1. Review privacy policies.
Before registering or posting content, ask yourself: Does the website sell your information to third parties? Do you grant rights to any information or photos you post on the site? Does the username you choose or email address you provide appear publicly on the site? Stay informed on privacy policies, especially as they apply to genealogists, by following such blogs as The Legal Genealogist.
2. Set strong passwords.
Passwords to Pass Up
The following are among password pro SplashData’s list of the worst passwords in 2015 because they’re so common and easily guessed.
3. Avoid sharing living relatives’ information.
4. Lock your digital devices when not in use.
5. Be careful with email.
6. Use website messaging tools instead of email.
7. Opt-out of browser tracking.
8. Check (and adjust) privacy settings.
9. Keep software current.
10. Secure your wireless internet network at home and on the go.
In addition, because unsecured public wireless networks are vulnerable to network attacks by hackers, you should protect your laptop’s security with a firewall program. A firewall is software that helps filter out hackers, viruses and worms. Anti-virus software companies offer a range of options for this protection. Alternately, you can use your smartphone device as a WiFi hot spot to access the internet while you’re out and about. While this will be a drain on your data plan, it’ll help you avoid the risks of sharing a network with untold numbers of unknown people.
- Electronic Privacy Information Center Online Guide to Practical Privacy Tools
- Get Safe Online: Privacy
- Privacy in the Age of the Smartphone
- Privacy Issues for Family Historians
- Privacy Issues with Online Family Trees
- What They Know
- 50 Ways to Protect Your Identity and Credit by Steve Weisman (FT Press)
- 50 Ways to Protect Your Identity in a Digital Age by Steve Weisman (FT Press)
- Protecting Patron Privacy: Safe Practices for Public Computers by Matthew Beckstrom (Libraries Unlimited)
- Protecting Your Internet Identity by Ted Claypoole and Theresa Payton (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers)
7 ways to connect to the genealogy community
8 tips for online privacy
How genealogy sites protect their data
Online Copyright Crash Course
Protect Your Online Privacy independent study course
Tutorial: Optimize Your Facebook Privacy Settings