Privacy invasion by state actors
We all want to protect our privacy as best we can. Unfortunately, several factors throw a spanner in the works. Your privacy is no longer self-evident. Cybercriminals are lurking all over the internet looking for as much information as possible about you. Privacy invasion by state actors also occurs in some countries.
What are State Actors?
As soon as you hear that there is a chance of privacy invasion by state actors, your first reaction is probably to want to protect yourself against this. But before going further into this, we first define what state actors are exactly.
- State actors are groups or individuals acting on behalf of the state. Think of government institutions, police officers or a part of the army.
- State actors perform various tasks. For example, they are deployed to protect national security, fight crime or enforce the law.
- State actors may invade your privacy. This depends on the situation and how you act.
- Most countries have laws and regulations in place that protect citizens’ privacy and determine how state actors may or may not act.
- State actors always make a trade-off between protecting the privacy of citizens and the need for the state to perform its tasks. Therefore, state actors must comply with the laws and regulations and be transparent about the information they collect and use.
Even though most countries have strict laws and regulations regarding the protection of citizens’ privacy, there are also countries in which state actors regularly colour outside the lines, and countries in which the privacy of citizens is barely protected. Therefore, always be on the lookout for privacy invasions by state actors.
How do state actors invade your privacy?
Privacy infringement by state actors is a fact. But what exactly do these state actors do that invade your privacy? There are multiple ways that state actors can invade your privacy. We mention a few:
- Surveillance: It happens that state actors spy on people. For example, they use cameras or telephone taps, but also internet monitoring, to keep track of exactly what someone is doing
- Collecting Personal Information: You may be facing a privacy breach by state actors if state actors collect personal information about you without your consent, such as your name, address, date of birth, and credit card information.
- Restricting freedom of expression: State actors can restrict the freedom of expression of individuals through, for example, censorship or banning certain groups or activities online. This can be an invasion of privacy if people are not free to express their opinions online. In the United Arab Emirates, for example, which includes Dubai and Abu Dhabi, censorship is very common.
- Hacking: State actors can break into your computers or accounts, or install malware on your devices. This can be an invasion of privacy if personal information or activities are intercepted or violated.
- Equal treatment: State actors can treat people unequally because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or nationality. This can be an invasion of privacy as people are treated unfairly online for no reason.
A privacy breach by state actors can therefore occur in all sorts of ways. It is good to remember that it differs per country. Some laws and regulations protect citizens’ privacy and govern how state actors are allowed to act, both offline and online.
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Examples of a privacy breach by state actors
We mustn’t forget examples of privacy invasions by state actors. There have been quite a few major scandals in the past that have had a lot of influence on people’s privacy. You too may have been the victim of one of these attacks.
- NSA PRISM Program (United States): In 2013, Edward Snowden revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) had a program called PRISM that allowed them to access the data of major tech companies such as Google, Facebook, and Apple. This program invaded the privacy of millions of users of these services.
- GCHQ Tempora Program (UK): In 2013, The Guardian revealed that the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) had a program called Tempora that allowed them to access internet users’ data. This program invaded the privacy of millions of Internet users.
It is quite scary to read what these kinds of large organizations have in store. While you unsuspectingly live your life, there are large agencies that do everything they can to collect as much data as possible from people. Don’t you want to be one of the next to have to deal with this? Then you can protect yourself against privacy invasion by state actors.
This way you can protect yourself against privacy infringement by state actors
The biggest drawback is that state actors can invade your privacy both online and offline. Offline protection is a bit more complicated than online protection. Fortunately, you can do a few things yourself to make it as difficult as possible for state actors to find out personal information about you, for example. We give several tips with which you can keep state actors out online:
- Use encryption: Use encryption to protect your emails, chats, and files from unwanted access. This makes it more difficult for state actors to read or collect your information.
- Use a VPN: Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to encrypt your internet traffic and hide your location. This makes it harder for state actors to track your internet usage.
- Don’t just share personal information online: Be careful about sharing personal information such as your name, address, phone number or credit card information. Important data like this is not safe on the internet.
- Use strong passwords: We recommend using a strong password to protect your accounts from hacking. A strong password contains at least 12 characters, a combination of letters, numbers and special characters and no personal information that is easily guessed.
- Use multi-factor authentication: Multi-factor authentication is an extra layer of security in addition to a password, such as a mobile code or biometric scan, to gain access to an account or system.
- Keep your software up to date: To avoid vulnerabilities, keep your software up to date, including your operating system and browsers.
- Be aware of the laws and regulations in a country: Know what laws and regulations there are that protect privacy in your country, such as data protection laws, and be aware of how state actors are allowed to act under these laws.
- Use cyber-attack detection software: Some state actors invade privacy by, for example, installing malware on your device. There is special software that can detect these types of cyber attacks so that you can tackle the problem early.
Protect yourself against privacy invasion by state actors with a VPN
A VPN connection is an ideal tool to prevent an online privacy breach by state actors. When you are connected to a VPN, a secure connection is created between you and the internet. This makes it more difficult for state actors or other parties such as cybercriminals to collect information about your internet usage, location or personal data. For example, you can also use a VPN to access geographically restricted content or to surf the internet anonymously.
Protect yourself against a privacy breach by state actors with GOOSE VPN
If you are not waiting for a privacy breach by state actors, you can protect yourself against this with GOOSE VPN. The reliable VPN connections of GOOSE VPN guarantee that you can guard your online privacy against state actors at all times.
With the GOOSE VPN AutoPilot, you can be sure that your VPN connection is always on as soon as you connect to the internet. In the unlikely event that the VPN connection is lost, the Kill Switch will also disconnect your internet connection.
Finally, at GOOSE VPN you can also use cyber-attack detection software. This extra option, called the Cyber Alarm, monitors your internet traffic 24/7. For example, as soon as the program detects malware, you will immediately receive a notification so that you can take immediate action.
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