It’s easy to say that you want more privacy or that you wish you had more control over your data, but what can you actually do?
Donate To Advocacy Groups
You can help promote privacy by supporting these advocacy groups. These groups are focused on giving people more rights and control over their private information on the internet.
- Electronic Frontier Foundation
- Electronic Privacy Information Center
- Privacy International
- American Civil Liberties Union
- Freedom of the Press Foundation
- Signal Foundation
- The Tor Project
- Demand Progress
- Center for Democracy and Technology
- Fight for the Future
- Restore the 4th
- New Media Rights
- The Calyx Institute
- Let’s Encrypt
- Access Now
- Internet Freedom Festival
Use Privacy-Focused Alternative Tools
If you are passionate about privacy, one of the best things you can do is use and support the privacy-friendly tools available on the internet. Speaking out against Google’s privacy practices is useless if you continue using Google’s suite of data collection tools.
Read More: The Best Internet Privacy Tools for 2019
Private Search Engines
We have an intimate relationship with the search engine we use. These tools know which topics we’re interested in, which products we want to buy, and which sites we visit most often. If this concerns you, there are plenty of private options available that won’t track your searches. Private search engines don’t store your searches in a data profile that could be used against you down the road. You’ll have peace of mind that after you’re done searching, you won’t have to explain yourself or deal with the consequences of your embarrassing searches.
Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs, are one way to make it more difficult for websites you visit to track your IP address. VPNs redirect your internet connection through multiple “virtual” networks in different locations, so websites can’t tell where you’re coming from. If you’re connected to the web with a VPN, you can still be tracked on websites if you log in. These are still one of the best ways to separate your browsing from your actual location.
Private alternatives to Google Chrome, like Firefox or Tor Browser, can also make it more difficult for websites to track you. Firefox specifically has built-in ad and tracker blockers which will make your browsing experience more pleasant, and possibly faster.
Secure messaging apps like Signal use encryption to keep the contents of your messages secure. If you convince your friends to switch to Signal, you can be almost certain that your messages won’t fall into the wrong hands. Traditional SMS text messaging is not secure and government agencies can access these messages if they are relevant to a criminal investigation.
Call Your Congressman or Senator
If you believe that we need more privacy and protection of people’s rights on the internet, the first step is to call your representative and let them know there are people who are passionate about these issues and supportive of these laws. New privacy laws have recently passed in California, Texas and Nevada. If your state has poor privacy protection laws, one way to get these laws moving forward is to call your representative and encourage them to move privacy up their list of issues.
Use Your Social Networks to Spread Privacy Awareness
Your Facebook friends or Twitter followers may not know that there are alternatives to mainstream tools like Google or Facebook. You can leverage your network by passing along privacy news or recommendations. If you’re using private services, but your co-workers or friends aren’t it can be difficult to get the services to work together. If you can explain and show the value of privacy you can spread awareness and encourage people to start taking their privacy seriously.
Pass This Along: Online Privacy Checklist ☑️