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The Piracy of Privacy - The Looting of Privacy in America

Privacy Lost (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
By Hector Cisneros

In case you haven't noticed, personal privacy, for the most part, does not exist anymore. Most large retail businesses have full surveillance systems. The highways and roads are replete with traffic cameras. Satellites watch all of our streets; our government is recording and storing our emails, texts, and phone conversations; and criminals are having a hack-a-thon on our computers and smart devices for fun and ill-gotten gains. Heck, if you have a smart watch on, Google knows when you go to the bathroom! In the book, and then movie, “Minority Report.” by Philip K. Dick and the popular science fiction TV show, “Continuum,” created by Simon Barry both forecast a world where government and business combine to produce a society where many freedoms and privacy issues are expensed in the name of the greater good. Unfortunately, the greater good is defined by a union of few powerful government officials, politicians and rich corporate executives.

The Beginnings of Pre-Crime Tech is already here!

Cover of
Cover of Minority Report [Blu-ray]
Far-fetched you say? In the “Minority Report,” a technology that predicts when a crime is about to happen, signals and alarm and issues arrest warrants for people to be booked for pre-crime events… without the events ever happening! In Barry’s “Continuum,” a government/corporate police state regulates everything and controls all sales. You work to pay off your life debt; and every building, street and electronic device is monitored and connected to the state’s computer surveillance systems.

Today our government is funding research and experimenting with computer systems that provide pre-crime perdition based on prior crimes having taken place in specific areas. The
se same programs are used to profile terrorists and criminals as well. The police then use these “forecasts” to schedule patrols and resources. This seems fine on the surface, but this is a slippery slope and God forbid you happen to be in the wrong place and match some profile of criminals and crimes that haven’t been committed yet. 

Get Some Freedom and Privacy Back

So, what can the average person do to get some of their freedoms and privacy back? How can the average person make any headway against a government bent on knowing everything about everyone? How can a simple citizen fight against the big corporations that want us 
addicted to their products? How will we stand against the criminal syndicates fixed on stealing our personal information and assets? If you’re sick and tired of the government, big businesses and criminals hacking your life, read on and learn what you can do now to reel against the machine and turn the tides against a world bent on fulfilling a 1984 reality.

Why Has This Happened?

John Underkoffler explains the human-computer ...
John Underkoffler explains the human-computer interface he first designed as part of the advisory work for the film Minority Report. The system, called "g-speak", is now real and working. Note the gloves Underkoffler is wearing. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Why have we lost most our privacy? Is it because 9-11 or because we value safety more or because we trust our government more? Is it because big business provides us with free stuff (like Google), or is it because we’re just ignorant or maybe just plain lazy? The whole loss of privacy slide started with the Bolshevik Revolution and continued through World War I, World War II, and the various wars we seen over the last 90+ years. War has given rise to spying, wiretaps and a multitude of surveillance inventions designed to keep track on the other side. This has slowly bled over into spying on possible treats within our own country. Then it moved to spying on all of us!

This spying has now escalated because it much easier spy on people using the Internet. When people use their computers and smart devices to share their lives on social networks and correspond with emails, they don’t realize that the corporations who own these networks must, by law, share your personal information with our government. They also share your information with their advertisers and corporate partners in order to sell you their products.

What Social Savvy Criminals Are Doing

The November Criminals
The November Criminals
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Adding insult to injury, hackers and socially savvy criminals can track your movements by just reading your current social posts on any of the social sites. Our streets and highways have many surveillance cameras and businesses also have many cameras pointed both at the street and inside the business. Sometime the intrusiveness is a mistake like when target sent a babe products catalog to an expecting mother based on here shopping habit. However the mother wasn’t married and her father received the catalog. The label on the catalog congratulated the expecting mother (unwed teenage) on her pregnancy!  Oops!  Add this type of problem to the fact that corporation are increasingly gathering personal information on its customers, including financial information and you have a time bomb waiting to go off. Hacker know this all too well and it has led to many huge breaches of security and data thief.

Again, all of these items ― with the exception of criminal hacking ― can be used for good. But abusive bureaucrats, bad politicians and greedy corporations are increasingly common and they’ve already proven they’re ready to abuse this power. If the American public doesn’t rebuff those in power for these abuses, they will continue to lose more rights and freedoms.

What Can We Do!

So what can you do? To start with, stop sitting on the sidelines while passively letting your freedoms and privacy rights get erased without contending for them. Do research, get current and educate yourself. Write your congressmen and senators and tell them you want the government to stop gathering vast amounts of public emails, texts and phone calls without cause. Ask them to pass laws that prohibit corporations from owning your personal data that you’re sharing with your friends. The law should allow an individual to remove any and all data that they’ve posted on social networks or other sites. Small business should be able to dispute anonymous posts defaming their businesses. 
Comodo Dragon (web browser)
Comodo Dragon (web browser) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You can vote with your pocketbook, too. Choose to use Internet providers that are fighting against the government demands to fork over all your data. Write your service provider asking them to stop providing this data illegally. Don’t like Google Chrome tracking all your moves? Use Comodo Dragon Internet Browser or other browsers that don’t track your every move. Don’t like Google Search tracking you and selling your information to advertisers? Try DuckDuckGo for your search engine needs. They don’t track your every move.

