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TheStreet Open House

Ideas For Keeping You Data Safe From Spying

Originally developed by the U.S. military, TOR is believed to work pretty well if you want to hide your traffic from, let's say, eavesdropping by your local Internet service provider. And criminals' use of TOR has so frustrated Japanese police that experts there recently recommended restricting its use. But it's worth noting that TOR may be ineffective against governments equipped with the powers of global surveillance.

Disadvantages: Browsing the web with TOR can be painfully slow. And some services â¿¿ like file swapping protocols used by many Internet users to share videos and music â¿¿ aren't compatible.

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DITCH THE PHONE

Your everyday cellphone has all kinds of privacy problems. In Britain, cellphone safety was so poor that crooked journalists made a cottage industry out of eavesdropping on their victims' voicemails. In general, proprietary software, lousy encryption, hard-to-delete data and other security issues make a cellphone a bad bet for storing information you'd rather not share.

An even bigger issue is that cellphones almost always follow their owners around, carefully logging the location of every call, something which could effectively give governments a daily digest of your everyday life. Security researcher Jacob Appelbaum has described cellphones as tracking devices that also happen to make phone calls. If you're not happy with the idea of an intelligence agency following your footsteps across town, leave the phone at home.

Disadvantages: Not having a cellphone handy when you really need it. Other alternatives, like using "burner" phones paid for anonymously and discarded after use, rapidly become expensive.

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CUT UP YOUR CREDIT CARDS

The Wall Street Journal says the NSA is monitoring American credit card records in addition to phone calls. Some cybercriminals can use the same methods. So stick to cash, or, if you're more adventurous, use electronic currencies to move your money around if you want total privacy.

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