The Washington Post published new revelations from Edward Snowden’s leaked documents that revealed that the NSA is scooping up millions of email and IM address books globally. This is a serious piece of snooping business, and it deserves immediate attention on a policy level. For people who are reading this and wondering what you can do today, right now, here are some immediate steps to take.
Today the World Privacy Forum published the first of a series of new tips for users of Facebook, Facebook Privacy FAQs. “We are publishing online privacy tips for Facebook users in bite-size pieces so people can decipher the complex Facebook privacy settings and make meaningful changes and choices,” said Pam Dixon. “We are finding that too many consumers are confused about what the choices mean and how to make them.”
Facebook gives you the option to use use secure browsing when a secure connection is available. This is a security option that all Facebook users should use. It is a no-brainer to say yes to. Facebook has turned this option on by default, but the rollout for this option may not have reached your area. Also, there may be some country-level differences. It is worth taking a few steps to make sure turn this option is on. It is well worth it, and we highly recommend it for all users.
We have updated our much-visited Search Engine Privacy Tips in light of recent events surrounding online privacy. First, search engine encryption has become much more important for a number of reasons, which we discuss in the revised tips. Several search engines are now using encryption by default, including Google, DuckDuckGo and others. Additionally, WPF has been receiving reports from consumers about “fake” search engines containing viruses. Our new tipsheet has been refreshed to reflect these recent trends and issues.
Many people have told us that they think opting out is confusing. We agree. Opting out can range from the not-too-difficult (the FTC’s Do Not Call list is a fairly simple opt out) to the challenging (the National Advertising Initiative opt out can be tricky). Our hope is that this list will clarify which opt out does what, and how to go about opting out.