Losing Privacy Online and Offline

Most of us realize that many sites we access like Facebook, Instagram, and others, collect information about our usage. At the same time, we freely allow sites access to our personal data while sometimes complaining about our loss of privacy. Experts call this behavior the “privacy paradox.” It may seem like we don’t have any control over our privacy, but we do. There are ways to increase privacy protection as well to learn who is tracking your data.


Earlier this year, New York Public Radio’s “Note To Self” podcast launched a series of podcasts on privacy called the Privacy Paradox. These five episodes provide a great snapshot about the challenges for privacy in this day and age. Even if you missed the episodes, you can sign up for Privacy Paradox to receive the five podcasts with helpful tips on securing your personal data.  Also, if you’re interested, you can listen to Teri Gross interview information expert Joseph Turow about how retailers use your data as your walk through the stores.


Here are some helpful apps for guarding your privacy when using your smartphone:


Brave Browser (iOS, Android)

Now you can automatically block ads and trackers. This keeps you and your information safer by effectively shielding you from 3rd party tracking and malvertisement. Plus, your web browsing speeds will increase by up to 60%.

Signal Private Messenger (iOS, Android)

Protect your text messages and voice calls. Signal is end-to-end encrypted, and no one can read the messages between you and your conversation partner. It also offers access to voice and video calls. This app is open source (developed by Open Whisper Systems) and has been thoroughly examined for security holes and has stood up to auditing.


ObscuraCam (Android)

Now you can share photos and videos with friends while also protecting the privacy of specific people in photos. ObscuraCam allows you to blur and disguise faces in your photos and videos. Plus, information that could identify you as the cameraperson is removed from the files for added security.


Pixelknot (Android)

You can hide messages sent to your friends in a picture. By entering a certain password, your friends will see the message, but everyone else will just see a picture.


Protonmail (iOS, Android)

While Gmail encrypts messages and provides an excellent security option, you may want even greater security. If you send an email to other Protonmail users, they will see the message normally. If you send a message to someone who does not use Protonmail, they’ll be sent a link and will need a password to view the message.

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