I’ve had this conversion with a lot of people over the years and what I’ve found is that the majority of people are complacent about privacy and security. In a way it is good that some have woken up to what Facebook is and has been doing but this idea of some floated around that “I will trust Facebook until it gave me reason not to”. This is a completely flawed idea in my opinion. Facebook was never trustworthy and its TOS always gave it a right to violate your privacy, harvest your data for both government and marketing purposes etc… In fact Google, Gmail, Hotmail, Telegram, Whatsapp and the list goes on are free for a reason. One, they make money by spying on you and they also provide a great backdoor to the NSA to spy on you (hopefully everyone now understand the PRISM spying network).
There were times where some would debate about the length and depth of spying by major free services but this is no longer in debate. If you are using these freebie services and just delete Facebook alone you haven’t done enough.
Here are some steps to secure yourself and your privacy:
Seriously stop using these free chat and e-mail services and tell your friends and family that you won’t communicate via those mediums.
Secure Your E-mail
Use your very own, owned e-mail server with encryption including GnuPG to encrypt e-mails in both transit and storage. There are providers who can get you a VPS or full Dedicated Server for this purpose. You will probably find that your e-mail stops going missing, is fast and more reliable to boot!
Stop Using US Based Massive Cloud Servers
This could be in the form of an Amazon, Microsoft, Alibaba VPS instance but you can expect that those services will not be keeping your data private and most likely have been obliged to allow backdoor access to your server and data.
Another type of user would again be those who “store data in the Microsoft, Google or Apple Cloud”. Stop using those services if you value your privacy.
Secure Your Chat
Everyone likes instant chat but did you ever wonder why all the traditional chat services like ICQ and MSN Messenger shutdown? My belief is that being forced to chat on your phone makes it easier to both identify and track you but also to spy on you. Once again top offenders are Telegram, Whatsapp and any similar ones.
To secure your chat you should run your own encrypted chat server.
These are just a few common sense things you can do to make it much more difficult to have your rights and privacy violated. Personal and intimate moments shouldn’t be uploaded to the Cloud for corporate and government agencies to peruse!]
In general try to think in a security minded way perhaps as you would your house. Would you feel secure at home if you knew your living quarters was shared with multiple people or that it was being spied on constantly. Think about steps you would take to protect your house or property from intruders and spies. Your digital house works the same way, so be sure to keep the keys and access in your control and not that of a third party which can’t be trusted.