I am a judgment broker that writes often. Those old-school computer privacy and security advice tips are all still very good ideas: Keep track of and protect your passwords, change your passwords once in a while, back up your computer, do not click on strange links, or visit crazy websites, or download and/or open goofy looking file attachments from anyone.
Some people go a few levels further, and use software programs such as TOR or I2P, aiming for enhanced privacy. My opinion is that if any communication, website, or password-protected website is hacked, is left unprotected, or interests any government entity; nothing is private.
Do you know that every word of any email or conversation, is already being recorded? Nothing in the electronic/internet world is private. It starts somewhere, and ends on your screen. In the middle, are companies and/or government entities that record everything sent in emails, blogs, forums, private messages, text messages, faxes, phone calls, voicemails, and every other form of digital communication. I would not be surprised if the government can see right through “secure” TOR and I2P connections.
The National Security Agency (NSA)’s data center in Utah, became fully operational by 2014. It cost about two billion dollars, and its purpose is to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store; vast swaths of the world’s communications as they go through satellites, and underground or undersea cables of domestic and worldwide networks.
Flowing through NSA’s servers and routers and stored in almost bottomless databases, are all forms of communication. This includes the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails, parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, etc. This will be close to the “total information awareness” program created during the first term of the Bush administration. That program was first stopped by Congress, back in 2003; after it caused an outcry over its potential for invading Americans’ privacy.
NSA’s new server network is described at: http://nsa.gov1.info/utah-data-center/index.html. The storage capacity of the new NSA Utah Data Center is measured in “yottabytes”. A yottabyte (YB) is one septillion bytes (one quadrillion gigabytes). A terabyte has a thousand gigabytes. A petabyte has a thousand terabytes. An exabyte has a thousand petabytes. A zettabyte is a thousand exabytes. A yottabyte is a thousand zettabytes, or 1,000,000,000,000,000 gigabytes.
Some people will do anything to try to preserve their online privacy. Some internet vendors selling private items, try to take precautions to keep their customer’s information extra secure. Some host their web servers in Iceland, which has very strict privacy laws. The FBI once went to Iceland on a fishing expedition, trying to investigate WikiLeaks, and was ordered to leave their country. Some vendors do not take orders over the web, and shred their customer’s information and shipping labels, after the orders are sent.