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(NOTE: This page is partly obsolete. Since 2010, the biggest threats to privacy are Facebook and smartphones. Avoiding these two things, and using free software are the most important ways to protect your privacy, at least partially.)

Why is privacy important? What can computer users do to protect their privacy?

The collecting of personal data is used for harassment, for discrimination against people who have done nothing illegal, and for applying generalisations and prejudice to people by association.

  1. Why is privacy important?
  2. Who's monitoring you?
  3. Protect your privacy when using your computer
  4. Arguments against ID cards
  5. Arguments against national citizen databases


Why is privacy important?

You should be able to keep some things private, if you want:

Companies that invade people's privacy also use the gathered information to manipulate children through profiling for advertisers.

Google publishes contacts / friend lists of all their members - Richard Stallman comments: "This could mean imprisonment for dissidents that use gmail. Maintaining your list of contacts on Google's server put you at risk, because Google decides what to do with it. Even without any malice it can hurt you badly."

Debunking The Dangerous "If You Have Nothing To Hide, You Have Nothing To Fear"


Who's monitoring you?


Protect your privacy when using your computer


Choosing a web browser

If you use Firefox or a derivative such as IceCat or IceWeasel, consider installing the CustomizeGoogle plugin and maybe the AdBlock Plus plugin. Derived browsers are more likely to have privacy features added, since Mozilla has a large financial agreement with data-collector Google. (AdBlock Plus probably isn't going to be added to Firefox)


Arguments against ID cards/numbers


Arguments against national citizen databases

Data theft and data loss are common. The more data about you that is held by governments and corporations, the more problems they create without you having any control.

Open Rights Group has a good list of examples from the UK: UK Privacy Debacles.


Unsorted links

This is where I dump interesting links that I don't have time to integrate into the body of this page. When I find time, I'll move them to the right place and improve the titles and descriptions to highlight what's important about each.

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© Copyright 2009 Ciarán O'Riordan. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium, provided this notice is preserved. Distribution of modified versions of all or part of this article are permitted, provided that such works carry three things: (1) this copyright notice, (2) prominent notices stating the that it has been changed, and (3) information for how to obtain the original (such as a URL).