How to Protect Yourself Against Online Spying

Privacy is important when you want it. Here are some steps you can take to keep yourself safe from prying eyes on the web.

Stever Robbins
5-minute read
Episode #271

How to Protect Yourself Against Online SpyingToday we’re going to be conspiracy theorists.

Shh! Don’t tell anyone, but the National Security Agency has been collecting cell phone data on millions of Americans without having warrants.

Privacy is Important

When I first heard this, I thought, “I have nothing to hide, so why should I care about online privacy?” Then I realized my idea of “nothing to hide” and someone else’s may be very different. Oreo ice cream cake? Nothing to be ashamed of. But when someone broadcasts a picture of my Oreo ice cream cake on a blog in Tunisakstan, I could find myself on Tunisakstanian news as public enemy #1, if they’ve outlawed ice cream cake.

(I’m not joking, by the way. Something similar really happened. I’d give details but the Tunisakstanians would go after me next.)

But privacy isn’t just about breaking the law; privacy is a basic part of being human. I change my clothes in private because I don’t want people to see and become traumatized with jealousy at my manly-man body. Also, I’m horribly shy and have body issues. My therapist and I are working on it..

I also want my medical records private. And discussions with my doctor. And accountant. And lawyer. And therapist. I know women who have had job offers withdrawn when they revealed they were pregnant. I know people who have been turned down for jobs because of medical conditions that made the employer nervous. Some data should not be public. Honestly, it’s just no one else’s business.

And besides, without privacy, I’ll start worrying more and more about what I say, even in social situations. No privacy has a chilling effect on free speech.

Privacy is important stuff. Let’s find out what to do about it.


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.