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Now What? Protecting Online Privacy in An Age of Paranoia

10 Tools to Reclaim Your Privacy and Personal Space

Privacy is on everyone’s minds these days. Whether you’re concerned about surveillance by government authorities, data breaches by hackers, or being tracked by your Internet Service Provider (given the legislation that passed in the House last week and was signed into law by the President today), there are plenty of well-publicized reasons to pay attention to personal safety and security online.

Some of us even worry that our privacy will be compromised by the people we love like our parents, our kids, even our significant others. In a January study by Pew Research Center, 49% of Americans reported feeling that their personal information is less secure than it was five years ago.

Everyone fears different types of intrusion — those that hit closer to home and impact our relationships or more abstract encroachments like the ones that impact our online experiences, personal security, and freedoms.

Since the Keepsafe team spends a lot of time thinking about digital privacy and security, we assembled a list of tools we use and can help protect personal privacy. We’ve also arranged them according to different scenarios that may apply to you.

Worried about friends or family seeing photos or texts that they aren’t meant to? Then use:

iOS and Android apps that lock down and back up private photos, videos, and documents with PIN-code protection and military-grade encryption.

Android app for securing apps (like contacts, messaging, email and social media) with password-protected PIN code or fingerprint authentication on mobile phones.

Compose new messages and select “Secret” for sending private, encrypted messages that can be set to expire.

Worried about hackers, ad tracking, and identity theft? Check out:

Firefox, Chrome and Opera extensions that encrypt communications with major websites, making browsing more secure by rewriting requests to HTTPS.

Search engine that doesn’t track, store, or collect personal information so searches can’t be used for ad targeting and search history remains private.

Simple virtual private network (VPN) for iOS devices that with 14-day free trial to keep people’s information private and secure when connected to public WiFi.

Encrypted password manager that generates and stores strong passwords; accessible via master password, browser extension and two-factor authentication.

Chrome extension that warns of phishing attempts and notifies people (and Google for Work admins) if a Google account login was used on another website.

Concerned about government surveillance? Try:

Private cloud service with end-to-end encryption and automated sync for all devices that enables collaboration and meets data-privacy compliance.

Encrypted email service with slick, modern email editor located and operating out of neutral, privacy-stringent Switzerland.

Community-supported and Edward Snowden recommended iOS and Android apps for encrypted messaging, voice and video calls.

Protecting our digital privacy should be as simple as protecting our physical privacy. When you take control of your privacy, you benefit from newfound freedom to explore, observe, and communicate in the world unhindered. Take the first step in letting the world know that your privacy is important to you by using the privacy-first apps and extensions described above. Protect yourself, put your mind at ease, and build a private world for the future.

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