Why Does Privacy Matter?

All too often, I meet people who just don't seem to understand the most basic principle of personal privacy. Privacy is the state of being free from unwanted or undue intrusion or disturbance in one's private life or affairs - the freedom to be let alone. I believe privacy is a fundamental human right. We all have the right to protect our personal information, our whereabouts, our activities, our interests, etc. Unfortunately, governments and commercial entities are becoming more obsessed with invading our private life and using the details of our lives for their own purposes. Advertising…

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Outsmarting Waze, Together

Waze is the world's largest community-based traffic and navigation app but creating a personal account can kill your privacy. The Waze app provides turn-by-turn navigation and crowdsourced information collected from other Waze users in the area. Users can submit road hazards including stopped vehicles, construction, pot holes, and police activity which is then shared with other users who approach the tagged location. The service is a wonderful idea and is definitely useful. I use it almost daily in my travels. However, if you create an account, things can get hairy and sticky pretty quickly.…

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Pay With Privacy.com

Seeing how 2017 has been a big year for data breaches, it's not surprising people are becoming more and more paranoid about using credit cards - not just online, but in brick and mortar stores as well. The sad truth is that you can do all the right things and make all the right moves to protect your banking information and credit cards and you can still be a victim to a data breach. The only sure-fire method to avoid this is to pay with cold, hard cash. Unfortunately, it's kinda impossible to pay with cash over the Internet. Prepaid cards work nicely but they can have annoying fees and many…

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What to do if you're being followed

With Halloween upon us, now is as good a time as any to discuss what to do if you find yourself with a tail. While not so much a privacy topic, knowing what to do in this frightening situation is certainly a personal safety issue and something everyone should know how to handle. As with most topics I discuss, few people think they have anything to worry about and find little reason to concern themselves with the possibility of needing to know what to do in this scenario. Unfortunately, this is far more common than you might think. Why would anyone want to follow you in the first place? If…

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Twitter and Your Privacy

In 2006 Jack Dorsey and board members of the podcasting company Odeo developed an initial idea for a product that would eventually become known worldwide as Twitter. Unlike Facebook, Twitter makes it incredibly easy to maintain your privacy and security, provided you follow a few very basic rules. (Facebook makes it easy, but not THIS easy) Internet Safety 101 Before one can hope to maintain privacy on Twitter, one must first understand the basics of Internet Safety and Privacy. Without this foundational knowledge, it's impossible to evaluate the level of privacy one can have on any website.…

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Facebook Privacy - Fact or Fiction?

In 2004, Mark Zuckerberg changed the world, for better or worse, with the launch of Facebook. Originally exclusive to Harvard students, the social network quickly surpassed then-dominant MySpace to secure its place in the Internet food-chain. While it may seem like everyone who's anyone is on Facebook, the website has come under constant scrutiny in recent years over its privacy policies and its implications in the Snowden leaks. Yet, despite the facts, experts still seem unable to agree as to whether or not it is possible to have privacy while using Facebook. Internet Safety 101 Before one…

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Pokémon GO and Your Privacy

On July 5, 2016, Pokémon GO was released in the United States for iOS and Android. Since launching, it has quickly become to most successful mobile app on both platforms, beating out the likes of dating app Tinder and social media app Twitter. However, concerns over the technology used in the game as well as early issues with Google account permissions have left many people, like US Senator Al Franken contemplating the privacy and security implications of the game, which I will address in this post. Google Account Access I've been a fan of the Pokémon franchise since it hit the market in the U…

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Snowden v. NSA: Three Years Later

Three years ago today, whistleblower Edward Snowden proverbially climbed to the mountaintops and bellowed the unconstitutional sins of the National Security Agency to the world. He leaked thousands of classified NSA documents to Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras and Ewen MacAskill. These documents exposed how the NSA daily spies on American citizens and people around the world without bias or due process for gathering their information. The average American tends to consider much of this factual information to be little more than conspiracy theory banter about some dystopian New World Order. The…

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