11 Privacy Strategies That You Can Implement Today
Privacy is disappearing quickly in the modern world. More than ever we need privacy strategies to live our lives in private.
Almost all of us carry around a personal tracking device in the form of a mobile phone. This is clearly one of the worst privacy strategies you could imagine.
Many countries require internet service providers to keep records of our internet search history. This is anti-freedom and anti-privacy. We will look at what privacy strategies we can implement to avoid this gross intrusion into our privacy.
Phone calls are routinely monitored for key words. Are there any privacy strategies we can implement to avoid this?
Alexa and other devices are listening to our conversations at home. Is the convenience of an always on personal assistant worth the loss of privacy this entails? Are there other privacy strategies we can implement, while retaining the convenience?
We are being monitored 24/7 by cameras in big cities. In large cities like London almost every inch of public space are covered by surveillance cameras. Are there privacy strategies we can put in place to avoid this kind of surveillance.
So, how do you get your privacy back from ‘big brother’ states? Here are 11 privacy strategies you can start implementing immediately to regain some of your lost privacy. Of course some privacy strategies involve some inconvenience. Only you can decide if the trade off is worth it.
1. Have an Anonymous Phone
Don’t have a mobile phone contract where your address is registered with the mobile provider and the monthly bill is deducted from your bank account.
This device registers so much information about you, it’s important that it can never be tracked back to you. Use a device registered in a different country to throw any snoops off the trail.
If you have a private phone and one that’s registered to you be sure not to keep them both switched on and with you all the time. Criminals have been caught doing exactly this. Any one tracking you can see exactly where your registered phone is. If another phone is always in the same location as your registered phone they can see that too. All they have to do is request the data from the phone company and they have access to all the data you thought was confidential.
2. Use Encrypted Apps like Signal for Communication
As far as privacy strategies go, I’d say this one is essential. Encrypted communications are the only way to even have a chance of communicating in private nowadays.
Instead of using the mobile network for phone calls use an app that’s encrypted and preferably one that doesn’t store meta-data.
The communications app can be registered to a different phone from the one in your pocket so that nobody knows your real phone number.
Better still only use wi-fi and don’t have a phone contract at all. You can get a temporary number online from services like TextPlus.
Use that number to register Signal or WhatsApp. Then you have an encrypted phone without a wireless contract.
3. Never disclose your home address
This can be one of the most difficult privacy strategies to implement. We’re all used to being open about where we live. However if you want to regainyour privacy nobody should know where you sleep at night.
The only person who should know where you sleep at night is the person you sleep with.
You should have a trusted maildrop for receiving mail, especially for government correspondence.
You can also use hotels for receiving mail when you’re there for a short time.
You could have a maildrop hold your mail and forward it to a hotel in a different city when you travel. You can use a service like Mail Boxes Etc to receive your mail and have it forwarded to somewhere you’re staying temporarily like a hotel or business centre.
4. Use TAILS
This is one of those privacy strategies that takes a fair bit of effort. Particularly if you’re not a techie. The rewards are worth the effort though. This strategy alone can ensure you maintain your online and data privacy no matter what happens.
TAILS stands for The Amnesic Incognito Live System. You can find it here.
It’s an independent operating system that runs from a USB stick. It stores no history of your computer activities.
Every time you finish a session everything is wiped and forgotten. Anybody who gets their hands on your computer will find absolutely nothing. Zero. Nada.
Web browsing is encrypted through Tor, making it more difficult for enemies to track your location. You can use TOR as one of your privacy strategies without TAILS but it’s not nearly so effective. And not effective at all if a hostile party gets access to your physical computer.
5. Use a VPN
This is one of the most often touted privacy strategies but one of the weakest, in my opinion. Yes, it’s better than doing nothing but not completely effective. In a worst case scenario you could be sending all your data to a hostile party.
You should also consider using a Virtual Private Network when browsing the internet.
This means that your home ISP will not have a record of your internet browsing.
However some caution is required.
You should pay for the VPN service anonymously so that they do not know your identity.
Most VPNs say that they don’t keep logs. I’d be somewhat sceptical of that claim. Do your own due diligence on VPNs. A VPN provider will always cave in if they have a court order to supply information about you.
6. Register Your Vehicle to an Offshore Company
The principal way the state tracks us is via our phones and our cars. Therefore we need privacy strategies to cover both.
You have little privacy when driving.
Automatic Number plate Recognition technology is becoming more common and speed cameras are everywhere in some countries like the UK and France.
Registering a vehicle to an offshore company means they have to send the tickets to Panama or the Cook Islands!
A second driver’s license is easy to obtain and also a useful tool. Particularly in countries where penalty points are added to local licenses.
It’s also worth making sure your car’s not too ostentatious. The goal should be not to draw too much attention to yourself.
7. Use Cash or Anonymous Credit Cards
Financial privacy strategies are ultra important. I wrote a special report on the subject with all the best strategies to protect your assets and preserve your financial privacy. You can find it here.
Using credit cards or debit cards leave a digital trail wherever you go.
Anybody looking for clues about your finances or lifestyle only needs to get their hands on your card transactions.
You should use cash whenever you can. If you must use a credit or debit card, use one from a bank outside your home country.
8. Get Used to Using Crypto Currencies
Crypto currencies can be useful for transferring and storing money. Used correctly they can be the modern equivalent of a numbered Swiss bank account.
Funds can be held in what is effectively a numbered account, not linked to any individual.
Whoever has the password owns the account.
Crypto currencies are almost impossible for governments or creditors to seize as there’s no central authority.
It’s almost impossible for a hostile creditor or government to seize your crypto. Bitcoin does not have a headquarters that legal papers can be served on.
This is reason to consider having at least a portion of your assets in crypto currency.
9. Never Travel directly from your Home Country to your final destination
This is another of those privacy strategies that involves a bit of inconvenience but if you value your privacy and want to keep details of your travels private you must follow it.
If you’re travelling from your home country to visit your banker in Switzerland or Singapore don’t take a flight directly to your destination.
Get a flight to another destination first. When you get there buy your ticket to your final destination.
Make sure there’s no trail from your home country to places that you don’t want anyone finding out about.
If you live in New York and you own bank accounts and real estate in Panama, consider flying to Mexico City first.
When you’re in Mexico City buy your ticket to Panama, using cash if possible.
Never tell any one person too much about your affairs.
Sometimes the people you have trusted most become your worst enemies. More people end up facing problems because an ex-wife or ex-business partner has ratted out on them than anything else.
Tell people only what they need to know. Don’t brag to your wife or mistress about your secret gold stash in Singapore.
Don’t mention your secret bank account in the Cook Islands or your back up Irish passport to your business partner.
11. Keep a Low Profile
It can pay to keep a low profile in life. There’s no need to make your neighbours envious with ostentatious displays of wealth.
Don’t draw attention to yourself. Drive a comfortable car that doesn’t stand out from the crowd.
Live in a nice, luxurious house that doesn’t appear too ostentatious, at least from the outside.
In today’s world there are teams of bureaucrats looking for any outward signs of success.
If you’re taking a private jet to visit your banker in Monaco don’t be stupid enough to post the picture on Facebook.
If you’ve chartered a yacht in the Caribbean for the winter, keep it to yourself and your guests. Don’t post the pictures on Instagram.
Take time to enjoy experiences with your loved ones in real time. There’s no need for the rest of the world to know about it.