Are you concerned about your privacy? Check out this toolkit of apps and services. They can help you take back control. Stay private and read on.
Online privacy is increasingly rare these days. And as the United States heads into a future under President-elect Trump, you should start worrying. If you’re serious about staying private—either offline or online—there are ways to go about it.
1: Use a burner phone
“Burner phone” is slang for a cheap, disposable prepaid phone. You can go this route, or use a burner app and use disposable phone numbers.
A great app to use for disposable phone numbers is Burner. It requires a monthly subscription, but you can create unlimited numbers.
2: Switch to anonymous money
Cash is already a fairly anonymous form of money. But for people who don’t want to give up their bank account, there is cryptocurrency. There are many types of cryptocurrency to choose from. Bitcoin and Ethereum are the two most popular.
An alternative to this is the service Privacy. It lets you hook up your bank account and create unlimited, free virtual debit cards. You can create a different card for each service. Or use a burner card that closes down after one transaction.
3: Manage online accounts
Put simply: share as little personal info on social media as you can. The internet is permanent, so manage privacy settings wherever possible.
A service to check out is Deseat.me. It only works with Gmail addresses, but you enter your email address. Then it scans the internet for any online account that uses the address. You have to option to remove the account if you want.
4: Chatting securely
Now that you use Burner to have disposable phone numbers, you can go a step further. For secure texting, you can use an app called Signal. It encrypts your messages at both ends, and you can make private calls too.
For emails, try a service called Protonmail. The company is in Switzerland and outside of America’s jurisdiction. Like Signal, it’s end-to-end encrypted.
5: Browsing the web
Several services can help you browse the web anonymously. First, use Tor. You can use it on smartphones and laptop/desktops. Next, use a VPN. Either technology is worthwhile on their own. But when you combine them and use both Tor and a VPN, you’ll be even more private.
Instead of using Google, use DuckDuckGo. It respects your privacy and doesn’t collect your data. Funnily enough, you can even keep searching Google with DDG. But it encrypts each search and can’t trace you.
The lengths you go to stay private is up to you. You shouldn’t assume that governments and/or corporations have your best privacy interests at heart. You can take simple steps by using these apps. Or you can go completely offline and live “off the grid.”
In an age where it’s easy to spy on people using technology, it’s more important than ever to value privacy.