Don’t download free smartphone apps as virtually 99.999% of all free apps track and sell your information in some way. Buy only the apps you really want and only if they don’t track or share your information. Buy software that implements anti-tracking capabilities. This includes using anti-malware for your all smart devices, especially your smartphones. Encrypt your emails so that others can’t read them. A simple search in DuckDuckGo will provide you with dozens of article and sites that provide PGP encryption, (a.k.a., pretty good privacy) for your emails. Many antivirus software companies such as Norton and Trend also provide these types of encryption packages.

Check Out the New Smart Phone That are Untraceable!

Curtesy of
You can even buy a smartphone that was designed from the ground up with protecting your privacy. Check out the Black Phone and Silent Circles software; these have all the high-tech security features a person would want. I’m sure every Black Hat Hacker is scrambling to figure out a way to compromise this device, but I’m also sure the Black Phone and Silent Circles are implementing counter measures to thwart their plans. Currently, the Black Phone and the Blackberry are the most secure smart phones available. It’s no doubt this new phone is just a sign of more such devices to come.

Make sure you protect all your smart devices with anti-malware/antivirus software. This includes all the so-called smart devices that are part of “Internet of things.” Such devices as computers, tablets, Smart TVs, refrigerators, smart watches, smart clothing, medical devices and much more. A recent article in Mashable reported,“70 Percent of Internet of Things Devices Are Vulnerable to Hacking, Study Says.” This includes all the increasingly popular items including activity monitors, watches, smart phones and more. Another article by Brian Donohue, posted on, discusses how “Connected Medical Devices Simultaneously Increase Risk and Safety” of its users because they are vulnerable to hacking.

To summarize all the things I’ve been talking about so far, here are a dozen items that can make a difference if you just stay vigilant. Remember, freedom isn’t free. A lot of people fought and died in order to establish what we have, I mean had. And privacy only exists if we demand that government and businesses stop eroding it. Demand that law enforcement prosecutes cybercriminal who insist on stealing our information.

Follow these 12 rules and things will get better:

  1. Make choices that protect your privacy.
  2. Read, learn and study about how surveillance is carried out and who is doing it.
  3. Buy products that protect your privacy.
  4. Shop at places that respect your privacy.
  5. Use a browser that does not snoop on you.
  6. Use email that is encrypted.
  7. Make sure your smart devices (computers, tablets, smart phone, etc.) have anti-malware/virus protection running all the time.
  8. Write your congresspersons and senators, asking them to stop spying on U.S. citizens without cause.
  9. Write retail outlets and express your disgust with their surveillance tactics.
  10. Vote socially by posting, share and expose privacy abuses by governments, Internet companies, retailers, corporations and social networks.
  11. Visit the FBI and other law enforcement websites regularly to look for imminent threats.
  12. Share posts and articles you read about surveillance and privacy abuses with as many people as you can.

In this article, I discussed the looting of privacy in America. I discussed how we’ve reached this state of affairs and who the pirates are that are doing stealing. I also provided a dozen ways you can protect and increase your privacy along with details on products and companies you can turn to for help. The bottom line is, it's our duty as Americans who care about our freedom and right to privacy, need to be vigilant of abuses. We need to aggressively demand that our government respect our privacy, and that the businesses we patronize don’t abuse our loyalties. We must demand that law enforcement aggressively prosecutes cyber criminals who are constantly hacking the system for personal gain.

If you’d like to find more articles like this, read, “Trick or Tweet? The Vulnerabilities Inherent
to Twitter and All Social Networks” and “Big Data Comes Wrapped in Big Danger” or enter the words “Hacking or Privacy” in the search box at the top of this blog. If you found this article useful, please share it with friends, family, co-workers and associates. If you have something to add or have a difference of opinion, place them in the Comments section.  It’s been my pleasure sharing this information with you.

That's my opinion; I look forward to hearing yours.

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Hector Cisneros is a partner, COO and Social Media Director for the award-winning, Internet-based marketing firm, Working the Web to Win, in Jacksonville, FL. You can connect with him on TwitterFacebookGoogle+,  LinkedIn,  and YouTube.  He’s also the co-host of BlogTalkRadio’s “Working the Web to Win,” where he and Working the Web to Win’s co-founder, Carl Weiss, make working the web to win simple for every business. Additionally, Hector is a syndicated writer on EzineOnline and is an active blogger (including ghost writing). He's a published author of two books, "60 Seconds to Success"(available at Amazon and B&N), and "Internet Marketing for the 21st Century," which you can get by filling out the form above. He’s also the co-author of the new book, “Working The Web to Win,” which is now available on

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