Digital Privacy

The Library is committed to protecting the privacy of the people who use the Library. Here are some tips and tools to help you make personal decisions about how you share your information online. For more information, ask a Library staff member.

These tips are adapted from the following guides: The ALA’s Digital Security Basics, Data Detox Kit’s Control Your Smartphone Data, and The Atlantic’s Guide to Privacy

 

General Tips

Strong passwords

Secure the locks on your digital doors by creating strong passwords. Try using passphrases that are meaningful and don't include your personal details. Here's an example, spaces included: "Otis the dog dances the macarena." Test the strength of your passphrase here.

Password managers

A password manager can help you keep track of your different passwords. Explore password managers with free options, such as Bitwarden and LastPass.

Multi-factor authentication

Multi-factor authentication means that you will log into an account with a password and another means, such as a code texted to you. Consider enabling this type of authentication on accounts containing your most private information. See this guide or more information.

 

Beware of Scams

Malware

Malicious software is designed to damage to your computer or device. It is usually installed through email attachments and links to unknown sources. See this guide for more information.

Phishing

Phishing is when someone you don't know wants to install malware or take control of your personal accounts. They usually do this by impersonating someone you know and sending you a message asking you to click on a link, open a document, or enter your account details into a fake website. See this guide for more information

 

Smartphone Privacy

Clear location footprints

Location services on an app can increase convenience, such as a live food delivery map. But this information is also shared with app developers, advertisers, and other data brokers. You can go through your device's app permission settings and turn off the location permissions for apps that do not require it, or apps you choose not to have information about your location. For device-specific instructions, see Step 2 of this guide.

App audit

You can delete any unused apps from your device to reduce the amount of information generated by your activity. Think about including web browser extensions in your audit. For more information, see Step 3 of this guide.

Privacy-focused browsing

Your web browser's private mode will only delete your activity history on that device. This mode will not hide your browsing activity from internet-service providers, advertisers, or other privileged groups. Explore browsers designed for privacy, such as DuckDuckGo or Ghostery.

Digital Privacy

  • Pegasus: How a Spy in Your Pocket Threatens the End of Privacy, Dignity, and Democracy


  • Online Scams


  • Eyes & Spies: How You're Tracked and Why You Should Know


  • "I Have Nothing to Hide" : and 20 Other Myths about Surveillance and Privacy


  • Protect Your Data and Identity Online


  • The Fight for Privacy: Protecting Dignity, Identity, and Love in the Digital Age


  • The Art of Invisibility: The World's Most Famous Hacker Teaches You How to Be Safe in the Age of Big Brother and Big Data


  • The Personal Digital Resilience Handbook : an Essential Guide to Safe, Secure and Robust Use of Everyday Technology


  • My Online Privacy for Seniors


  • Cyberspies: Inside the World of Hacking, Online Privacy, and Cyberterrorism


  • Seek and Hide: the Tangled History of the Right to Privacy


  • The Rise of Big Data Policing: Surveillance, Race, and the Future of Law Enforcement


  • Privacy is Power: Why and How You Should Take Back Control of Your Data


  • The Hidden History of Big Brother in America: How the Death of Privacy and the Rise of Surveillance Threaten Us and Our Democracy