Internet surveillance is a thing that exists and isn’t likely to disappear anytime soon. In the words of George Orwell ‘Big Brother is watching you’ and as various government officials claim, it’s for your own good. The reason they give for this is that such surveillance is necessary for ensuring national security (US News). However, there’s no arguing the fact that this kind of monitoring is a huge invasion of privacy. And it’ll only get worse as according to the words of the director of national intelligence James Clapper, we can soon expect all our smarthome gadgets to start spying on us.
That’s a disturbing thought.
While thinking about that, you should also consider that the government isn’t the only online stalker. There are literal stalkers who use all kinds of spyware software to satisfy their unhealthy obsessions. There are also hackers, who can easily spy on your online transactions to steal your personal information and passwords.
The ultimate point is that the freedom of the Internet comes at the cost of your privacy. Therefore, you should do your best to protect yourself from all kinds of online surveillance.
How to Protect Your Online Privacy?
Use a VPN
Browsing the Internet through a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is one of the easiest ways to make your sessions truly private. Simple VPN apps will encode your data and prevent it from being hacked or stolen. This is the best method of protection when using public WiFi networks because it’s simple and very efficient.
Note that in order to get the maximum benefits that these services have to offer, you’ll need to subscribe to a reliable one. Free VPNs are available, but their functionality and therefore protection is limited. However, reliable VPNs are rather affordable, for example, you can sign up for Switch VPN and it’ll cost you only about $6.6 a month.
Use the Tor Network
Tor Project started as a ‘browser for the paranoid’ and developed into one of the most efficient internet privacy protection solutions. Today it offers a variety of tools that protect your browsing history, messaging, etc. It’s available for Android as well and even has an operating system compatible with Tor. It also offers access to the so-called ‘Deep Web’, which is filled with secrets and sources of information you won’t find anywhere else.
Tor reroutes your encrypted traffic through a variety of servers, therefore making its trace more convoluted than when you are using a VPN. At the moment, using the Tor Network is considered to be the most secure and private way of browsing the Web. If you use a VPN on top of it, your online presence will be virtually untraceable. So, unless there’s someone truly out to get you, any hacker will consider stealing your info more trouble than it’s worth.
Protect Your Emails with PGP
By default, your emails aren’t protected from the government surveillance. Even using seemingly secure email services doesn’t give you 100% privacy. However, you can get an extra layer of security by encrypting your emails with PGP (Pretty Good Privacy).
This method of encryption is nearly impossible to crack and there isn’t a more efficient service available at the moment. When you are using PGP, you don’t rely on the email service itself. Instead, the message is encrypted on your computer and sent to the recipient, who uses their unique key to decrypt it. The method is actually very complex, but you as a user aren’t involved in the really hard parts. Therefore, anyone can get their private emails secured, even without any knowledge of coding and cryptography.
How to Protect Your Online Privacy: Final Thoughts
There are quite a few encrypting and rerouting programs that can help protect your data, so be sure to look up the ones that will work best for your personal needs. However, don’t forget that 100% security is impossible today, so think twice before sharing some important info online.