Robert O'Harrow, Jr., author of No Place to Hide, has said, "Almost every aspect of our lives is being recorded by someone, somewhere." Much of this modern surveillance is executed by corporations for marketing purposes. Companies track consumers' spending habits through credit card records and rewards cards. But when surveillance goes beyond spending habits, cultivating some awareness habits can help you to know when you're under surveillance and when you need to take action.
Be aware of the movements of people in your area and note any changes in their behavior or routines. If someone begins asking questions about your activities or whereabouts, make a note of this person and watch for whether he is around when you are coming and going.
Keep an eye on your mailbox. Correspondence contains lots of personal information that could be valuable to others. Those seeking to steal your identity for financial purposes can get all they need by getting hold of your mail. If you notice that bills or letters are missing from your mailbox, report them to the police. Invest in a locking mailbox to secure your mail.
Check your workplace's employee surveillance policy so you know which of your activities are being watched. Many employers use computer programs that allow them to check on their employees' computer usage. The programs allow them to see if their employees are using paid work time to shop on the Internet, gamble, view pornography or send personal email. Knowing this, it's best to save your personal computer habits for your own personal computer.
Manage your online presence carefully. If you have a website or blog, check your statistics to see who is viewing your site. If you are on a social networking site, go through your friends list and look for people who you either don't know or who you don't feel comfortable sharing personal information with. If someone has been asking you very personal questions on a social networking site, ignore the questions and re-evaluate whether or not you want to leave yourself exposed to this person. Change your passwords frequently to websites that hold your personal information.
Turn off your cell phone and GPS if you repeatedly run into the same person. Cell phones and GPS devices can be used to track your location and even to listen to your nonphone conversations. It's possible for the cell phone company to turn the microphone of your cell phone on, enabling someone to hear everything going on around you. And GPS systems allow employers or others to know your exact location at all times. There have been cases of women being stalked by men who have registered their cell phones with surveillance companies.
- Seek help from the police if you believe you are being followed by someone.
- Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images