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The NSA May Not Change, But You Can

The more we learn about the NSA’s domestic surveillance program, two things are clear: we are all being watched, and there is no shortage of people willing to expound on that point.

First, kudos to the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald for breaking the news and to the Washington Post for a thorough job of following the story as it unfolds. There’s no shortage of technical, political, and other analysis of the disclosure’s implications.

But for all the folks out there who now feel compelled to write privacy’s obituary, you’re nearly fifteen years too late. Scott McNealy’s infamous “You have zero privacy anyway” rant covered that declaration nicely, and did so long before the social media revolution enticed us to voluntarily over-share.

Big Brother is watching you. And so is everyone else.

Can we all agree that, besides Big Brother, our valuable information and intellectual property are under constant threat from accidental and intentional disclosure? Even if you are among those who believe that Edward Snowden’s desire to see his actions force a change in government policy was futile, we can still change our own behavior. In order to do that we must not look back at the obvious and wring our hands, but think about what this new knowledge means and how we can better protect ourselves from digital eavesdropping.

Be aware of what you are doing whenever you are online. That includes email. Think twice and double-check before you post or send. A moment’s pause might save you a major headache.

Is it necessary for everyone on your distribution list to see what you’re sending? It has become almost reflexive to “reply all” on email, or to copy additional recipients as an FYI (or CYA). Depending on what you’ve attached to that email, you may regret the decision later on.

Is it possible to protect the document you’re sending? If so, take a moment or two to do just that. Even if every one of you recipients needs to see what you’re sending, you have no control over who or how they will decide what to do with your email.

The good news is that protecting you information will soon be a simple process, thanks to HoGo.

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