I have a large, fixed picture window at the front of my apartment; while it has blinds, whenever they are open passerby can see right in, as it is at street level. At night someone close enough can catch a glimpse of what's going on inside even with the blinds closed, as the living room and kitchen are right there! What would keep passerby from looking in, without making the room too dark?
I'm in a situation where I'd (A) like to keep my personal info and donation amounts from being a matter of public record, and (B) identify good organizations I can keep donating to, even after this election cycle is over. I'm a US citizen. So, putting political candidates' campaigns and PACs aside, what other organizations will help with any of the following? [more inside]
I don't like the amount of access to my (Android) phone most social media apps want, so I mostly use sites like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, etc. through a browser, which greatly reduces their access to my identity and personal data. But the user interface for a mobile website usually sucks compared with a dedicated app. Is there a better way? Are there any good 3rd-party apps for accessing these social media sites that don't demand access to my entire phone?
I'm in a new place, and my daughter just pushed the privacy lock on the bathroom door before closing it (she is outside the bathroom, thankfully). With most of these knobs you can just push something through the hole to pop it, but that is not working. There are no keys over the doorframe. There are no exposed screws on this side of the knob. The door hinges are on the other side of the door. Please help! [more inside]
I'm trying to figure out how to share photos of my child with friends and relatives. I have a vague sense that posting photos to Facebook is a privacy violation, but I'll admit I don't exactly understand how. And I don't have a better idea. Do you? [more inside]
HR (Human Resources) group at work used email to send personal information (in the form of screenshots). The screenshots don't answer my specific questions. It seems they were sent in more of a dismissive gesture. This violates my sense of privacy and trust. It seems every time I correspond with HR it's a negative experience. [more inside]
To the law people out there: I work for a small company that recently signed up with a new health insurance company. For various reasons I declined the coverage, but I am getting bombarded by requests for personal information. Here's the actual latest message that I received after I informed them that I do not wish to participate: Hi C13, For any employees at Small Company to get health insurance, you need to complete your application. All employees must complete an application, regardless of whether accepting or waiving coverage. [more inside]
Hello, all. Anybody who knows me will tell you, I am all about privacy. I'm an American, I want my privacy, and I want to come and go as I please, without feeling I'm being tracked by anyone. So, as a general technology inquiry, I would like to ask you, what would a persons options be if they wished to download a torrent file without sharing a single bit? [more inside]
I am a sex worker (legal). I got a google voice number to mask my real number, so that I can still be reached on my regular cell but its number will not be known. I am on a family plan and am wondering, if I answer an incoming call that was patched through the google voice number, will my google voice cover number show up on the billing statement? I don't make outgoing calls with it. It is paramount for what I do to be discreet to the others on the family plan.
I don't celebrate my birthday. and don't publish it on FB. I don't wish others happy birthday on FB, in order not to draw attention to this. I have a very large number of FB contacts. [more inside]
Bandwidth is good yet browsing is laggy. How do I test DNS lookup lag, http lag? With a fresh phone things get slow as soon as I browse a xkeyscore site like gmail or click a muslim related link in Facebook. Am I being paranoid - can that really slow down browsing somehow? How do I test for this to see if I'm imagining it or not? Many times when I visit a new place I connect to a new network and people start complaining how their internet has started running slow... but I have my phone in offline mode and sometimes no other changes have happened to the network. It happens as soon as I arrive anywhere. It's like it's following me around. At first I ignored it but now it's annoying. I travel a lot so I can say I've seen it happen 20-30 times - of these at least 5-10 times there was no other variable involved. [more inside]
A major telecom corporation is allowing people to sign up for service without validating ownership of the contact email address. They ended up handing me the keys to someone else's kingdom. Their fraud prevention contact refused to take any action. This is bad policy. Who do I tell to get some public pressure on them to change? [more inside]
Can a EU company legally refuse to delete U.S. customer's data unless the customer's U.S.-based passport/identification is sent overseas to that foreign entity within the EU? I am aware the data pact protects this only in reverse, but that doesn't help me as I am a U.S. citizen.
