Invading your privacy without your permission is essentially theft, yet it happens every day on the internet and without consequence. Large corporations, law enforcement, the government, and just about anyone who knows how to use the internet, can easily obtain your personal information in a matter of seconds.

It comes as no surprise that anything you intentionally post online can be used to your detriment, but did you know that information brokers are collecting your personal information regardless of what youíve decided to share yourself?

They use information such as your phone number, address and even your social security number to line their pockets. Details about you that canít be found for free are provided by information brokers in exchange for a small fee, allowing them to get rich on the invasion of peoplesí privacy.

To see how easy it is to obtain someoneís address, try running a Google search of your name and the city you live in. The results might surprise you but whatís truly shocking is that they serve as only one example of why you need to care deeply about internet surveillance.

Here are some other reasons you should be concerned:

Using an Alias Isnít Effective

Even if you decide to use an alias online, it wonít be very effective at hiding your identity or protecting your data. At some point or another, youíll probably have to make a payment online or sign up for something that requires you to provide your address and phone number anyways.

Websites, as well as advanced users, can also track your IP address, which provides your location. By knowing your location, they can ultimately determine who you are, so using an alias wonít help. You can try to use public Wi-Fi so your home address canít be determined by your IP address, but thereís still the issue of surveillance.

Hackers can use unsecured networks, such as public Wi-Fi, as an access point to spy on your online activities and obtain your personal information. They can see your files on your computer, cell phone, or tablet, which may provide clues about your identity.

Criminals Use the Internet

The invasion of your privacy online isnít just a violation of your personal freedoms; it can also put you at risk. Criminals often use the internet to their advantage because the ease of retrieving information about people makes it easy for them to commit crimes and even stalk people. Identity theft is one of the main issues you need to be concerned about since your social security, full name, address, and phone number are within anyoneís reach.

As mentioned above, other personally identifiable information can also be located by those who know enough about technology to hack into your data. For example, if a hacker is spying on your online activities and you visit a website and enter your debit card number, they now have those details. Account logins are especially vulnerable and accounts tend to contain enough of your personal data for a criminal to commit identity theft.

Another concern is that information about you listed on the web is sometimes linked to your family members, making it a possibility for them to be targeted as well, even if they donít use the internet.

Digital Freedom

Though internet surveillance is common and not entirely avoidable, there is a way you can maintain your digital freedom. A proxy service is one of the best ways to protect yourself, as itíll hide your IP address and at the very least provide a level of anonymity you wonít have otherwise.

When you use a proxy service, youíre able to connect to a remote server thatís encrypted, essentially securing your internet connection while masking your IP address. Since the same remote server is used by a number of other users, your identity canít be traced.

Any data about you that is already present online (for example, that which has been collected by information brokers) will still exist, but youíll be able to put a halt to the majority of future surveillance efforts.