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According to Wikipedia, the purpose of Data Privacy Day is to raise awareness and promote data privacy education. It is currently ‘celebrated’ in the United States, Canada, and 27 European countries. For Data Privacy Day 2013, I have only two requests. They should take less than one hour to install, configure and set yourself up so you can use in them in the future at your convenience. They are perhaps the two biggest steps you can take for protecting yourself from digital surveillance as well as theft. Let’s get started!

Install Truecrypt and GNU Privacy Guard.

Trucrypt is free open-source disk encryption software for Windows 7/Vista/XP, Mac OS X, and Linux. Find a blank USB stick to practice on, and encrypt the stick. Now when you add files to it, if it’s stolen, the thief won’t get access to your files. Once you’re comfortable on a USB stick, create an encrypted folder, directory or partition on your computer. Now imagine your computer will get stolen tomorrow; put anything you deem sensitive in this folder.

GnuPG is the GNU project’s complete and free implementation of the OpenPGP standard as defined by RFC4880. GnuPG allows to encrypt and sign your data and communication, features a versatile key management system as well as access modules for all kinds of public key directories. This is most commonly used to encrypt your emails. Emails by default travel plain text over the internet like a postcard. Once you have GnuPG installed, generate a keypair (a public and private key). You should give your public key to everyone you intend on communicating with, and guard your private key with your life. Find a GnuPG plugin for your email program, such as Enigmail for Thunderbird.

If you have any questions, or would like to let me know how your experience was using either of these, let me know here in the comments, on Facebook or Twitter, whichever you prefer.

Update @ 06:42: If you’re still eager to learn more about protecting yourself, lugh on r/privacy has some good suggestions: