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Technology

How do I protect my online privacy from 'surveillance capitalism'?

Chris wants to better protect his privacy. What can he easily do besides de-Googling his online life

Having read Edward Snowden’s revelations in the Guardian and in his book, I would like to protect myself from both the surveillance state and surveillance capitalism. I already use a VPN, and I am in the process of removing Google from my online life. What else should I be doing that’s reasonable for a home environment? Chris

Great timing! On Monday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation published a 17,000-word report on this topic. Behind the One-Way Mirror: A Deep Dive Into the Technology of Corporate Surveillance, by Bennett Cyphers and Gennie Gebhart, covers both online privacy problems and the growth of real-word surveillance.

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What sort of security software and backups do I need for a home business?

Allen wants to set up a small company working from home, and would like some advice

I’m looking to set up a small business working from home, and would like some advice on back up and security measures. I have an Office 365 account so my main directory for saving documents will be OneDrive. I was looking to back up on a Synology NAS drive, perhaps to two separate hard drives as a precaution. Also, I currently just use Windows’ built-in security, but wondered whether I should look for something else.

Initially, it would just be me, but if things go well then I may have another two or three people helping. I’m assuming I can just scale up any security measures as the need arises. Allen

Technology manufacturers cater to two very large markets with different needs: home users and businesses. You’re about to enter the SoHo (small office, home office) market where home technologies dominate because most single traders don’t need proper business systems with all the extra costs and complications involved.

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Home alarm systems: how can I improve my security?

Peter has to move from his very secure high-rise flat and wants to avoid being burgled

I currently live in a high-rise flat, which is very secure, with CCTV, fob-controlled access and so on. Unfortunately, due to Grenfell, our block is being emptied for refurbishment. I don’t know what type of property I will be offered, but I will have to provide my own home security system. Cost is not a major issue, because I will get a disturbance grant for the enforced move. But, as a pensioner, I wouldn’t like to be saddled with a high monthly premium for monitoring. Any suggestions would be very welcome.Peter

Technology companies are selling a lot of new gadgets to increase home security, including smart locks, motion detectors, window sensors and digital cameras. Many are part of the trend towards “smart homes” with internet-connected doorbells, lighting, voice assistants and so on. Most of this stuff comes under the general tech-industry label of the internet of things (IoT).

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Do I really need fibre broadband?

Angela is a light internet user and is wondering if she could make do with an older, slower ADSL service

I signed up for fibre broadband a couple of years ago but am now wondering whether it is worth the cost. The only devices I use in my home are a six-year-old Toshiba Satellite L870 laptop and a Samsung tablet. I use them for email, web browsing and watching BBC iPlayer, but not much else. The laptop runs Windows 10 and works well enough so I don’t have any immediate plans to replace it.

If I revert to ordinary broadband, will I notice a reduction in performance in either device? Angela

You should notice a difference, because your “fibre” connection is probably about five times faster than you will get from ADSL2. However, for your purposes, the difference may not matter.

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