Netflix recently released The Great Hack, a new documentary about the way data tracking and targeting takes the information we generate and then gives big companies like Facebook and Google a way to sell us as products to the highest bidder.
The film uses the Cambridge Analytica scandal as a framework to show how data mining practices are affecting our individual freedoms and our global society around the world.
The Great Hack leads many of us be worried about protecting ourselves from the next Facebook-Cambridgeian style affair or even worse, a large-scale data attack from a rouge nation or terorist organization.
What can you do? Delete Facebook? Maybe, but Google and other big companies aren’t much better. Quit the internet? That’s just not very practical.
The best tool to have is a 100% security-first and privacy-first mindset. Always having this mindset includes paying attention to, and also taking action on these important items:
- Keep as much info away from prying eyes as possible.
- Use a password manager app.
- Don’t share too much personal info on social media.
- Stop taking any and all personality tests online.
- Use incognito mode browser tabs.
- Don’t ever sign into sites and services using the “sign in with…” features of Facebook and Google.
- Use ad blockers.
- Use do-not-track settings.
- Keep all operating systems and apps up to date.
- Use a VPN (or something better than a VPN like a DNS-based content filter) all the time on every device you own.
- Don’t ever get phone apps from shady third-party app stores.
- Don’t ever click on links that anyone (even friends) send you in SMS/Text messages. This is called SMSishing and is becoming quite a big problem.
This all can be overwhelming, but protecting yourself certainly is possible and will go a long way towards protecting you.
Some companies and groups are making true privacy and security more attainable by combining new forms of tech in easy-to-use packages and bundles so you don’t have to figure it out on your own.
In the podcast below, Recode’s Kara Swisher talks with former Cambridge Analytica COO Julian Wheatland, early Facebook investor Roger McNamee, and the director and writer of the new Netflix documentary The Great Hack — Karim Amer and Pedro Kos.
Also on an interesting side note, Cambridge Analytica’s Brittany Kaiser in the film states how how data surpassed oil in value last year.
This fact alone give viewers insight into how the sheer scale of this topic is going to exponentially explode over the coming years. It’s going to get worse and NOT better just because Facebook recently got fined $5 billion.
Think Cambridge Analytica, Facebook, political campaigns, or getting your contact list hacked are bad?
If data is the new oil, then how long will it be before an actual war breaks out between nations over this new form of currency and value?