What to Do About Online Privacy Issues in the UK

Online privacy issues in the UK can be quite a problem. These days, the government spies on everyone pretty freely. Everyone wants to be able to stay safe online, but not everyone agrees on the best way to do so. And there are a lot of factors to think about too. Here are just some parts of online privacy that are worth addressing.

Purchase History

Some websites can take your purchase history and make ads out of it. If you have ever been shopping for something online, you might notice ads for that product showing up in different places you visit. This isn’t just a coincidence. You have to ask yourself if you want others knowing what you have been buying and making ads for you based on that information.

Browsing History

Just like your purchase history, companies can see your browsing history too. Many British businesses take advantage of this. Sometimes only talking about a website will bring up ads for it. Beyond e-commerce websites, there may be other ones you visit that you want to keep private. You certainly don’t want everyone to be able to see what you are looking at when you are online, let alone use to make money off you.

Personal Information

Personal information is just that, personal and you should keep most of it offline. This can be something as simple as where your kids go to school or even where you work. While sharing some details should be okay you never know who is paying attention. The British government has, for example, been known to take a peek from time to time. Make sure you are aware of who knows your details and use precaution when posting about your life on social media.

Physical Location

Your physical location should be a secret, but it doesn’t always stay that way. From your city showing up on your social media accounts to your actual address showing up in different places, having this information out there is disconcerting. It’s enough someone knows you live in the United Kingdom. They don’t need to know which city too.

You can turn this feature off in some places and doing so is recommended. You should also be aware of who you are telling your location and address. If you want to meet up with someone you have never met before, don’t do it at your own home but in a public place, like downtown London. Be smart with who you let know where you live.

Something else you can consider to protect your physical location is a virtual private network. When you connect your phone or computer to a VPN, it hides your IP address (which can easily be used to track you) and shows you as located at the server’s location. Some services work better than others, especially in the United Kingdom, so when you pick one, be sure it made this list of the best VPNs. A top provider will keep you well protected and keep the UK government off your back.

Email Address

Your email address is a part of you, and you should be concerned about who gets it. Setting up a fresh and entirely separate one to give out to stores is a good idea. That way you can keep your primary account safe. If you give out your email, people could misuse it, sell it or send spam your way. An email address is now a vital part of life and keeping it as safe as you can is very important.


It is always a lot of fun to share photos, especially with friends and family. Make sure to be aware of what you are sharing in a public online area. You don’t want to be sharing photos that could be giving away your personal information. Before you post a picture on social media, make sure that there is nothing that will identify anything important, like the location at which it was taken. This is information is called EXIF data.

If you have kids, make sure you are careful about what photos you post of them. Not everything needs to be seen by everyone. Share photos privately if you are unsure if they should be seen by the public.

Online safety is important, and there are things you can do to help protect yourself both in the United Kingdom or wherever else you may be located. Make sure to read up on how you can stay safe and vigilant. You want to keep your information as private as you can.

How Does a VPN Keep Your Data Transfers Safe

Do you transfer data either for work or personal purposes? If you haven’t experienced any problems yet, then consider yourself lucky. There’s no question that the Internet has made our lives easier in many ways, but this digital jungle is also home to hackers who readily attack the ill-equipped.

You may have heard stories of people having their sensitive information stolen just by surfing the web, leading to serious problems, not the least of which is identity fraud. Thankfully, using a VPN can keep your data transfers safe.

If you’re tech-savvy, then you may already be familiar with virtual private networks. In a nutshell, a VPN creates a secure and encrypted connection between your computer and a private server. When transferring data, hackers may see the data coming from your computer. But when using a VPN, the data looks as if it is coming from the VPN server. This means that hackers will not be able to see or modify the traffic.

VPNs are immensely popular among torrent users. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as it’s easy for providers to convince torrent users that they may be the target of fraudulent attacks without securing their connections. However, the benefits of using a VPN goes well beyond allowing you to download torrents safely.

Equipped with the right VPN, you can avoid government surveillance or censorship. This is huge for anyone living or spending time in the UK. Using a VPN will also allow you to visit websites which are banned by the British government.

