By Colin Bonzo, Junior Security and Compliance Specialist, Anonyome Labs
Doesn’t privacy help only the bad guys? This is a fair question. Criminals (in both the digital and physical worlds) will often take steps to keep their identity and personal information (name, location etc.) a secret. Whether they use a mask to rob a bank or a spoofed number to try to scam you over the phone, keeping their information and identity private helps them to act maliciously without fear of the consequences.
When we think about it that way, it can seem like we’re better off getting rid of privacy so that we can catch these bad actors. You might say to yourself: “The only thing the police could do to me if they spied on me was arrest me for a criminally boring life!” But even if you consider yourself an uninteresting person and as someone with nothing to hide, privacy can protect you from dangers you may face in life, particularly when interacting online.
Criminals are already using privacy to give themselves an advantage. Their motivation is anonymity. You can use privacy to level the playing field. Your motivation would be control —and you have plenty to gain from being in control of the personal information you share, particularly online.
You can guard against data breaches
A criminal could get your information from a data breach and use it to commit financial fraud, identity theft, or create a pretty convincing scam to try to trick you. You can prevent this by keeping your personal information out of those databases that can get compromised. When signing up for websites or giving your personal information to a person you don’t know, you can give the minimum required information and use MySudo to give alternative information that stays separate from your own private details. For example, you’d give a MySudo email address and phone number instead of your personal ones. By keeping your data out of databases that can get breached, the bad guys may not be able to do much more than send a generic phishing email to your MySudo email account, not your personal account.
You can keep harassment at bay
Privacy can even help protect you from dangers you may face when dealing with a stalker or a doxer. By keeping your personal information a secret, you can keep would-be stalkers and internet sleuths from finding details such as your email address, phone number, or home address. This helps to keep harassing messages and physical threats at bay.
You can communicate securely when feeling unsafe
Other privacy measures, such as using MySudo end-to-end encrypted messaging, can help you if you’re being stalked or harassed by someone you know and who already knows a lot of your personal information, including your phone number. Through your MySudo phone number, you could securely message another MySudo user (e.g. your mom or brother) for help or support, without your potential abuser accessing the information. Learn about stalkerware.
By maintaining your privacy in these ways, anybody who could cause you harm or discomfort through stalking or harassment will have a much harder time doing so.
You can be in control of your privacy
The point is: Privacy benefits criminals and other malicious actors, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t benefit you as well. By maintaining your privacy and safeguarding your personal information, you can take control and protect yourself from those who seek to do you harm.
Images by Brandon Shepard, DevOps/SecOps Engineer, Anonyome Labs