Author Topic: 13 Easy Ways to Safeguard Your Privacy in 2007  (Read 275 times)

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Offline NewMath

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13 Easy Ways to Safeguard Your Privacy in 2007
« on: January 01, 2007, 01:58:59 PM »
13 Easy Ways to Safeguard Your Privacy in 2007

Many Americans will make New Years resolutions to eat less, exercise more and become less bloated. What they should do instead is work on protecting the few civil rights and freedoms that they have left. ICWT would like to help you make this resolution as easily attainable as possible, so we have decided to equip you with this handy guide.

Here are thirteen quick, painless and easy (yet powerful) things you can do to protect your privacy and help defeat invasive data mining done by corporations and governments alike.

   1. Don`t Use Your Middle Initial. So many people make the mistake of using their middle initial in everyday life without realizing the impact to privacy. If your name is John Larry Smith, using your middle initial makes it much easier for database operators to connect records. While there are many John Smiths out there, there are not nearly as many John L. Smiths. In most cases, you can get away with removing your middle initial from your driver`s license, checks and most legal documents.

   2. Get a Non-Published Telephone Number. So many people fail to take this simple step to protecting your privacy. Get a non-published number when you establish service and not afterwards. Its a little known secret that the phone company sells Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI) to anyone willing to pay for it. This is not only your name and address but also your calling records. Once you establish service that is open (you haven`t asked for non-published service) that data is immediately available for sale. Of course, if you later order non-published service, your record will be removed from subsequent records sold, but the buyers of this data are well aware of this, and keep many years of this data around, knowing that people may buy non published service later on. Knowing this, they constantly compare the new records with the old ones and anything that was in the old but not in the new, they add back to the list. So, if you already have non published service, disconnect it completely (don`t just change the number) and order new service with a different number, your new billing address (see next item) and now you`ll be protected.

   3. Get a P.O. Box and Use It. Have all of your utility bills and bank statements sent to a post office box. Not only will they be safe from people who steal your mail to help steal your identity, the billing address of utility service is reported to numerous credit bureaus and other databases that allow people looking for you to find out where you live. Let them find your P.O. Box instead.

   4. Print Only Your Name and Address on Checks. I have seen people have all kinds of dumb things (phone number, drivers license number, social security numbers, etc) printed right on their checks because they are too lazy to show their ID when they write a check at the supermarket. This is foolish to say the least. Better yet, have them print your P.O. Box on your checks instead of your home address. Some stores don`t like this and will not take your check, so don`t shop with them as they don`t need your business. Today`s check verification services are extremely accurate and work off the MICR line on your checks, if thats not good enough, they don`t need your business so take it elsewhere. Many stores (groceries are esp. bad about this) take the mailing information from your check and add you to their junk mail list, so you might want to have your bank imprint an extra line below your address reading `Unsolicited Mailing to This Address Prohibited` or something similar. Most banks can do this for free as most systems are setup for up to six lines of address information.

   5. Disable the RFID Chip in Your Passport. Passports issued after Jan 1, 2007 (and perhaps some before that, better check to be safe instead of sorry) will all have an RFID chip embedded in the back front cover. According to Wired News, the best way to disable it may be with the strike of a hammer.

   6. Buy Your Stamps and Mail Your Packages at the Counter. Known as APCs (Automated Postal Centers) available in the lobby of most post offices 24/7 are equipped with cameras that take your picture. The camera is mounted just below the touch screen and looks back at the user.

   7. Use Prepaid Calling Cards. When you want to call someone from your phone and you don`t want them to get your number on Caller ID, place the call using a prepaid calling card. Most of these cards will show the number of the computer owned by the calling card company, effectively concealing your number from the call recipient. Test this by calling your cell phone with the card first though, as a few carriers have begun passing your number through to the recipient.

