Phone call logs, credit card records, emails, Skype chats, Facebook message, and more. The precise nature of the NSA’s sweeping surveillance apparatus has yet to be confirmed.
But given the revelations spilling out into the media recently, there hardly seems a single aspect of daily life that isn’t somehow subject to spying or surveillance by someone.
Experts say there are steps anyone can take to improve privacy, but they only go so far.
Using anonymity services and encryption “simply make it harder, but not impossible,” said Ashkan Soltani, an independent privacy and security researcher. “Someone can always find you just depends on how motivated they are.”
With that caveat, here are some basic tips to enhance your privacy
1) Encrypt your emails
Emails sent across the Web are like postcards. In some cases, they’re readable by anyone standing between you and its recipient. That can include your webmail company, your Internet service provider and whoever is tapped into the fiber optic cable passing your message around the globe – not to mention a parallel set of observers on the recipient’s side of the world.
Experts recommend encryption, which scrambles messages in transit, so they’re unreadable to anyone trying to intercept them. Techniques vary, but a popular one is called PGP, short for “Pretty Good Privacy.” PGP is effective enough that the U.S. government tried to block its export in the mid-1990s, arguing that it was so powerful it should be classed as a weapon.
Encryption can be clunky. And to work, both parties have to be using it.
2) Use TOR
Like emails, your travels around the Internet can easily be tracked by anyone standing between you and the site you’re trying to reach. TOR, short for “The Onion Router,” helps make your traffic anonymous by bouncing it through a network of routers before spitting it back out on the other side. Each trip through a router provides another layer of protection, thus the onion reference.
Originally developed by the U.S. military, TOR is believed to work pretty well if you want to hide your traffic from, let’s say, eavesdropping by your local Internet service provider. And criminals’ use of TOR has so frustrated Japanese police that experts there recently recommended restricting its use. But it’s worth noting that TOR may be ineffective against governments equipped with the powers of global surveillance.
Browsing the web with TOR can be painfully slow. And some services – like file swapping protocols used by many Internet users to share videos and music – aren’t compatible.
3) Ditch the phone
Your everyday cellphone has all kinds of privacy problems. In Britain, cellphone safety was so poor that crooked journalists made a cottage industry out of eavesdropping on their victims’ voicemails. In general, proprietary software, lousy encryption, hard-to-delete data and other security issues make a cellphone a bad bet for storing information you’d rather not share.
An even bigger issue is that cellphones almost always follow their owners around, carefully logging the location of every call, something which could effectively give governments a daily digest of your everyday life. Security researcher Jacob Appelbaum has described cellphones as tracking devices that also happen to make phone calls. If you’re not happy with the idea of an intelligence agency following your footsteps across town, leave the phone at home.
Not having a cellphone handy when you really need it. Other alternatives, like using “burner” phones paid for anonymously and discarded after use, rapidly become expensive.
4) Cut up your credit cards
The Wall Street Journal says the NSA is monitoring American credit card records in addition to phone calls. Some cybercriminals can use the same methods. So stick to cash, or, if you’re more adventurous, use electronic currencies to move your money around if you want total privacy.
Credit cards are a mainstay of the world payment system, so washing your hands of plastic money is among the most difficult moves you can make. In any case, some cybercurrency systems offer only limited protection from government snooping and many carry significant risks. The value of Bitcoin, one of the better-known forms of electronic cash, has oscillated wildly, while users of another popular online currency, Liberty Reserve, were left out of pocket after the company behind it was busted by international law enforcement.
5) Don’t keep your data in America or with American companies
U.S. companies are subject to U.S. law, including the Patriot Act, whose interpretations are classified. Although the exact parameters of the PRISM data mining program revealed by the Guardian and The Washington Post remain up for debate, what we do know is that a variety of law enforcement officials – not just at the NSA – can secretly demand your electronic records without a warrant through an instrument known as a National Security Letter. Such silent requests are made by the thousands every year.
If you don’t like the sound of that, your best bet is to park your data in a European country, where privacy protections tend to be stronger.
Silicon Valley’s Internet service providers tend to be better and cheaper than their foreign counterparts. What’s more, there’s no guarantee that European spy agencies don’t have NSA-like surveillance arrangements with their own companies. When hunting for a safe place to stash your data, look for smaller countries with robust human rights records. Iceland, long a hangout for WikiLeaks activists, might be a good bet.
6) Steer clear of malicious software
If they can’t track it, record it, or intercept it, an increasing number of spies aren’t shy about hacking their way in to steal your data outright. Edward Snowden, the NSA leaker, warned the Guardian that his agency had been on a worldwide binge of cyber-attacks.
“We hack everyone everywhere,” he said.
Former officials don’t appear to contradict him. Ex-NSA chief Michael Hayden described it as “commuting to where the information is stored and extracting the information from the adversaries’ network.” In a recent interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, he boasted that “we are the best at doing it. Period.”
Malicious software used by hackers can be extremely hard to spot. But installing an antivirus program, avoiding attachments, frequently changing passwords, dodging suspicious websites, creating a firewall, and always making sure your software is up to date is a good start.
Keeping abreast of all the latest updates and warily scanning emails for viruses can be exhausting.