It’s worth noting, however, that VPNs do not grant total anonymity online. You may have seen VPN providers claiming to use a “no-log” approach, which means they do not keep track of their users. This has been proven to be unrealistic; a claim intended to lure in more paying customers. Instead of focusing on anonymity, be sure that you choose a provider that’s concerned with your privacy.

Transferring data might be something you do every day and have hence started to take it for granted. But you don’t want to wake up one day and find out your private information stolen. Even your ISP may be stealing data from you without realizing it. A VPN will protect your data so start using one every time you do anything online.

Top Benefits of Using a VPN in the UK

VPN technology has become very popular lately in the United Kingdom. It provides security when using any network, especially when sending encrypted data. If you’re interested in using a virtual private network, here are some of the benefits you can look forward to.

Utmost Security

If you’re connecting to any network through a VPN, you can rest assured you’re getting excellent security. That’s a VPN encrypts your data, thus preventing attacks from malicious third parties.

Remote Access

One of the best advantages of using a VPN is that you can always access information remotely. Whether you’re away from the office or on a business trip, you can get access to data wherever you are. It’s a great way to guarantee a company’s productivity.

Sharing Files and Data

Do you need to share data and files without using flash disks or email? A VPN always comes in handy especially if you’re planning on sharing many large files.


Are you looking for ways to browse the internet without someone keeping tabs on you? This is indeed something with which anyone living in the UK should be concerned. A VPN is the best solution since, unlike using web proxies or any software for hiding IP addresses, the VPN will allow access to websites and applications anonymously.

Bypassing Filters and Unblocking Websites

VPNs have become popular in countries with internet censorship. Because of how they work, they allow access to any blocked sites and can bypass almost all filters. By the way, whether you realize it or not, the UK very much is a country in which internet censorship is alive and well.

Changing IP Address

Do you ever need to change the location of your IP address? There are some other change IP software applications you can find online, but they are not nearly as effective as are VPNs.

Improving Performance

If you’re tired of slow bandwidth or inefficient networks, a VPN can make that pain go away. Wherever you are, you can always boost performance and productivity with faster access and sharing of data.

Using a virtual private network is always a good idea, regardless of whether you’re at home, at work, or traveling abroad. Among the many other benefits, VPNs are great for privacy. Find the right provider, one that works well in the UK, and start making use of this excellent technology.

How Your IP Address Can Be Used to Track You

IP (Internet Protocol) is a framework that governs activity by enabling 2-way communication on the internet. It does this by assigning unique protocol addresses to every device connected to the web. Hence, your IP is a unique numerical identifier that identifies you on the world-wide-web.

The functions related to IP addresses are to identify and locate your devices online and make sure that they can communicate with the websites or services you would like to access. Your IP address has two parts:

  • A network ID
  • The host ID of your device

IP addresses allow devices all over the world to communicate with each other and also let internet service providers differentiate your unique hardware from billions of others on the web. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can track your online activities through your IP address and trace them back to your exact position. As a result, your approximate physical location is detectable by any website or person who has access to your IP address.

While your IP allows internet traffic to route to your devices, it does not disclose your location. Someone who has your IP address could learn some information about your browsing and may locate the city you are in, but they cannot locate your home or office address.

However, your ISP will know where you are at any time, and although they use means to protect your privacy, they do keep a log of our connections on the internet. If you are suspected of engaging in illegal activities, in most countries, a law enforcement agency can submit a court order to request your ISP to reveal your whereabouts. In the UK, however, a warrant is not even required. Ever heard of the Investigatory Powers Act 2016? It’s scary stuff.

Most people are unaware that they are being watched while browsing on the internet, or interacting on social media. All your online activity is monitored by your ISP, and some internet providers may even monitor data without consent for their advertising purposes. Government agencies have access to IP addresses and may use recorded information for legal or other purposes.

You can change your IP address to keep your details anonymous and private, and a hidden IP address can prevent your location from being determined or your activity from being traced back to you. Location data collected over time can tell a detailed story about you that ranges from information related to what you do on the internet to what you like and just about anything else in your life. For exact details on how to hide your IP address, visit fastestvpnguide.com/how-to-hide-my-ip-address-when-downloading.

