How to Protect Your Digital Identity | Hacker Noon

Some of the biggest challenges we face is defending our freedom and human rights on the internet. There are many influential people who go that extra mile, such as technologists or cypherpunks. Despite all the pitfalls and hurdles, their efforts have tremendous meaning. Thanks to them, we get to enjoy more privacy. The privacy of communication is the fundamental right of every individual. All netizens should believe that communications should be encrypted by default, which would render mass surveillance infeasible. We have the power to change the direction in which we will shape the future.

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Faizan Raza

I love HN authors, publishing, and talking incessantly about AI, Tech,Startup,Blockchain & etc.

We all love and appreciate the opportunities the internet has given us. However, with the ever-evolving digital space, some issues are just as prominent. One of the biggest challenges we netizens encounter is defending freedom and human rights on the internet.

With time, different factors influence this goal. For instance, the monopoly online is a major downside. We live in a space dominated by several platforms. You might hear about the lack of competition in the ISP industry, with some companies having no rivals at all.

And it is not just netizens fighting for their rights. Policymakers always try to keep up with the upcoming technologies. In some cases, this lack of rules and guidelines leaves companies free to experiment with various strategies.

Many users fight for their rights. Even choosing an alternative browser, more equipped to handle your privacy is an excellent effort. However, there are many influential people who go that extra mile, such as technologists or cypherpunks.

After all, these people are inspirational figures that stand strong for what they believe in. And despite all the pitfalls and hurdles, their efforts have tremendous meaning. Thanks to them, we get to enjoy more privacy.

Let’s see how you can make a difference in the digital space. Also, let’s look at people whose dedication made the biggest difference.

How Encryption Became Our Friend

You might already use an instant messaging app that implements end-to-end encryption for your conversations. However, encryption was not always as accessible as it is now. We were not always blessed with options to hide our private affairs. And, in some cases, people might still use apps that, allegedly read their messages.

By the 1970s, cryptography was only used in secret services by the military or spy agencies. It was brought to public awareness by the US government’s published Data Encryption Standard (DES) paper. DES was the first publicly available work on the use of public-key cryptography.

Furthermore, this motivated a few crypto enthusiasts and regulated an idea in the public about the importance of privacy. Hence, many papers were published in this regard, and one of those papers got into the limelight.

The work done by cryptographer David Chaum in this field received attention worldwide. He worked on topics like anonymous digital cash and pseudonymous reputation systems. These ideas of Chaum further merged into a Cypherpunk movement, which demonstrated the importance of using cryptography for privacy.

Be a Part of the Fight

The change starts with you. Thus, be aware of the potential threats and take action to combat them. After all, we have the power to change the direction in which we will shape the future. Let’s do that together!

Practice Good Security Hygiene

Your security is as good as the techniques you apply. For instance, do you still use the same password for all your accounts? Drop this habit and create unique passwords for each account. With the password managers available, you have no excuse not to do this.

Thus, before you think about privacy, consider the ways to protect unauthorized access. Weak passwords are one of the ways perpetrators could break into your accounts. As a cherry on top, add two-factor authentication, and your security becomes even more robust.

Privacy for Your Communications

The privacy of communication is the fundamental right of every individual. All netizens should believe that communications should be encrypted by default, which would render mass surveillance infeasible.

Cryptography can also provide financial privacy, enabling “cryptography” to be used worldwide for private transactions without government interference. It is also central to libertarianism; market libertarians believe in the right of individuals to spend their money any way they choose, with no restrictions on freedom of exchange.

Thus, thousands of people turn to providers like Signal to enjoy privacy when communicating with others online. Such instant messaging apps are central in keeping your conversations safe from authorities and advertisers.

Additionally, many netizens do not connect to the internet if they do not have a private VPN enabled. This tool encrypts information about users’ internet activities and hides IP addresses. Thus, it is one of the essential programs for preserving your digital identity.

Don’t Install Random Apps

Many services might tempt you to install them. However, if it has a web version, and you rarely use the service, why choose an app? Stick to the web version to keep your devices neater.

After all, an app can learn a lot about you via all the different types of data they can access via your phone. Even a seemingly simple app like a calculator can gather information about you and sell it to its partners.

Turn Off Ad Personalization

Allowing companies to perform ad personalization might seem like a good idea. After all, your newsfeed will quickly adapt to your current needs.

However, such permissions allow companies to do some invasive tracking. Imagine visiting a pet store and seeing dozens of ads on similar products. Such promotional content also relates to geo-targeting and geo-fencing, which reads your locations and predicts what else you might need.

Know Your Rights

So, you decide to fight for your rights online. However, do you know what privileges and rights you already have? Take the time to find out more about all the different ways you can protect your identity.

For instance, users in Europe are blessed with GDPR, which deals with many digital privacy issues. Knowing what you can do is central in safeguarding everyday online privacy.

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