Privacy Blog

"Friends don’t let friends get spied on.' – Richard Stallman, President of the Free Software Foundation and longtime advocate of privacy in technology.

If You Have Something to Hide, Make Sure You Hide It!

A recent article in the U.Today web site tells of the experience of a Norwegian billionaire who openly bragged to friends that he owned $11 million worth of Bitcoin. Unfortunately, too many people heard about the Norwegian’s investment success. The man soon jumped off his balcony to escape from a home invader who threatened him with a shotgun.

The criminal was going to lay his hands on the billionaire’s $11 million worth of Bitcoin.

OK, I have written before numerous times about the need for encryption and other electronic means of privacy. However, those are secondary solutions. If you have anything to hide, Rule #1 should be:

Keep your mouth shut!

An extension of Rule #1 is to keep your electronic mouth also shut. That is, remember that email, telephones, text messages, and other forms of electronic communications are simply extensions of your own voice. Also, you cannot always control where your words will be distributed. Your bragging about personal wealth or any other form of success can reach thieves, con artists, murderers, and government agents alike. The risk includes non-communications items as well, including bank statements, tax records, credit card bills, or even the fact that you have an expensive automobile parked in the garage of your expensive home.

Too many times I have heard otherwise reasonable people claim: “I don’t need to use encryption because I have nothing to hide.” How about your safety and the safety of your loved ones? The more personal information you divulge, the greater the risk that some evil-doer will use that information for purposes you do not approve of. It might be for reasons as simple as stealing from your checking account or credit card account, or it might be for attempted murder during a robbery. In the case of the Norwegian billionaire, the result was his staring down the barrel of a shotgun, followed by jumping off a balcony.

And you think you have nothing to hide? You always need privacy even for things worth a lot less than $11 million! Whatever the reason, you always have multiple reasons to hide your personal information, activities, and whereabouts.

Let’s review the three major rules of personal privacy and security:

  1. Keep your mouth shut!
  2. Encrypt everything in your life.
  3. Keep a low profile.

After all, this is YOUR personal safety we are talking about and the personal safety of your loved ones.

Categories: Offline Privacy & Security, Online Privacy & Security

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