Add to this are tweets, photos, shares, telephone numbers and addresses and your life story can become very detailed. Location information will reveal not only where you live and work, but the churches, bars, clinics, friends and lovers your visit, which political party you belong to and any even protests you have participated in. Bottom line, if you can hide that IP of yours, do it.

Vice.com John McAfee Exclusive Reveals His Location in iPhone EXIF Data

Some time ago, the website Vice.com posted an article with the somewhat full of themselves title “We Are With John McAfee Right Now, Suckers”. In it, they reveal how they have been traveling with John for the better part of the week.

The one thing that didn’t occur to them was the photo included in the article was taken with an iPhone which, as most of us know, embeds geolocation data in every shot. As soon as they realized that fact (or more likely, someone told them), the photo was replaced. The new one has the geo data removed.

I was able to get my hands on the original and analyzed the stored EXIF metadata to get the exact GPS coordinates at which the image was shot. Lo and behold, it sounds like Mr. McAffee is hanging out in Rio Dulce in Guatemala.

People getting tracked down by using EXIF data stored in pictures happens more often than many realize. There are, for example, services which scan photos found online to retrieve camera serial numbers and using stored GPS data, follow that specific camera around. If your photo equipment ever disappears from the back of your car, this may not be a horrible way of tracking it down. Sound familiar? It works for finding people too. You have to work hard to stay private in the UK these days.

Update 1: All signs point to John McAfee really being in Guatemala. He has no also hired a local attorney. Sounds like the people at Vice.com have learned from their mistakes and erased all EXIF data.

Update 2: Several days later, McAfee is claiming the EXIF data was fake and intentionally manipulated. That is hard to believe. Why would he reveal that information? Vice.com removing the info from the image soon after it was found is also too big of a coincidence to ignore. If you wanted to mislead people, you certainly wouldn’t do either: say information has been doctored or remove it. Things just don’t add up.

Digital Privacy Isn’t Taken, It Is Given Away

Open Source Data & Surveillance

With the Edward Snowden privacy leak a few years back, there is an important factor we’re all missing. It isn’t the government agencies that collect the data. They are merely consumers and harvesters of it. The data comes from corporations that have been gathering it for years, data that we have freely given them in exchange for convenience and vanity. We are the victims and the perpetrators.

I know a little bit about this, as I have utilized a combination of tools that track stolen devices as well as leveraged open source data to assist law enforcement to gather additional information about suspects. By “open source” I am referring to the term law enforcement uses to define data that is open and available to the public. I didn’t need top secret NSA clearance, it is information people put up freely and made public and when doing so left additional invisible traces of data (“meta-data”) embedded in files and messages that helped paint a more detailed picture.

Personal data mining

The Cloud Is a Database of You

Every email, phone call, text message, tweet, Facebook post, photo upload, check-in, online purchase is another entry into the big online database of you. However, that is just the data you know about, underneath there lies more layers of logged and stored data of which many are not aware. That information can provide just as much insight into our lives as the more opaque data with which we are accustomed to dealing.

This data all exists in isolated islands, however, when there is a data breach, or a government agent gets a piece of information such as an IMEI number, IP address, MAC address or email, it can then tie pieces of information together.

Personal data stored in the cloud

Dude Where’s My Data?

We didn’t sell our soul to the Internet. We simply imported it. We have exchanged our digital privacy for convenience, speed and artifice. It doesn’t matter if it is wrong or right, ethical or unethical. It’s the big data elephant in the room. It exists and will continue to grow, and more importantly, organizations will do a better job of making sense of it and creating individual profiles. Although a fun intellectual exercise there is no way off this grid. You are no longer in full control of your digital destiny. True digital privacy is dead.

I will be writing additional posts on this topic over the coming months, bringing in real-life examples and discussing how corporations, governments, and hackers alike leverage data and technologies to invade our privacy for fun, profit, and control. I will also discuss ways we can begin to reclaim some of our digital privacy along the way.