I often tell people that learning about privacy and security is like going to a salad bar. When you attend a live training about these subjects or begin to explore the large number of topics that are related to this endeavor, it can be a bit overwhelming. With so many options and choices to consider, how does a person decide where to begin? Hence the salad bar analogy. There are decisions to made at every turn along the way. What resources are the most valuable? Which privacy enhancing tools should you incorporate into your strategy? What is worth spending money on, and what is not? Is there a streamlined way to improve your operational security, or a silver bullet that will remove you from the internet overnight?
Luckily there seems to be more and more resources available today for a person to learn about protecting and controlling their personal information. I will mention several in this post and I encourage you to take a deep breath and begin exploring what is available in a systematic approach. Wrapping your arms around all of this information is really not too difficult. Like a salad bar, not everything will apply to your needs at this time. The best approach is to start learning the fundamentals and incorporate them into your daily life. For example, begin using a password manager to secure your accounts. Set up a safer, more secure and private personal email account for yourself. Start utilizing two factor authentication on accounts that offer it. Consider setting up an alternative mailing address for yourself, like a PO Box. It doesn’t end there, this blog explores many of the fundamentals that a person can employ into their own strategy. Later on when you have a craving or a need for more advanced information, that’s where the real fun begins.
A common question that comes up when people begin to explore privacy and information removal methods is; can’t I just pay for a service to delete all of my online information? There are several services marketed to law enforcement and individuals who are looking for an easy solution to eliminate information about themselves online. The services typically cost about $100 per year and offer to remove your information from a couple dozen people search websites.
Those who have taken the plunge into information removal for themselves, know that these services offer only a fraction of the results that you could achieve by doing the job yourself. They are amateur at best, because the services simply can’t achieve opt-outs for many of the most important places your information is found. Advanced opt-out with the largest data brokers require carefully worded letters to be written for a person to be granted exclusion. Often many of the smaller people search sites require copies of identification to be submitted, which removal companies cannot do for you. Also, developing better privacy habits and setting up a personalized strategy for yourself are key components that a person will miss if they simply try to ‘pay’ for a service to delete them.
Online removal services are ineffective for anyone who is serious about doing a comprehensive job. Instead of spending $100 on an ineffective subscription removal service, I would encourage anyone interested in achieving a more private lifestyle to invest their money and time on the following resources.
The Complete Privacy & Security Desk Reference – This textbook, at nearly 500 pages, will explain how to become digitally invisible. You will make all of your communications private, data encrypted, internet connections anonymous, computers hardened, identity guarded, purchases secret, accounts secured, devices locked, and home address hidden. You will remove all personal information from public view and will reclaim your right to privacy. You will no longer give away your intimate details and you will take yourself out of ‘the system’. You will use covert aliases and misinformation to eliminate current and future threats toward your privacy & security. When taken to the extreme, you will be impossible to compromise.
OSINT & Digital Privacy Forum – This online community has exploded with new members over the past few months. If you have an interest in online investigations, cutting edge open source intelligence techniques, or tactics for living a more private and secure lifestyle, I highly encourage you to join. Discussions take place daily between members who share their experiences and best practices on all of these topics. The members include experts from the technology field, law enforcement, private sector, and self-proclaimed secret agents from all walks of life. There is something here for everyone, it is free to join, and there are nuggets of valuable information being shared every single day.
Online Video Training – Available through Privacy-Training.com and now with over 20 Hours HD video content. This training program is updated monthly with new material and memberships are currently half-price here. Learn the latest techniques on how to remove online information, the fundamentals personal operational security, and the become an expert from the comfort of your home with self paced training material.
Live Privacy Training – Live 2-Day Privacy/Security courses can be booked for your agency or organization by contacting Delitor’s team of instructors here. Training events for 2018 are currently being booked across the nation.
The Complete Privacy & Security Podcast – Michael Bazzell and Justin Carroll host a weekly podcast; an incredible free resource to keep everyone in the loop on the topics we care about most. Subscribe today using your favorite podcast app or listen directly at this link.
Justin Carroll’s 30 Day Privacy & Security Challenge (HERE) is one of the best “guides” for anyone brand new to these topics. An absolute must read!
The above items offer the privacy enthusiast with a comprehensive arsenal of information to use in the pursuit of their goals. The training is recognized worldwide as the industry standard for these topics. New privacy enthusiasts should start by studying the fundamentals. As your addiction for protecting and controlling your personal information grows, more advanced strategies will further separate you from the large majority of people who don’t yet see the value of personal operational security.
If you are new to this blog, take some time to read through the various posts which I hope will provide a solid foundation to start your journey. Thanks again for all the comments, suggestions and enthusiasm so many of you have shown for this knowledge.
Lastly, here is a recent podcast I did called “New To Privacy – Start Here“. Happy listening.