Ten ways to keep your privacy and anonyminity

Many people believe I'm paranoid, but I believe there is no wrongdoing in wanting to keep your privacy and remain a private person. Of course, with a popular website such as this I'm hardly in hiding, but at least information here is freely volunteered, unlike some of the draconian National Identity Databases the government is trying to introduce, which will be insecure, expensive and prone to errors.

I don't necessarily adhere to all the following rules myself, but I've provided them as a guideline to thinking about privacy and how you can keep hold of it. Once freedom and privacy have been lost, they're an awful lot harder to win back. Therefore we should fight to keep them safe in the first place.

1. Shred anything with your name on it

This is an easy one, and cheap too. It will help you prevent identity fraud and unauthorised people stealing information that can identify you.

Every day you probably receive identifying material through the letterbox, whether it's a letter from the bank or unsolicited 'junk mail' offering you credit card deals or loans. Each piece of this paper has important information on it which could be exploited by someone stealing it from your waste bin.

I would advise buying a cheap paper shredder from your local home DIY store or office supplier. Buy a cross-shred one, which turns paper into confetti rather than just cutting into long strips, as these types are more secure. Place it by your bin or somewhere convenient and ensure that you shread anything that has your name and address on it. If someone sends you junk mail offering a car loan, you can chuck the glossy fliers in the bin, but the accompanying letter should be shredded.

2. Pay off debt and cancel credit cards

This could be tricky for many people because modern life is centred around credit and spending on store cards etc. However, the benefits of this point are two-fold. If you pay off all your credit cards you won't be in debt and thus 'locked into the system', so you will feel more positive with no debts looming over you. Secondly, there will be no trail of credit card transactions to trace your whereabouts or spending habits.

For example, would you really want the authorities to know if you got the train to London, then hired a car and drove to Birmingham, filling up at the services on the way? If you pay for these things by credit card, your exact journey is stored and logged on a database system somewhere. If you pay by cash, there'll be no database trail giving away your position or spending.

You also won't be bugged by targetted advertising whereby retailers can target you for more junk mail based on what you previously bought on your credit card. However, sticking rigidly to this point, can prevent you from ordering things online (in itself not a bad thing if you're really paranoid)

3. Don't visit ATMs when away from home

For the reasons given above, you shouldn't really visit cashpoint machines when away from home. Immediately the bank (and anyone they reveal their database to) can tell which town you were in on a particular day. If you're going anywhere, it's best to calculate how much cash you require and take it out at a local cashpoint machine. That way no one can prove that you weren't at home all day and you can have a peaceful time at the beach or browsing shops in London etc.

4. Fill the car up before you go anywhere

For the same reason above, fill the car up with petrol before you leave home (assuming you're driiving somewhere within range of going and returning on a single tank of fuel). This way no one will know that you stopped at XYZ services in order to fill up.

5. Get utility bills sent to "the occupier"

More tricky this one, unless you move or remember to do it consistently as soon as you move to a new house or flat. As long as you pay all your bills regularly, you should be able to have utility bills send to the house without providing a name. Of course, many utility companies give a hard sell to get your identity and information. However, as long as you pay the bill promptly and the utility company receive their payment, it shouldn't matter who's actually living in the house or paying it on your behalf.

6. Be healthy

Don't go to a doctor or dentist. I know this particular point may be impossible for a number of people, especially if you have a long term medical condition. However, I've not visited a doctor since I was eight, and I'm now no longer registered with any doctor or dentist's surgery. Any records they have of me will have a thirty year old address and probably say I've just had mumps or something.

If you keep healthy (which I believe is a state of mind anyway) then there is no reason to register your whereabouts or sign up with a local doctor. And of course, these days the government is seeking to destroy even the sacrosanct doctor/patient confidentiality.

Click here to support the Big Opt Out campaign.

7. Be observant. Avoid CCTVs

More and more CCTVs are turning the UK into a surveillance state and people don't seem to object, being gullibly fooled by government spin of "reducing crime" or "making the place safer". Sure, people up to no good should be caught and punished - but crime levels seem to be forever going up, not down and at the end of the day it's usually innocent people who wish to go about their business in private that are penalised.

The government seem to be slowly manipulating public opinion in this country so that people are fooled into thinking that if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. This is the wrong way of thinking and it's this mentality which will allow the government to succeed in turning the country into a surveillance controlled police state.

I have nothing to hide - but I still want to go about my everyday, law-abiding activities in peace and without the cloud of suspicion leading to guilty until proven innocent. Thousands of people across the country also believe in this - but often government fear and spin frighten people into conforming. The government wants a world of Mr Snaffleburgers

For this reason I still cross the road or take an alternative route whenever I spot a CCTV in the street. Perhaps it's time to turn into a hoodie or wear a niqab?

8. Don't order things online

This is is pretty dependent on point 2 above, but if you don't buy things online, there'll be no papertrail leading back to you and what you've been purchasing. Also, a great many online retailers are not security conscious enough not to pass on your email address to other companies, so registering on websites and giving out your email address can lead to an increase in spam or unsolicited junk mail.

An alternative method would be to club together with a few friends who also want to purchase something and then place a combined order. That way any statistics gathered by the reseller on your buying habits will be inaccurate and also you can make online purchases yet still remain anonymous.

9. Use a maildrop address

If you have a friend willing to accept parcels and items of post on your behalf, then you should use a different address to your own for ordering products and anything which may require a postal address for anything to be sent to.

A maildrop address will ensure that you can receive items of post but not reveal your actual postal address. Don't be fooled into believing PO Boxes are anonymous though. Anyone can ask the post office to reveal the actual address, which they will do so on request.

10. Don't use a mobile phone

Mobile phones can be used to track your position, so if you're going away for the weekend, it's best to physically turn them off. Only use a phone in an emergency. Alternatively, buy a pay-as-you-go (PAYG) phone and keep it totally anonymous, although I'd still recommend keeping it turned off and only turn it on in the case of emergency.

Think 'privacy' and keep hold of it

Some of these points may seem overly paranoid, but hopefully they will cause you to stop and think more carefully about security and privacy issues. It's no good locking the stable door after the horse has bolted, so you need to carefully consider privacy issues and how they affect you. You can then put into place an effective security policy before you actually need to use it.

Privacy needs to be ensured on a fulltime basis, not part-time.

(see also reasons to refuse National ID cards and reasons to boycott Chip 'n' Pin Cards)

No 2 ID Cards

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Last edit: 10th Apr 2016 at 1:55pm
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