I want to set up a social network for me and ~10 other people. [more inside]
My sibling suffers from serious mental illness. At what point, and in what circumstances, is it okay for me to reveal this to people? (Sorry, this is long.) [more inside]
It seems like it's now a yearly-based subscription service. I'm wondering how much data my computer sends to their services from my browser and hard drive. [more inside]
My partner often comes up to me and starts talking no matter what I'm doing - reading a book, writing, working on a drawing. He doesn't wait until I make eye contact or acknowledge him - he just starts talking. This means that when I'm concentrating on something I'm frequently interrupted. Is there a way for me to remain physically present and available for occasional conversation while signalling that I am busy and don't wish to be constantly interrupted? [more inside]
I would like my medical records held by a private general practice destroyed. I am in Queensland, Australia. How can I do this? Is it possible? There are no insurance issues and I am in complete charge of my own legal affairs and a private citizen.
I am a member, not an admin of a Facebook group for support in dealing with, and recovery from abuse. It has 1000+ members and a small team of admins. For well over a year the group has been “Secret” which means that the member list is not public. No one who is not a member of the group can see that someone is a member. The admins have announced that within a week they will change the group from Secret to Closed. With this change, anyone can see the full member list. [more inside]
Do I need to be on Instagram/Snapchat/Facebook to stay relevant? [more inside]
I try to protect my privacy online. I'm thinking of getting an iPhone. Please recommend resources on protecting privacy while not pointlessly depriving myself of functionality. [more inside]
I've had loose change move or disappear in the last few weeks, and some of the items on my desk have seemed to have been moved or shuffled through. I'm seeking recommendations for smaller webcams that I could use to monitor my personal space. [more inside]
Is there a way for me to blog under my real name and still avoid exposing myself to stalking, doxxing, threats, and harassment? [more inside]
For the sake of relationship harmony I've created a Facebook profile. How can I use Facebook without having it become an intrustive and hateful thing in my life? [more inside]
Here are a couple of photos taken from inside our bathroom. I'm afraid I might seem paranoid, but we've been having an ongoing dispute with the neighbors who placed it there (which recently culminated in being forced to file a restraining order). Someone suggested it might be some kind of carbon monoxide or VOC detector, since they had accused us of letting smoke waft onto their property. But the window has remained closed thus so far, and there's something inside of it that glints like a camera lens when the light hits it just right.
We've recently started using an online application system at the company I work for and we're trying to set things up fairly so that some hired employees (e.g., in an admin, management, or HR role) can review unsuccessful candidates' and new applicants' files. Are there any protections we should put in place (legally or otherwise) so that new hires or other employees in these privileged roles cannot see the notes on their own applications, the applications and notes of their hiring competition, or applications and notes of fellow new hires? General advice welcome as well, e.g., if there are any potential use cases or other reasons as to why or why not this would be a good idea. We have the ability to fully customise the online application system as we wish. This is in the UK.
I'm a male in my late twenties and I consider myself straight. I'm not interested in men or dating a man, and have always had relationships with women. I dated a trans woman for two and a half years. (I'm loathe to specify the 'trans' and to feel like I have to assert that I'm straight but it's relevant to my question.) I'm now not sure about whether to disclose this to my current girlfriend. [more inside]
I don't have a Facebook profile. I'm looking for 101-style resources that I can point people towards instead of fumbling through an explanation repeatedly. [more inside]
I got tracked down on facebook by a real creep that scared me a lot in real life... he knew where I was etc. So about a year ago I deactivated my account, and I really haven't missed it. Now I want to delete it permanently, but when I go to put in my password it says incorrect. I have done this about 5 times on different days and... [more inside]
Super creeped out how a guy who only had my first name, cell phone number not billed to my address, town I live in, and birth year could have discovered my mailing address. Help me protect my privacy better in the future! [more inside]
Maciej Cegłowski recently gave a talk called What Will Happen Next Will Surprise You that was discussed here on the blue. In it, he outlines an idea I'm ready to help push forward: a Creative Commons-inspired way of saying "My company doesn't store personally identifiable data" or "My company has a true delete" and other similar things. We can debate the enforceability of this stuff later - my short term questions for now are "Is anyone doing this?" and if not, "Who's in?"
