Our life is composed of many small pieces of data and information: our name, our date of birth, our sicknesses, our favorite soft drink, where we go on holidays, our love letters etc. This information may be important and confidential, but can also seem insignificant. Overall, they provide a clear picture of our daily habits, our work and our secrets. We are calling these things our personal data, which are defined in and protected by the law. As we are close the door of our home, we should also protect our online data from unauthorized intruders.

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“We all need privacy, though some of us may not care much about it forourselves; it's still important that we work to protect privacy for allfor the sake of the community. In other terms, ‘it's not just about you!’'

Jillian York, Electronic Frontier Foundation

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Your exact location can be identified thanks to GPS and cell tower data, and also the Wi-Fi networks detected by your phone. Phones are also storing the same location data. Names of Wi-Fi networks you connected to in the past are also stored.

Location data is requested by many installed applications. We don’t know who can access this information via the application companies. This is behind our control. Some applications are even forwarding the phone’s ID. Furthermore, encryption of sound and messaging is often not reliable enough, making it is easy to access their content.

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“The first important step is awareness, and the second is having the information to make an informed decision about your behaviour online. All of the tools come after that.”

Jillian York, Electronic Frontier Foundation

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We are sharing our most private thoughts and our most sensitive data via chat and email. Some of us send bankcard data and ID card numbers, while lawyers and journalists are transmitting individuals’ confidential information. If we share this information in a non-encrypted message, it’s basically the same as a postcard. Messages pass through several intermediate networks and computers before getting to their recipient, where they are usually stored without encryption, just as for the sender.

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“Privacy is essential to democracy. Unless we have a space where we can think, where we can develop ideas, where we can work out what things need to change in our society without fear that those who we're challenging can find out about it social progress won't be made. The world will not become a more just, more free, more fair place.”

Eric King, Privacy International

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By tracking our browsing habits, a detailed profile can be created: our age, our residence, our hobbies, our health problems, and our sexual preferences can be discovered based on web page addresses, the frequency of our visits and the time spent on each page.

Thanks to cookies and similar tools on web pages, it is possible to identify if we have been there before, and where we have clicked on during our visits. The trackers can continuously follow our browsing habits. The ubiquitous icons of Facebook, Twitter, Google+ can accomplish this. Advertising companies, analytical businesses, and data brokers buy and sell this information, even though we don’t perceive their presence.

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“Blocking trackers, encrypted communication and strong passwords are the basis of online privacy.”

Ferenc Tóth, Gawker

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Cloud service providers have full access to the data stored on their interface, meaning data, pictures, and personal or professional documents. Although they are usually encrypted while in storage, the encryption key is in their hands, not ours. A hacker can obtain it, abuse it and submit it to a third party with authority on the level of an intelligence service. In any case, the control of our data is not in our hands, but in the company’s. Files stored on our computer might also become easily accessible to anyone taking hold of the PC physically or through malware.