can protect your security. Consider communicating with others in person, encrypting your email and other communications.
HTC provides multiple encryptions. But don’t let this make you feel too secure because agencies like the NSA have complete access to your data and have had it for quite some time. The recent Verizon access is insignificant because it’s nothing new. NSA has always had access to all data encryption from various companies. SecurityCompanies.com knows how valuable security is and can update you on the best security measures available.
Image by John pursuant to the terms of his Creative Commons license.