Invasions of privacy: time to fight back

Date:4 March 2014 Tags:

While a rapt world follows the Oscar Pistorius murder trial, with its impending evidence on cellphone records and Internet browsing habits, the March issue of sci-tech magazine Popular Mechanics explores the growing inroads on our digital privacy.

As editor Alan Duggan says: “We don’t want to scare you unnecessarily, but you need to know that a lot of digital information that you regard as strictly private is accessible to people who may not be very nice. Our in-depth article explains how you can fight these intruders, using a mixture of technology, clever software and common sense.”

In the article, writer Davey Alba confesses that for all the attention he pays to technology, he has never worked particularly hard at protecting his data – until now. After interviewing security professionals, cryptographers, computer science researchers and other interesting people, he has decided it’s time to change his ways.

Says Duggan: “Interestingly, the top suggestion from all these experts is to move away from proprietary to open-source software. Davey has since installed encryption software on his phone and laptop, abandoned Google for a new search engine and downloaded an anonymising bundle called Tor to hide his identity – and that’s just for starters.”

PM’s March issue also features articles on improbable flying machines, cool gadgets from the International CES in Las Vegas, bored kids who deserve more attention, and a brave woman who took on the South Pole aboard a tricycle. Up for grabs in a reader competition: five TomTom GPS navigators.

* In January this year, Popular Mechanics achieved a total paid circulation of 47 000-plus, including digital sales of 4 719.