Collectively, we are a much more privacy-conscious society than we were just a few years ago. This is particularly true when it comes to our digital privacy. Now that most of the devices we own are connected to the internet all or most of the time, it has become imperative that we take measures to prevent the near-constant monitoring and tracking of our activities.
The good news is that, while there are many more techniques and technologies being used to infringe on our privacy, there are just as many simple solutions that will allow us to retain as much of our privacy as possible.
Turn Your Phone Off When Traveling to Private Meetings
Even with location data turned off on your phone, the communications your phone makes with the cell towers can be used to deduce your location retroactively. While SCOTUS has ruled that law enforcement needs a warrant to look at your cell phone data, if they were to obtain a warrant, they would be able to see everywhere you have traveled.
If you are heading to a meeting that you want to be completely private, make sure that you switch your cellphone off before you set off on your journey.
Use a VPN
A virtual private network (VPN) is one of the simplest yet most effective privacy tools out there. A VPN is an especially good idea if you regularly use public Wi-Fi networks, which are very insecure and easy to snoop on.
Ideally, you should pay for a VPN service. They don’t cost very much, but the free ones are nearly always scams to gather your personal data, even if they do work as advertised. The one exception to this is ProtonVPN. Proton are a relatively new but already well-respected cybersecurity company. A collaboration between CERN and MIT, Proton know their stuff when it comes to protecting your data and privacy.
Install Antivirus Software on Your Phone
Most of us have some kind of antivirus software in place on our laptops and desktops, but relatively few people ever think to lock down their smartphone in this way. If you are using iOS, you are generally kept safe by Apple’s closed ecosystem. On the other hand, Android users have much more freedom over what they can do with their phones but are consequently more susceptible to malicious apps and viruses.
Avast provide an excellent app for keeping your phone secure. Not only will it root out any malicious apps for you, but you can use it to lock down individual apps so that they need a pin number to open. There are plenty of other providers out there as well though, so have a look around until you find one that suits you. Malicious apps can collect troves of personal data about you and send it to their creators without you ever knowing.
All of us are much more acutely aware of the challenges that we face with regards to our digital privacy. Simple actions like connecting to a Wi-Fi network or opening a particular app can be enough to share our data with a third-party without us even realizing it. But by taking a few simple steps, you can easily enhance your digital privacy.