Online privacy has become one of the most popular buzzwords today. It is frequently brought up on the major cybersecurity blogs, social media platforms, and authority websites including Secure Thoughts which is one of the top cybersecurity websites of 2018 that aims to educate the people in the most comprehensive manner possible. However, most experts will agree that the significance of online privacy was essentially highlighted by Edward Snowden who you may know from the iconic movie Snowden which is based on his real life.
Who is Edward Snowden?
Edward Snowden is a U.S. citizen and a former CIA employee who is considered one of the most prominent whistle-blowers in the history of human rights and online privacy. He shot to fame when he found out that the NSA was conducting an invasive surveillance on the US citizens on a mass scale and decided it was his patriotic duty to inform the people about the same even though he knew it meant destroying his career and inviting stringent legal action. Still, unfazed and unafraid, he leaked critical information about the US intelligence’s phone and Internet surveillance in the interest of the public and left the country to settle in Russia as he knew his actions would make the government go after him.
Although Snowden sacrificed a cushy and secure life, he did become a hero for the people and garnered worldwide acclaim for his gallantry.
Snowden on the Importance of Privacy
Snowden has strong views on privacy which is something he believes is a fundamental right of every individual. He has emphasized the same in various interviews and phone conversations with media channels, including the recent one with the Guardian in which he said that the people are still powerless but now they are aware.
Snowden says that the main argument that the governments and private corporations are using is that “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear”. However, it doesn’t make sense as privacy is the most basic right of every human being from which other types of freedoms originate. He says that privacy isn’t about having to hide something. It’s about protecting your personal space and identity. He says that “without privacy, you don’t have anything for yourself”.
The following are some of the main points that Snowden has raised which reflect his take on the entire matter:
- Sometimes the scandal is not what law is broken, but rather what law allows for
- A number of things told to us by the government simply aren’t true
- No system of mass surveillance has ever existed in our society that wasn’t abused at some point
Snowden has often stressed on that he doesn’t want to live in a world in which everything he says or does is recorded, and he right in thinking so. The right to privacy is the most fundamental right of all and concerns our very existence.
What Can You do?
The Internet may have its uses but it also gives the power to unethical government agencies and tech corporations to exploit the services their customers are using. Since you can’t expect everyone to have an opinion like Snowden, you must take measures on your own end to ensure that your privacy stays protected. Some of these are:
- Install a reliable and comprehensive antivirus program on your computer and smartphone. For instance, Kaspersky, Avast, and Bitdefender are 3 of the best programs available today. You can compare these programs to see what each has to offer and make a decision accordingly.
- One of the easiest ways to compromise your privacy online is to use social media irresponsibly. People share personal information on platforms like Facebook and Instagram without realizing the impact of the same. This public information is nothing but an opportunity for an unscrupulous individual who can stay up to date with your whereabouts and daily activities simply by stalking you online. You also stand a chance to become a victim of identity thief rather easily if you aren’t careful with the kind of information you put on the Internet. Thus, it’s advised that you avoid adding any person on your social media accounts unless you know them personally. Also, share little information with the public by tweaking the privacy settings in your accounts.
- Invest in a premium VPN service that can make you anonymous on the Internet. This way, your browsing history, location (otherwise detected on the basis of your IP), and other online activities can be hidden from your ISP and the government.