Privacy Protection in a Digital Age

You would think that with identity theft and credit card fraud, people would be more hypersensitive about putting their personally identifiable information (PII) online. But, with the proliferation of social media networks like Facebook and MySpace and social dating sites like Match.com and eHarmony, people are revealing just about every aspect of their lives online. In this digital age, it is relatively easy to put together important information that could allow anybody to find almost anything about a particular person of interest.

Add to that Post 9/11 laws (Patriot Act) to allow the government to keep better track of people, where they live and how they get their money, personal privacy protection is almost impossible. But, there are some things that you can do to at least try to stay under the radar and prevent identity thieves and stalkers from invading your privacy.

How to protect your privacy post 9/11

  • Financial (credit) privacy
    • Cancel all of your credit and debit cards
    • Only buy things with cash
    • Never apply for a loan or credit ever again
    • Work for a company that pays cash by the day
    • Hire somebody to pay your bills in their name
    • If you have to get an account for something, hire somebody to get it in their name
  • Consumer privacy
    • Do not ever register a piece of software or a warranty in your name
    • If you use a grocery store discount card, do not register it
    • If you use a bonus card give fake information
    • Don’t allow cookies to be stored on your computer
  • Medical record privacy
    • Don’t ever get X-rays of your teeth
    • If you do get X-rays, take them with you
    • Do no use health insurance, pay with cash
    • Give a fake name when you become a patient
    • Change your birth date by a few days or months
  • Physical address privacy
    • Get a Post Office (PO) box and direct ALL of your mail there
    • Disconnect your land (telephone) line
    • Live with a roommate where the lease is under their name
    • Hire somebody to sign up for utilities in their name
  • Communications privacy
    • Buy pre-paid cell phones or calling cards
    • Don’t ever send an e-mail
    • Do not instant message (IM)
    • Do not send text messages (SMS)
    • Do not use wireless telephone devices
  • Internet privacy
    • Avoid using the Internet
    • If you must, use a public Internet like the library or Internet cafe
    • Don’t ever use an online dating service
    • Don’t Google anything
    • Flush your Internet browser history many times a day
    • Do not use social media
    • Buy a new computer and put in fake information in the registration
  • Personal/physical privacy
    • Legally change your name to John Doe
    • Do not ever fly on an airplane ever again
    • Give up your driver’s license and take public or self-propelled transportation
    • Come up with a fake name and occupation to tell casual acquaintances
    • Remove all tattoos and never ever get one
    • Remove any birthmarks with laser surgery
    • Sandpaper your fingertips
    • Snuff our candles and cigarettes with your fingers as often as possible
    • Keep a stock of hair coloring products with you at all times