* 9 scary personal details Google collects about you

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Our readers know that we have been warning about Google’s personal data collection since we went live. Google is, without a doubt, the worst offender of privacy online. However, we all need to wade through Google’s services from time to time, so we tend to ignore that simple truth.

And a huge number of people still use – and like – Gmail either as their main service or a backup. And if you use an Android device, you must have a Gmail account, but that doesn’t mean you need to use it all the time.

A brief glance through our listing of previous articles will show multiple times we’ve tried to help cure people of their Google addiction. Unfortunately, Google’s business model is about spying on us and reselling our personal information to whomever will buy it. And folks … there are a LOT of companies and government agencies that want to know about us.

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*Ready to cut the cord on Google?

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People are beginning to realize that Google is recording and reselling their personal data. On top of that, that personal data is being sold to unknown (to us) advertisers, corporations, and government agencies.

How can they do that? Well I don’t know many people that read the User Agreements (EULA) that we are asked to approve every time we use a new online service. Next time … take the time. You’ll be surprised how much you are allowing other companies into your personal matters.

But that’s another story.

That being said, Google is the largest of the data collection companies we normally use, followed right after that by Facebook and Microsoft (through Windows-10). Many tech- conscious users are beginning to move away from Google, some are even cutting the cord completely.

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*151 million records of Americans’ calls collected by the NSA in 2016

The NSA collected 151 million records of Americans’ phone calls last year despite the USA Freedom Act of 2015. The NSA also complied with requests from government officials to reveal the identities of 1,934 U.S. persons ensnared in the foreign surveillance.

Metadata about the calls such as the number of the caller and recipient, as well as the duration and time of the call was also collected.

The annual report, issued by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, provides the first assessment of the effectiveness of the 2015 USA Freedom Act which was meant to limit dragnet surveillance of millions of Americans’ phone records.

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*How to delete your Google search history

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By now most people are aware that Google keeps track of everything you do on the Internet. Those records are then sold to advertisers and government agencies for profit, that’s their business model. Yup, it’s kinda creepy.

The online giant knows every movie you searched for the starring actors, every restaurant you’d looked into for visiting, and every car that you’ve thought of purchasing. It also knows more personal details, like what medical conditions you are ailing from, which coworkers you’ve tried finding information on, and where you’re thinking about taking your next trip.

Google knows all of these things from your many internet searches. It’s understandable if you consider this is a terrible privacy risk because it is.

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*NSA claims it has ceased its illegal collection of American emails

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The National Security Agency recently announced that it had stopped the practice of its warrantless surveillance program of American citizens. This supposedly ends a once-secret form of wiretapping that was started as a response by the Bush administration’s post 9-11 expansion of national security initiatives.

While originally intended as a way to track foreign suspects operating on American soil, former President Obama massively expanded the program to collect all digital communications of American citizens as well.

The National Security Agency has enjoyed relatively broad authority to monitor communications among suspected terrorists and their associates, even when those people happen to be American citizens, and even without a warrant.

The problem, according to privacy advocates, is that computers cannot tell the difference between who is a citizen and who isn’t. Computers can only tell the origin and destination of the messages. As a result, the N.S.A. argued it was necessary to scoop up ALL communications and sort out the differences out later.

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* VPN or TOR, which do I use?

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TOR (The Onion Router)

Tor has become very a very popular online tool for leaving a minimal trace while moving through websites. Many people use their service to browse the Internet anonymously.

Tor (short for ‘the onion router’) was developed by the United States navy, and it helps bolster your online privacy by making it extremely difficult for online entities to track your online habits.

By moving your traffic through multiple Tor servers, someone who intercepts your data can’t trace it back to your computer. All you need to do to take advantage of these benefits is to download and install the Tor browser.

For the average computer user, Tor came to the limelight as a result of the revelation that Edward Snowden used Tor to help mask his Internet traffic when he exposed the inner workings of the NSA and GCHQ surveillance programs.

Tor is often used by social and political activists, reporters, businesses, and others, to simply help eliminate identity snooping from unauthorized players in Internet security.

But, you might be thinking that Tor provides the same services as a VPN, right? This begs the question, “Which is better? Tor or a VPN?”

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*Two Ways to Securely Wipe Your Hard Drive

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You are ready to sell or give away your old computer… how do you make sure you have securely removed all your previous personal data?

You may have already deleted personal files and information, or you may have de-fragged your hard drive hoping to eliminate information by write-overs. Either way, you’re not quite done.

There’s one important action you should take before you say goodbye to your old friend. And that’s wiping your hard drive clean.

Simply deleting your files doesn’t do the trick since they can be restored from the Recycle Bin. And even if you empty the Bin, your deleted files can often be recovered with the right undelete utility. But what if you want to completely eliminate all readable information on your hard drive? That’s when you need a good hard drive eraser utility.

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