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Edward Snowden’s first rule of privacy is: Remember how to keep a secret.


In a discussion with The Intercept’s Micah Lee, the NSA whistleblower gives a lot of practical tips for future national security whistleblowers and regular internet users alike. Most of his tips are practical (use the anonymous browser Tor, ad blockers, a password manager, and two-factor authentication, and encrypt your hard drive), but his most important piece of advice runs counter to our oversharing era: Stop blabbing about yourself all over the internet.

Everybody doesn’t need to know everything about us. Your friend doesn’t need to know what pharmacy you go to. Facebook doesn’t need to know your password security questions. You don’t need to have your mother’s maiden name on your Facebook page, if that’s what you use for recovering your password on Gmail. The idea here is that sharing is OK, but it should always be voluntary. It should be thoughtful, it should be things that are mutually beneficial to people that you’re sharing with.

Protecting privacy in the digital age is a technological challenge, of course. But it’s also a cultural one. Remember, selfies are bad for whistleblowers.