Privacy – Colin’s at it again

Colin has been relatively silent on LayRoots about his privacy rants.  Not at home…and not as much on here.  However, he’s gotten all riled up again with the latest stories on how much the government tracks us.

Losing your privacy

You can read more about it here and here (or just google “CIA,” “Wikileaks,” and “government surveillance”…or don’t.  We’re already on a watchlist. You might not want to be.).  Side note: Julian Assange looks like an evil mastermind on the Washington Post still they are using.  Also, are the Russians offering him asylum yet?  I wouldn’t be surprised if they did.

You should have seen Colin’s eyes bug out of his head when I carelessly (to him) told a clerk our address.  I’m pretty sure he didn’t speak to me for a solid 4 hours.  LOL.  Married life.

The point is, though, that not everyone thinks about why you would want to keep things like your address secret.  They are simply out and about, living their life, attempting to do things in the most convenient way possible.  Many of us grew up in a time when it would require a lot more effort to find out all of the details of someone’s life than it does today.  And in the wake of these stories of mass government surveillance, it can feel like there is nothing we can do to stop our top secret dance moves or our attempts at harmonizing like the Beach Boys from getting out there into the world.

There ARE little things, though, that you can do.  Here are 5 things that we do to help us be a bit more safe:

  1. Use better passwords and a password manager.
  2. Put tape over the cameras on our computers.
  3. Don’t allow every single app on your phone to access your camera, microphone, or location.  Maybe it is slightly less convenient, but I don’t want Facebook watching me/listening to me.
  4. Use a VPN or something to secure your internet connection
  5. AND ON THAT NOTE, put a password on your home wifi for godssakes.

These are things that even I, the not paranoid one in this situation, have done at little to no inconvenience to myself.

Another thing that people may not understand is why the argument that starts with “well, if you have nothing to hide…” is a BAD argument to support us giving up our rights, privacy, and anonymity.

I don’t know about you, but even if I have nothing to hide, I sure do appreciate my privacy.  It’s freeing to feel as though you can truly be yourself without being under a microscope.  There are things that we do not want the world to know about us, but it also gives us the freedom to try things we wouldn’t normally try and to create.

Let’s be honest about it, though.  We all have something to hide.  It can be as simple as your secret love for Oreos even though you want your peers to think you’re all organic, all the time.  (Now, let’s add a layer of whether you want your health insurance company watching you every time you drink a beer, engage in risky behavior (e.g., sports), or eat those Oreos.)  It may also be that any snippet, as we’ve seen with the advent of Reality TV, without greater context can be construed in an unflattering light.


In the end, safety measures allow us NOT to be a target of cybercrimes and identity theft, and that’s enough of an incentive for me.