HTTPS Protocol (Web Browsing)
- When browsing the Internet, often the website you're visiting begins with "http://." Short for "Hypertext Transfer Protocol," HTTP connections are required prefixes for most websites. However, these websites aren't as secure as websites that begin with "HTTPS://." HTTPS stands for "Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure" and is a secure version of "HTTP://." When you see "HTTP://" before your website address, you are connecting to the server via an encrypted connection. The session is encrypted with a digital certificate. Web browsers such as Microsoft Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox alert you that you're on a secure site by displaying a padlock on the window. For example, Internet Explorer displays the padlock next to the web address.
Secure Sockey Layer (Email)
- Sending and receiving emails are also secured with the use of "Secure Socket Layer." When configuring your email account, email programs such as Outlook ask you whether your mail server requires an "SSL" connection. Where possible, you should enable this feature, which prevents people from "listening in" and retrieving your email account's username and password. Without SSL enabled, your account's username and password are being sent over the Internet unencrypted. Obviously, once someone gets your account's username and password, he can easily access your account, regardless of whether you access the account through a website or a third-party email program. Therefore, enable SSL when configuring your account in any email program if your provider's server allows these connections.
Digital Cellphone Technology
- One of the biggest benefits of using a cellphone to make and receive phone calls is the transition to digital phone technology. Before widespread cellphone use, many people used analog home phones, which made it easier for people to listen in on your phone conversations. Now, cellphones make it more difficult to listen in on conversations unless you're a law enforcement officer, trained to do so with special equipment. Therefore, even if you continue to make phone calls from a home phone, use a digital cordless phone and not a traditional, analog phone. This prevents people with radio scanners from listening in.
- Take general precautions when communicating with others, particularly about sensitive communications. In terms of privacy, the legal system recognizes a principle called the "reasonable expectation of privacy." Essentially, when you communicate with other people in a place where a reasonable person could not have an expectation of privacy, it's difficult to stop someone from listening in on your conversation. For example, there is no reasonable expectation of privacy if you're engaged in a sensitive phone call on a park bench. Therefore, engage in sensitive tasks in an enclosed, private area, such as your home. Additionally, be aware of your surroundings at all times.