Data on what websites you visit, what you download, the contents of your email account, who you call etc. is recorded and owned by major corporations. However, there are measures you can take to protect your information and have some semblance of online anonymity.
Governments and internet providers keep records of who accesses what websites and their location. Tor (“the onion router”) makes your web browsing anonymous by using other computers in the Tor network as a proxy to access websites. Visit torproject.org.
Your email provider owns and can access your emails, bypassing your password, but not if it’s well encrypted using PGP. This means that if it is intercepted, it will appear as indecipherable text. Instructions on setting this up can be found in the CryptoParty Handbook (see below). Email in the workplace is owned by your employer and can legally be monitored. You probably won’t be able to encrypt your work email, so it’s important to make sure you don’t use your email for anything you don’t want your boss or HR department to see.
Mobile phone security
Tor can be installed on mobile phones – look for “Onion Browser” for iPhones or “Orbot” for Android. Currently there is no standard for encrypting SMS messages and phone calls. However, products such as TextSecure and RedPhone are available to download.
Rather than requiring only a password to access your accounts, two-step authentication requires an additional code to be entered. More and more websites are using 2 step authentication, but it is usually turned off by default. Of course, you should have strong passwords as well.
New security flaws in websites and software are discovered daily, so always update software. Your computer and phone should always be running updated anti-virus software and firewalls such as Avast, AVG and MalwareBytes. Make sure you apply security updates for your operating system and browser when they’re released.
There is no magic one-click solution for ensuring your data is private. Assume that it’s not, and always be sensible about what you post online and on social media, what websites you visit and what you download onto your computer. For more information on maintaining security and privacy, Read the CryptoParty Handbook: cryptoparty.informatick.net/documentation/handbook.