Privacy Tools

  • In the course of writing my book, Dragnet Nation, I tried various strategies to protect my privacy. In this series of book excerpts and adaptations, I distill the lessons from my privacy experiments into tips for readers.

    Dragnet Nation cover art

    Encrypt What You Can

    You don’t have to be a programmer to encrypt your data. Here are techniques anybody can use to protect their privacy online.

    How to Mask Your Location

    Location is one of the most revealing pieces of information about us. Here are tips to keep the location of your mobile devices and Web browser private.

    How to Safely Browse the Web

    One of the easiest things you can do to protect your privacy is to be a smarter Web browser. I tested software to find the best ways to avoid being tracked.

    Tips to Build Better Passwords

    The most common password is 12345.  I found tools to create passwords that are both secure and easy to remember.

    Opting Out From Data Brokers

    I identified over 200 data brokers that track your information, and the steps required to remove yourself from their databases.

    Protecting Your Kids’ Privacy Online

    Children face intensive tracking online. I used various online tools to teach my kids about protecting their privacy on the Web.

    How I Quit Google

    I decided I needed to go on a Google Diet–and I started by quitting Google Search. I began using tiny search engine called DuckDuckGo that has a zero-data-retention policy

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Julia’s Work

Julia Angwin specializes in investigative and technology journalism.

Her current primary area of interest is digital tracking and the way in which the digital revolution has enabled surveillance of all kinds. Ms. Angwin pioneered coverage of this area in the What They Know series for The Wall Street Journal.

Ms. Angwin's most recent book, Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance, discusses the impact of surveillance on our society.

In addition to her work on privacy, Ms. Angwin has long written about the technology industry as a whole and provided advice to everyday users in her Decoder column. Her last book, Stealing MySpace, chronicled the rise of online social networks.