It is not a secret that your online activity is not very private. Cyber criminals and government agencies have ways of reading your e-mails and discovering where you go on the Internet. Websites you visit can figure out who you are, where you live and what your interests are, then sell that information to marketing companies or anyone else who wants to know.
Two of the latest options for improving online privacy…
A device called Safeplug keeps your Internet activity private. Plug Safeplug ($49, PogoPlug.com/safeplug) into your Internet router, and it can conceal your IP address—a unique number that can be used to identify your computer. It also can route your Internet traffic through random computers around the globe, making it extremely difficult for high-tech snoops to figure out where you live.
This added security can slow down your Internet speeds, however, sometimes noticeably. Consider loading more than one web browser onto your computer—both Chrome and Firefox, perhaps—and activating Safeplug with only one of these. Use the browser that is not Safeplug-enabled when fast Internet speeds are more important than privacy, such as when streaming a movie from Netflix or another reputable site.
A service called ShazzleMail keeps your e-mails private. When you send a regular e-mail, your e-mail provider stores a copy of the message on its computers. Those stored messages could later be read by a government agency or a cyber criminal who hacks the e-mail provider’s system. Your e-mail provider itself might examine your e-mails in order to target advertisements to your interests. You would never tolerate eavesdropping on your phone calls—but that’s what this is like.
ShazzleMail lets you send e-mails from your smartphone or tablet to your e-mail recipients. These messages are never stored on an e-mail provider’s computers, increasing the odds that they will remain private (free, iOS or Android, ShazzleMail.com). You have to use a special ShazzleMail e-mail address to send these messages, however, and using this service won’t keep your e-mails secure if a criminal has loaded spyware onto your device or onto the phone or computer of the person who receives the message. ShazzleMail works best if both sender and recipient have ShazzleMail accounts. You can send messages to non-ShazzleMail users, too, but they will have to take a few extra steps to access them.