Privacy Checkup: Are You Leaving Yourself Vulnerable?

“Fear of jail is the beginning of wisdom.”

~ Nigerian Proverb

Privacy was a thing of the past.

I had long given up on it. I, too, subscribed to the rather unacceptable adage that ‘if I have nothing to hide, well, then I should be just fine.’

Thinking that way is a mistake and could land some very good people in a terrible situation. Thus, privacy is essential to survival. It always has been, it always will be.

It has more to do with than closing curtains to avert peeping Toms from observing you naked in your bathroom, more than closing a door so you and your other half can get frisky without underage intervention, more than retreating to solitude to sort out some thoughts.

Edward Snowden put it so well, equivocating the justification of privacy violations (i.e. ‘I’m not concerned about protecting my privacy because I have nothing to hide’) to saying ‘I don’t care about freedom of speech because I have nothing to say.’ Understanding it that way sheds a different light on the matter, doesn’t it?

You have everything to hide and you should, and just because you do doesn’t criminalize you in any way. You have your assets, your children, your spouse, your intimate matters, your location, your ideas, your dreams, your plans and so much more. That’s what you have to hide and you should stow it away somewhere safe.

I can’t assume that you, as you read this now, are located within the political territory of the United States of America. It’s possible you are, but even if you’re not – I do assume you’re no foreigner to the concept of tyrannical, corrupted and corporatized governments. You probably just don’t know the words to describe the people and their actions that cause a pent up indignation inside of you, if you’re holding it in.

That is certainly what many around the globe have become. Some are worse off than others. Still, government (which just so happens to translate into mind control based upon the Latin roots of the word) is government is government…is government.

Metaphorically, if not literally, the mind control can slap you with the right hand or the left hand; it can drop kick you or upper cut you. It’s still going to fucking hurt, no matter what it does. It’s still a form of violence what the mind control is doing in ways so sneaky, like a thief in the night

They are the first ones to be concerned about, government.

Artists, thought leaders, revolutionaries, and dissidents alike all have been warning us in many ways, far too many times of the dangers of the people letting a government gain too much control, especially considering that people fled to America to ensure their sovereignty and secure their right to self-governance.

On the flip side, government actors aren’t the only ones to be worried about when it concerns a threat to your privacy. It’s the agents, and I don’t mean CIA or FBI agents. Anyone, as it was conveyed in Mark Passio’s video about the allegory of the matrix, can be an agent of the state. Sometimes people act on their own.

I think you’ll be the best judge of who in your immediate circle might pose a threat. The sooner you become conscious of who they may be, you’ll be better equipped.

You’ll be inclined to keep the curtains closed before you allow the invasion of your privacy if you know that you face a potential threat.

In closing out these points, here are some factors to get you started thinking in a safer direction, to give you some perspective so that you can figure out what you have been doing well and what you have been doing that could potentially undermine your privacy:

1. Examine your technology and how you position yourself on it.

Do you have phones, laptops, tablets, GPS systems, smart devices, cameras, or other gadgets among the internet of things that give you some kind of daily convenience? Even the older models, like the good ol’ flip phone, can be hacked and traced, so you bet that your “smart” phone is quite capable of that and more. The more current it is, the more likely it’s vulnerable to exploits by the makers of the proprietary software that runs on it. This isn’t always the case, but it’s a widespread occurrence.

When you bought those gadgets, did you register them with your known given name, or is it tied to a pseudonym of some kind? How do you pay for them and is that also tied to you as well?

2. Are you searchable online and, if so, where?

You’re probably on social media like many. You may even have some type of showcasing profile, or several of them, for professional purposes. I wouldn’t doubt that your home address is in some database here and there. The list goes on.

Doing what I do, curating content online and being visible, that’s one thing that puts you out there too if you’re doing the same. Using a pseudonym or nickname (not always as safe) is helpful. It’s a lot harder to take something down once it’s up and out there. If anything online is currently linked to you in any way, you’ll basically have 2 options: to compromise or to start over.

3. Do you take preventative measures or do any kind of damage control to patch “leaks”?

Be wary of this. The more known you are, the more likely you are to produce the Streisand effect, drawing more unwanted attention to yourself by taking a step that’s supposed to do the opposite.

For some, this may mean buying new devices in cash, retitling property, moving, changing their appearance, and a whole slew of other things that add up and depend upon your needs.

4. Do you have any counter surveillance measures in place?

Once you know the basics about creating some digital and physical firewalls, of sorts, how do you go on the offensive while standing your ground? A camera surveillance system isn’t enough. You need to recognize the invisible wars that essentially exist right in front of your nose. The wars on drugs and terror are on the roster, and they are code names for invading your space unlawfully and illegally.

Once you understand this, you’ll realize that you are also in the war and you’ll begin to think more defensively about your life and the ones you love.

Protecting and restoring your privacy doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy yourself, but it may mean you’ll need to make lifestyle choices that will affect everything from you to your work to your family to your home to how you travel to what you eat to how you shop…and then some. That covers the gist, though, for everyday people.

Please don’t consider this an exhaustive, all-encompassing compilation of strategies or considerations pertaining to privacy. Depending upon your situation, you’ll have to take different measures, some more or less drastic.

In the future, I do want to discuss privacy in more detail, from different angles and more holistically. I suspect many of us worry about our safety and our privacy or the apparent lack thereof.

If you have any specific questions, issues or ideas about your privacy and protecting it, please express them in the comments if you feel comfortable.

***

Stay safe out there

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