Privacy Policy and the EU’s GDPR

Privacy Policy Overload

Oh. My. Goodness!  Another Privacy Policy in my email inbox!  What is going on? And why is every single company all of a sudden updating their Privacy Policy?!

Well, the European Union has just enacted a new law called the General Data Protection Regulation.  The GDPR governs what companies can do with your data. It also governs how they can ask you for your consent to those new policies.  Right now it is only in effect in the EU, but so many companies have a global presence that they do need to make sure they are in compliance.

In my opinion, this could not have come at a better time.  It seems to me that so many companies are just running roughshod on our information.  It is perfectly reasonable to ask:

  1. Who has my data – my email, my age, my address, my phone, my likes, etc.?
  2. What are they doing with my data?

GDPR

Under GDPR, and if you live in the EU, companies must disclose in their Privacy Policy, what data they are collecting and retaining about you, AND, receive your direct permission to do this.  You can also request the data that a company has compiled about you.  It is only a matter of time before something similar to GDPR goes into effect globally, so many US companies are jumping the gun to update their Policies and Procedures now.  However, it doesn’t appear that US companies are actually providing that info to people in the US.  They do need to comply if the person lives in the EU.   There was an interesting article in the NY Times last week where two journalists, one in the US, and one in Britain, requested their data from a number of different tech firms.  The difference in the data provided to each was astounding.  From one source, the person in the US received one piece of data.  The person in the UK received 543 lines of data!privacy policy

As far as I can see, Twitter has made it relatively easy to get all of your data from them.  Click on your account, then on “Settings and Privacy”.  Near the bottom, you can click on “Request Your Archive”.  You’ll receive an email when the archive is ready to be downloaded.

Did you recieve an updated Privacy Policy or two?  How many?! Did you read any of them?  Let us know!


Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $119/year ($59 for students!), but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Any links to products or services in this post may be affiliate links. If they are, we may receive a small commission when you click on it. Rest assured, your price will be the same!)  If you’d like to receive our newsletters in your email, please click here.

Why do I need a VPN and What is it anyways?

VPN’s

Many of our customers have been asking us about VPN’s lately.  What is a VPN? Do I need a VPN? How do I set up a VPN? With Internet privacy being what it is, more and more people are wondering how they can protect themselves.  A VPN may be the answer.  Let’s answer these questions one at a time:

What is a VPN?

A VPN or Virtual Private Network is encrypting software that masks your identity and internet activity by hiding your IP Address. (Your IDo you need a VPN?P Address is the number associated with your computer or phone that identifies you to the network. It’s a string of numbers like 11.111.11.111 and uniquely identifies you.  If you head over to What Is My IP Address, it will tell you what your IP address is, who your ISP is, and where you are located.)  When you use a VPN, your computer sends your internet activity to a remote server which will then send your request on, but without your identifying IP address. Your ISP (Internet Service Provider) will not be able to see or track your activity.

Do I need a VPN?

If you are traveling in a country with less secure internet practices, you may need a VPN.  If you frequently use the Internet at coffeeshops, you may need a VPN. If you want to keep your internet activity secure for any reason at all, you probably need a VPN. (Remember that just because a public WiFi is called Starbucks, doesn’t mean it is really being provided by the store you are in.  It could also be someone in the parking lot monitoring traffic and collecting as much personal data as they can.)

How do I set up a VPN?

First, do some research to see which VPN provides the features that you want at an affordable price. You can expect to pay under $10/month for a good VPN Service.  Most VPN’s allow you to connect multiple devices. When doing your research, look to see if the company saves your data and what the laws are in the country it operates in. Another feature that some VPNs have is to disconnect you from the Internet if their service stops working for whatever reason.  That way you’re never using the internet without being encrypted.

Once you’ve selected the service, download the software on each device – computer, tablet, phone – and you are good to go!  We like NordVPN:


Was this helpful for you? Let us know in the comments below!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial  (Any links to products or services in this post may be affiliate links. If they are, we may receive a small commission when you click on it. Rest assured, your price will be the same!)

Would you like to receive our newsletters in your email?  Please click here.

3 Best Routers – Does Your WiFi Reach Into Your Yard?

Best Routers

We’ve been getting a lot of questions about routers recently.  What are the best routers?  How do I get the most secure router?  My internet is super fast – can I get a router that is super-fast too? Of course, Chris has his favorite, but I thought it would be good to head over to Amazon to find the very best routers with top ratings.  So I looked for a router which has at least 100 reviews with an average rating above four stars. I’ve also copied an actual review of these three best routers.  (Full disclosure – if you buy something using these links, Geek For Hire may earn a small commission.)

eero Home WiFi System (4.6 Stars / 1,536 Reviews)

Ok, I will admit that I bought these with the full intention of probably having to send them back. Through the years I have tried several different systems to put good wireless throubest routers - eeroghout our 3-story home. I’ve used several different routers, and have had an Apple AirPort Extreme and two Airport Express’ running (which still provide the backbone in the house for our less needy machine system). But nothing I did could get a good signal into the master bedroom in the back of the house, especially with the main router being in the home office upstairs on the other side of the house. My better half constantly let me know I was a poor excuse of a Network Engineer when she wasn’t even able to watch the latest Korean drama in peace while laying in bed.  Unpacking – simple and clean. … Once I had all the Beacons set up I went through the house trying to find a weak spot or dead spot. Couldn’t find one – not one! Guess I won’t be sending this stuff back after all. Sure put a smile on my better half’s face! Oh, and is this thing FAST!!!

NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro Gaming WiFi Router (4.6 Stars / 244 Reviews)

“Being a casual gamer with a DSL connection in today’s world is a real disadvantage. My ping speeds were in the 190s prior to this routbest routers - netgearer. After using the geo filter and anti buffer bloat they dropped into the 20s!!!! Yes, the 20s. Only having 10 MBps, the traffic prioritisation is a must have. I put my PS4 at the top of the list and if somebody decides to fire up youtube while I’m playing its not an issue anymore. This is a game changer. But the real benefit is the DUMA OS. It is perfect for a novice like myself to manage my home network however I want. Kid wont put down the IPad and take out the trash? No problem, one click and that IPad is offline. Want to block sites for certain devices? Done. There are super technical things you can do on this but I’m too scared to mess with those so I don’t. It seems like a lot of money but once you realize the benefits of this you’ll wish you’d have done it sooner.

Linksys Velop Tri-band Whole Home WiFi Intelligent Mesh System (4.5 Stars / 1,656 Reviews)

“I replaced my Apple Airport Extreme with this. It felt like a better experience for Wi-Fi in my house was possible. I HAD best routers - linksysNO IDEA how much better it could be. I bought a SINGLE Velop node and it covers my entire home better than the Airport Extreme *combined* with an Airport Express did. I will likely need a second Velop node come summer to reach our back yard, but my entire house is now completely covered. It gives FULL download speeds from my modem (350Mbps) and I could not be happier. I researched all the Mesh systems out there (Google, Eero, etc.,) and this one seemed the way to go. Of course I didn’t buy the others, but I am VERY VERY happy with the Velop and will recommend it to everyone who asks me about home Wi-fi.

What do you consider the Best Router?

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial 

If you’d like to receive our newsletters in your email, please click here.

Scam Phone Calls – One Simple Thing To Protect Yourself

Scam Phone Calls:

We’re getting more calls for technical support from people who have fallen for one of the scam phone calls. They receive the call, and let the “tech” from “Microsoft” or “Dell” gain access to their machine. Or, the “tech” asks them if they have a particular file on their machine, and then express concern and alarm when the person says “Yes I do have that file.  Is that bad?”.  Of course, this is a file that every Windows machine must have to function, but the average person doesn’t know that. These people are highly skilled in the art of persuasion.  They are very convincing. This is their job, and they won’t want to let you go.

And, it’s not your imagination.  These “bad operators” are stepping up their activity.  Even Microsoft has recognized the problem.  Virus headlines like these keep coming across my newsfeed.

And here are two articles who recognized the scam and played along:

scam phone calls

Phone Operators

From the Microsoft website:

“It is a SCAM!!! Microsoft does not do that nor do they have partners who do that nor do they hire sub-contractors or people or even get volunteers to do that. There are probably thousands of such companies out there doing this every day.”

One Simple Thing to Protect Yourself From Scam Phone Calls:

Remember that Microsoft, or Google, or Dell, or anyone else won’t call you to tell you have a virus.  Those phone calls are always scams.  So, there really is just one thing you can do to protect yourself. Hang up!  These folks are well practiced and very convincing.  Hang up!

Apple Scam Phone Calls:

Sorry, Mac users.  It’s only a matter of time before you start getting targeted too.  As more and more people transition to Mac’s, they won’t let you out of the fun. Your solution is the same.  Hang up!

Be careful with who you allow to access your machine. Hang up if your spider sense starts tingling.

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 days for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial. (Any links to products or services in this post may be affiliate links. If they are, we may receive a small commission when you click on it. Rest assured, your price will be the same!)

If you’d like to receive our newsletters in your email, please click here.

9 Tips For Keeping Your Data Safe during Fire Season

Fire Season

James Peak during Fire Season

I woke up this morning to a hazy, smoky view. I am reminded that it is Fire Season again.  In this case, the fire is two states away, but the smoke is pushed hundreds of miles by the jet stream. Even though the fire is so far away, it is a reminder that when you live in the west, you need to be prepared to evacuate, at a moments notice. Here are our recommendations to be prepared for Fire Season, to keep your data safe, and to make sure your technology continues to work at the shelter.

Recommendations for Fire Season:

  1. Use a laptop for your daily computer.  There is not a lot of difference between a laptop and a desktop anymore, so get the computer that will allow you to grab it fast.  You can still have a large monitor and keyboard on your desk.  If you need to bug-out, just unplug everything.
  2. Get two charging cables for your laptop.  Keep one at your desk and the other in the laptop case.  This way you won’t need to grab anything extra.
  3. Make sure you use the Cloud to back up your data.  An external hard drive can accidentally get left behind.  Or worse, you may not even have time to grab your laptop.   I like Dropbox because I can log onto the Internet from anywhere to easily access my data.
  4. Talk to your cell phone provider about turning your cell phone into a hot spot.  As long as you have access to a good cellular signal, you’ll be able to send a good wifi signal to your laptop from anywhere.
  5. Make sure you have a bunch of fully charged battery packs.  I got two of these iXCC Power Banks several months ago and am constantly using one or the other.  I carry one in my car so if I run low on charge, I can easily get recharged again.
  6. Keep the Geek For Hire phone number handy.  We can talk you through most issues you might be having.  Remember, if you just have a quick question, we don’t charge for phone calls under 15 minutes.
  7. Remember to keep your precious photos and other valuables in a bin by the door ready to go in case you do get evacuated.
  8. Keep your fuel tanks at least half full throughout the fire season.
  9. Grab your laundry basket.  All of your favorite clothes are already in there!

On the bright side, we’ll be treated to some amazing sunrises and sunsets until that fire is under control!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 days for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial. (Any links to products or services in this post may be affiliate links. If they are, we may receive a small commission when you click on it. Rest assured, your price will be the same!)

If you’d like to receive our newsletters in your email, please click here.