Ugandan Digital Agency “Definite Creations” ranks 9th among top Web Design companies in the world
Ugandan website designing company Definite Creations has been ranked among the top global website designing companies by Yahoo Finance Magazine. The Ugandan website designing giant beat over 1,500 participating companies to a top slot.
Definite Creations is a premier digital agency in Uganda providing compelling digital solutions in professional website design and hosting services, search engine optimization and social media marketing, mobile Apps and software development to help businesses achieve more.
Participating in this ranking and emerging 9th out of the top 25, Definite Creations managed to beat over 1,500 participating companies from different countries based on price, portfolios, reviews, leadership and expertise.
Speaking to Definite Creations about this milestone, Lodi Daniel, the founder and CEO of Definite Creations admits that it’s a very humbling experience having your company feature on prominent magazine like Yahoo Finance, “I would like to give the glory back to God and thank all the team at Definite Creations for the great work they are doing thus far. And this is our renewed commitment to continue providing quality and effective Digital marketing services to our clients and urge businesses to embrace Digital to spiral their business growth” He added.
“Definite Creations is currently serving clients in Uganda, South Sudan, South Africa and this ranking will provide opportunities for us to tap into the global clientele”.
The survey was carried out by DesignRush, a B2B market place that features the top agencies around the world, including the best Digital Agencies, Logo Design, Branding, Digital Marketing, Website Design, ecommerce Web Design Companies, and more.
Infinix to unveil a phone with the latest technology
By Staff Writer
Infinix Mobility’s newest gadget brings science fiction to reality with the Augmented Reality.
The tech company is rumored to unveil its hottest new innovation on 8th July 2019 which includes Augmented Reality (AR)core, AR measure and Quick note. Infinix Mobility has proved extremely impressive setting a trend in the smartphone industry with its latest technology in the upcoming device, the NOTE6 aimed at providing users with reasonably priced device with a higher level of technology.
“We are moving from being just a smartphone company to bringing the high technology to everyone at affordable prices and the pretty cool NOTE6 is the beginning of greater innovation. The NOTE6 may not only be a phone with the AR core but is a device below One million shillings with such great features for everyone.” Marketing Manager, Ms. Gladys Liu said.
The NOTE6 AI powered X-pen comes with a lot of interesting functions which automatically detects and connects phone numbers, reminders, alarm clocks from the content recorded.
In addition, the X-pen has Intelligent gesture which can quickly erase the modified content, export pictures / format easily to spreadsheets, word document and handwritten font is easily translated into text.
The NOTE6 is rumored to have triple rear cameras, with a 3 days battery life and a tremendous upgrade in the RAM and storage capacity providing a user with space enough to store over 15,000 pictures, videos and a smooth user experience without lagging.
The NOTE6 will be available in three colors.
The best government bodies online awarded
By Our Reporter
The National Information Technology Authority (NITA) Uganda awarded the best online government bodies in the eGovernment Excellence Awards held at the Speke Resort Munyonyo on Thursday.
The ceremony, held under the theme “Bold Digital Government: Unlocking Service Delivery”, was aimed at recognizing government agencies that have been outstanding in digitizing and bringing their services online while also creating awareness of eGovernment services.
Speaking during the ceremony, the Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Ruhakana Rugunda who was also Chief Guest of Honour, revealed that the government has made deliberate effort to grow the ICT sector in order to harness the incredible potential it brings to Uganda’s development agenda.
“It is now common wisdom that the internet drives business transformation and economic modernization,” he stated. “However, world over, it is known that affordability is one of the primary barriers to Internet access and optimal use. I would like to acknowledge that there have been deliberate efforts by this government through the National Information Technology Authority-Uganda under the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance to increase internet penetration and reduce the cost of internet.”
The award ceremony was part of a month-long celebration to mark NITA’s 10 years of existence. The awards attracted over 75 nominations under various categories in which 16 awards were won.
Some of the winners included Uganda Revenue Authority which was voted the best Exhibitor at the e-Government Expo 2019; NSSF was voted the best Government Entity Of The Year 2019; while the CIO of the year award went to Martin Ssekajja, the Head of Information Systems at Kampala Capital City Authority.
The award ceremony was organised by Legend Events.
Here’s the full list of winners:
Chief Information Officer – Martin Sekajja
Outstanding Web-portal Award: Connected – Makerere University
Outstanding Web-portal Award: Interactive – UNBS
Outstanding Web-portal Award: Informational – Office of the Director Public Prosecution
Outstanding Web-portal Award: Local Government – Mbarara District Local Government
Outstanding Sector eService Award: Economic, Infrastructure and Competitiveness sector – UNRA (PDU E-Transit Ladder)
Outstanding Sector eService Award: Tourism and Trade sector – URA (eBIZ)
Outstanding Sector eService Award: Education sector – UNEB (eRegistration)
Outstanding Sector eService Award: Health sector – National Medical Store (Smart Care)
Outstanding Sector eService Award: Human sector – Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development (External Employment Information System)
Outstanding Sector eService Award: Accountability and Governance sector – Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (Integrated Financial Management System)
Outstanding Sector eService Award: Public Administrations and Management sector – Ministry of Local Government (ELogRev)
Outstanding Sector eService Award: Justice Law and Order sector – URSB (Business Registration system)
Best Exhibitor at eGovernment Expo – URA
Government Entity of the Year – NSSF
Citizen Choice – URA (eTax)
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