I am on the membership committee of my church, and once a week we get a report, complete with full names/emails if provided, of visitors who've signed in. Often, this make them easy to find on Facebook. Sometimes they share mutual friends with me or other members on the committee. Lots of other committees get that email also. My question is: would you find it creepy if someone from a church you visited sent you a FB friend request afterwards? [more inside]
[FictionFilter] In the era of doxxing and all that, is it possible for a tech person with a high-profile position to keep his personal info -- and real name and identity -- under wraps? [more inside]
I'm thinking of getting my genome sequenced by 23andme. However, I am not interested in a responsive, user-friendly experience. I want to get my raw data, upload it to Promethease, and also play around with it myself. I also have some privacy concerns, and am wary of the family/ancestry features. Help me think this through. [more inside]
So my email address is in the Ashley Madison hack. Not sure what to do, if anything. I am not married and never have been. I wasn't in a relationship when I signed up. In fact, I was just getting out of a relationship and I joined one night when I was feeling sad and lonely and I wanted to see what it was like. I thought AM was more for NSA relationships than specifically for cheaters. I'm a graduate student and I used my .edu address. This was really dumb, but I wasn't thinking straight at the time. So how worried should I be? [more inside]
Another (prev.) Facebook privacy/blocking question. An anomaly in FB blocking is that the blockee can see the total # likes and comments on the main page (including people who've blocked you), but the blockers likes/comments are not apparent within the post (so there's an obvious arithmetic disparity if you look closely). [more inside]
I am trying to compile any legislation that specifies where and how (geographically speaking) organizations may store data. Where can I find some? What should I search for? [more inside]
What is the safest (within reason) and most efficient way for me to get the data I want off of a bunch of old hard drives and then securely wipe them for recycling? [more inside]
Within the mystery of the Facebook algorithms, is it possible for me have two friends that I can interact with, Liking, Commenting, wall posting etc, but not have them aware of each other, receiving no notification of the other's existence, no suggested friends etc?
The last time I used facebook was five years ago. I 'deleted' that account back then. Now, I would like to set up a fresh facebook account, completely unrelated to that old one. What are the best privacy practices and settings in this day and age of facebook? [more inside]
I'm a very private person. I'm also pregnant, and starting to show, and having issues with the fact that I can't keep this as private as I normally would something like this. My main question is about when to tell people at work, but I'm also concerned about strangers and just people in general. [more inside]
I keep a journal. It contains my deepest, most private thoughts that no one knows, not even the people who are the most important and closest to me. What should I do now so that in the event that I die suddenly, nobody can get into it? [more inside]
Microsoft is creepy-crawling into and onto my shiny new WIN8.1 computers. Do I need to go linux to have some privacy? [more inside]
Partner lives and works in a rural area of the country. I have lived in cities all of my adult life. The area where he lives is beautiful, but services of all kinds are limited. It's also very conservative, and we are not. But due to circumstances to be explained, I've committed to living there for at least 3 years. Please give me your tips and suggestions for making rural life work so that I can continue to see this as an adventure and not something to resent! [more inside]
Parents keeping stuff from their doctor. I'm snitching. How do I address the letter? [more inside]
My parents are about to give me an embarrassing birthday gift. Help. [more inside]
I live in the back corner of an apartment building that borders on the backyards of multiple house-neighbors on the perpendicular side street to mine. The people opposite me have elementary-age children and let them stay in the yard for hours with minimal/no supervision. The children's friends come to visit and they all get a kick out of wreaking tiny havoc directly on the other side of my apartment. I am at a loss for nipping this in the bud. Help! [more inside]
Hi everybody. I'm not very computer literate, so please bear with me as I'm counting on your indulgence. For whatever reason, using Google Chrome as my default browser on my personal laptop (MacBook Pro, by the off-chance it matters) has resulted in a situation wherein my personal searches wind up on my "History" when I use Google Chrome at work (different computer). I most certainly never chose that. While I have nothing to hide per se, I don't appreciate this breach of privacy, and haven't been able to figure out how to undo that. If I have to simply stop using Google Chrome I'll do so, but is there another way? Thanks in advance.
A similar question to this one, w/ a different country context. How does one officially "refuse" their annual physical if the checkup and data sharing appears more mandatory than voluntary? [more inside]