Fighting Big Tech – Some general thoughts on protecting your personal data

I will be writing a series of small articles on fighting big tech by using simple ways to protect and secure your personal data, but before launching into that I thought it useful to go into the reason why I think you should give some consideration to doing so now, if you’re not already doing it. They won’t be addressing physical issues such as shredding all personal correspondence, though at this stage that’s an elementary precaution that’s well worth the outlay on a small personal shredder.

A friend of mine had his identity stolen and it was by the now classic method. The felon had simply rummaged through his bin, filched a few utility bills and on the strength of that documentation, opened a current account. Having that as a starter, and after a quick change of address on that account, they then opened several more current accounts as well as a few credit card accounts. After a few credits in, overdrafts were agree and promptly emptied, the credit cards were maxed out and finally when his credit rating was so destroyed that opening anything in his name was impossible, his details were sold on the darknet, so round two began.

He’s been chipping away at the results of that single preventable lapse in personal security for nearly two years. At the moment, banks and credit card companies currently swallow such losses, but the day is fast approaching where they’ll refuse to do so if it’s a consequence of such carelessness on the part of their customer.

The personal information I want to deal with is the kind held on various databases about you. If you take the line that you’ve got nothing to hide, therefore you don’t worry about it, then on your way and good luck. We all interact with the various executive organs of state and service companies and have a natural expectation that your basic details such as full name, DOB and address are retained by them. When the data collection goes well beyond that point, then any prudent person should be concerned. What’s not always apparent to the average user interacting with the internet is the quantity of information that is not only captured about them, but the even more valuable information that has been deduced from various information feeds.

To quote from a previous piece – “They’ve got it all. Your name, DOB, address, occupation, who you work for, where you work, what restaurants and bars you visit, marital status, current physical location, your call history, who you’re friends with, who you like or dislike, things you like or dislike, what groceries you buy, how much booze you drink, what medication you take, where you bank, who you’re insured with, shoe size, sexual preferences, the car you drive, your politics, your physical location at any moment and whatever else you can think of. And all of it cross indexed. To repeat, they’ve got it all.”

If that doesn’t frighten you, then nothing will. Contrary to a common assumption, this information is not scattered all over the internet. It’s all collated and cross-indexed. I’ll give you a personal example, but if you use the internet to any extent, I’m sure you can think up a test to prove it for yourself. I’m in the habit of buying a packet of cigarettes for the weekend. I grocery shop online and on one occasion, forgot to order my weekend pack. Nothing a quick trip to the shops couldn’t fix. Unfortunately, the shop was out of my brand, so after a moments thought, I bought a random but roughly similar brand.

All harmless stuff you might think, but the next time I was doing my grocery shop online, it presented me as usual with a list of my favourites, complete with any suggested substitutions if they happened to be out of stock on a particular item. Under my brand of smokes, and for the first time, it now had a suggested substitution of exactly the brand I’d purchased at random locally. Perhaps a trivial example, perhaps not if you told a little white lie about not smoking on a health insurance application. Depending on what particular illness you subsequently come down with, and knowing of that untruth, they may not pay up. As I said, it’s all linked up.

There’s a handy acronym used in security circles to protect the data of organisations and enterprises. It’s called CIA. Rather than the agency, it stands for Confidentiality, Integrity and Access. They are the three lines of lines of personal privacy invasion I shall be attacking for purposes of taking you out from under this pervasive surveillance and tracking.

I’ve already written some general articles on computer security from the several perspectives, as well as a series on specifically internet security for the average person, which should give you some idea of the practical level I’ll be pitching the articles succeeding this. You certainly won’t need to be some computer whizz kid but if you’ve already heeded my suggestion to drop off their radar, you’re half way there already.

When all the dust settles, it’ll be found that a large part of stealing the election was done by people using, by various methods, your data held on databases to flip a landslide vote for Trump to a win for Biden. As always in this area, nobody takes security seriously until they’ve had a security breach. It’s exactly like not having a backup when when your computer crashes, except breaches of security in government and enterprise areas have now reached chronic proportions in terms of the number of people effected. Intelligent and proportionate measures to protect your personal data will go some way from protecting you from these disasters


Related articles by Pointman:

Your survival kit – Get off radar.

All articles in the Fighting Big Tech series.

Click for a list of general articles on computer security.

Click for a list of all articles in the Internet security series.

Click here for a list of all articles in the Stop the Steal series.

Click for a list of other articles.

2 Responses to “Fighting Big Tech – Some general thoughts on protecting your personal data”
  1. NoFixedAddress says:

    If you think you are paranoid then maybe you are right.

    But maybe, just maybe, ‘they’ are watching you.


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