What are Security and Privacy?

SPOIL = Security and Privacy Online and In Life

What is SPOIL?

SPOIL is installing anti-malware software on your computer. Even your Mac. Even your home Linux machine. If a device is connected to the Internet, it is a target for hackers and fraudsters to misuse and abuse.

SPOIL is learning how to handle all those telephone calls with forged caller IDs.

SPOIL is hanging up on the phone calls with fake threats from the IRS, a police department, or someone else claiming that you are in big trouble unless you give them a credit card number.

SPOIL is ignoring calls to offer assistance with your student loan balances, or to fix your credit, or to lower your interest rates.

SPOIL is ignoring the fraudulent pop-ups and phone calls from Microsoft or Apple or MacAfee or Dell technical support to help you fix your computer.

SPOIL is about doing the best you can to protect yourself from bad actors who wish to enrich themselves by stealing your identity, violating your privacy and taking your valuables away from you.

There are scams and attacks being perpetuated constantly that abuse the technology that enfolds all our lives. The common protection is understanding how to recognize the scams and to avoid falling for them. The “bad guys” are extremely good at what they do (fooling people). You have to learn how to recognize a scam and stop it.


A legal definition of privacy: Freedom from unauthorized intrusion : state of being let alone and able to keep certain especially personal matters to oneself.

Privacy means that information about you should not be exposed, shared or otherwise made available by any third party to any other third party without your express and informed consent. Information about you should not be shared, aggregated, mined, sliced, diced, marinated or otherwise cooked to learn anything about you or people like you. Furthermore, it should be possible, within the limits of technology, that any information that you have decided to share in the past can be unshared, and that decision can be revoked.

My perspective is that of a lay citizen1 of the United States of America (USA). We do not have any significant federal privacy protections in the USA. The individual states may have some laws protecting individual privacy. Our legal system has not addressed the needs of the private citizen to exercise control of information about themselves. The European Union (EU) is much more advanced in addressing these issues. For example, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) became effective in May 2018. Those regulations are not perfect … no law is. The GDPR is a huge nuisance to those of us who are doing genealogy research. However, it is a good starting point.


There are many definitions of security. At the bottom of them all is the notion of being safe. Your computer should be accessible only by the individuals whom you authorize. Your home should only be accessible to the people whom you want inside. Your computer data, your personal data, your online data, all should only be accessible to you, unless you choose to allow limited access to others. Your devices, including your computer, your electronics devices, your home, your cars, etc., and the data on them should not be sharing information without your permission.

Security and privacy are concepts that are intertwined.

Protecting your security and privacy are also intertwined.


  1. I am not a lawyer.

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