   8. Avoid Filing Change of Address Orders with USPS. Due to loopholes in the change of address (COA) regulations, filing a change of address order puts you on a marketing list called `New Movers` that many, many companies mass market to. Debt collection agencies also get this list to help them keep up with their skips. The list is also received by some states and used to manipulate voter registration lists. If you must file a COA, have the new address be a P.O. Box.

   9. Don`t Give Your Social Security Number Out. It is not mandatory that anyone have a Social Security Number (SSN) or use one. If you already have one, when ordering utility service or applying for a job, simply do not provide the number. If asked for the number, tell them that you don`t have one. If they ask why you don`t have one, say that you never applied and have no intention of doing so. Even if this is not true, there is no way for them to verify this. Most companies will accept this but some will not. Those that will not don`t need your business, so take it elsewhere. With most utility companies, failure to provide a SSN prevents them from running a credit check on you and thus they will often require the maximum deposit before services will be turned on. Freedom and privacy do have their costs. With regard to employment, your employer is legally entitled to have the number and refusal to provide it will cause problems. However, that does not mean that you need to put it on every application you fill out. Only provide it if and when you are hired. If someone asks why the space is blank on the application, tell them you value your privacy and don`t want to become an identity theft victim and thus prefer to provide it upon hire. If the company doesn`t like this, get up and leave as this is going to be a miserable job anyway if they are already being this anal about what they perceive to be the right way of doing something.

  10. Safeguard Personal Information Online. When requesting that a company send you information by mail, they don`t need your phone number or your e-mail address. So don`t volunteer it. For online forms where entry of data is required, simple put 000-00-0000 for your phone number and spam@nospam.com for your e-mail address. You may need to adjust this to evade the various filters put into place by websites seeking to compel people to provide information about themselves.

  11. Call the OneCall OptOut Number. Perhaps one of the most important calls you can make with regard to your personal privacy is to call the one call number to opt out of unsolicited credit offers. Calling this number will flag your credit bureau file at all three major credit bureaus to disallow companies from requesting your credit file without your permission for the supposed purpose of sending you a `firm offer of credit`, in the industry terms. The number to call is 1-888-567-8688 and you can also do this online at optoutprescreen.com. You can also contact the credit bureaus individually.

  12. Use Private Phone to Protect Privacy in Online Auctions. Make use of Private Phone numbers when dealing on eBay and other online auction sites. You can also use this number in other places where providing a phone number is required to help enhance your privacy and reduce annoyances.

  13. OptOut of the Databases of Many Online Data Vendors. Follow the handy instructions contained on this website to remove or restrict access to your information at most of the online data brokers.

ICWT hopes you have found this collection of resources helpful. Moreover, we hope that you`ll put them to use and start 2007 with a little more freedom and extra piece of mind. Protecting your privacy is not easy and requires you to expend a little bit of effort, time and money. But it is well worthwhile if it keeps you out of a concentration camp one day, now isn`t it?

newmath writes: most of us here have already taken measures to safeguard our privacy, but it pays to be vigilant.

Offline Proemio

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Re: 13 Easy Ways to Safeguard Your Privacy in 2007
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2007, 04:06:28 PM »
Add:
Unless your job requires you to be "on call" at all times - like working for Homeland Security - get rid of that voluntary CHIP called a cellphone or other wireless whatchamacallit. You don't really really need it. You may even find you don't need that Prozac either.

Buy a ca. 1990 car and lovingly restore it. You'll eliminate another voluntary CHIP, tho this one is harder - you will definitely miss the 16 airbags...

Offline NewMath

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Re: 13 Easy Ways to Safeguard Your Privacy in 2007
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2007, 04:27:12 PM »
i drive a 1979 ford pickup truck.
its in good shape; i should be able to keep it on the road for years, if not decades.

i do not own a cell phone.
i do not have a bank account.
i cut up all my credit cards years ago.
(not even an 'emergency' canard, er, card)

this laptop is really my last remaining connection with 'the grid'.


Offline Proemio

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Re: 13 Easy Ways to Safeguard Your Privacy in 2007
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2007, 05:16:56 PM »
You obviously know your Math ;)