Review Category : Safety & Security Tips

Your All-In-One Guide to Facebook Security and Privacy – Part One

The New Year is a time to look back to the past, but more importantly, it’s a time to reflect on the changes we want to make to improve the quality of our lives. One proactive step you can take this year is to improve the safety and security of your social networking identity. And the social network that we chose to discuss first is Facebook: the most widely-used social media platform around the world.

The first thing you can do to protect your online identity is to control how your share your information. Facebook is about sharing and being connected, but it is important to learn how to manage who can see your information both on and off Facebook.

The settings you choose determine which people and applications can see your information. Your profile includes the content you post on a day-to-day basis (such as status updates, videos, photos) as well as the things you choose to share about yourself (such as your birthday and contact information).

To control what information is shared, click on the “Profile” link on the top right of the screen. Next, customize your info-sharing by clicking on each section in order to make the necessary adjustments to achieve your desired level of privacy.


The Basic Information section (listed first) features content that helps your real-world friends find you. Your name, profile picture, gender, username and networks are always open to “everyone.” In addition, any information you choose to share using an “Everyone” control setting will be considered public information. Also, you can fill out your current city and hometown. As for the birthday, we recommend that you choose the ‘don’t show my birthday in my profile’ option as this piece of information can be used to verify your identity for bank accounts, national insurance,

social security, and can also be used to collect the type of information that could compromise password security.

Your sexual preference is also highly personal information, and unless you really want to, we recommend that you do not disclose it. Listing your sexual preference makes you an easy target for advertisers, and in some cases, it may even provoke homophobic attacks. Your political inclinations and religion fields could also pose potential difficulties; if you choose to fill them, advertisers and other parties may target you. Remember, you can always choose to leave these fields empty.

If you choose to write a bio and enter your favorite quotations, you have more freedom in writing whatever you like as it most likely will not be used against you in any way. The only exception to this is that you enter your password or something that can hint at your password or personal information. Also, remember to click ‘Save Changes’ at the bottom of the page before moving on to the next tab.

Next is your Profile Picture. When setting your profile picture make sure it is not provocative as it is something that can be seen by everyone; some advertisers may even use your profile picture without your permission (unless you specifically opt out, which we will discuss later in the article). Also, keep in mind that people may use or alter your profile picture, so it may be a good idea to have a profile image of something other than yourself. However, be careful to use an image that is not copyrighted (or ask permission), otherwise you may run into legal problems.

Featured People are up next. This is the section where you check off whether you are single or you are in a relationship and also has the option to link to your family members. One thing to remember here, is that if you choose to reveal that you are in a relationship with someone who has a Facebook account, Facebook will send a message to confirm the relationship. Once confirmed, you will see a display link to that person’s account on your profile.

However, if you want to keep your privacy, just say that you are in a relationship without linking to the person and do not enter a name when you click on “Save Changes.”

You can also add your family members to your profile, but keep in mind that they will also have to confirm your request and your profile will contain a link to their pages. If you want to keep your privacy and your family away from people that might cause trouble, it is recommended that you do not link anyone to your page.

Education and Work is something that can help you connect with your peers, but can also make it easier for people to find out a lot of personal information about you. If you don’t want to be honest about where you work, it is best to just leave these fields empty.

In part two we will discuss how to protect your likes and interests from outside marketers. We will also show you how to secure your contact information to optimize your online privacy.

(Via ZD_Net)

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Top 10 Ways to Protect Yourself

self-defense-2Here at BrickHouse Security we get a lot of requests for tips about personal safety. Although you probably face what could be a dangerous situation everyday, there are some simple steps you can do to ensure your safety. The best practices come from a combination of technological and electronic devices, self defense techniques, and good old common sense. From learning how to avoid threatening circumstances to knowing how and when to use personal safety devices, we have compiled a list of the top ten tips for personal safety.

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Not Just For Police Anymore, BrickHouse Launches GPS Tracking For Teens

rocco“This is a subject that’s actually really important to me. Probably because I’m a police officer and a Dad,” said Detective Rocco Deperno during a conversation about GPS tracking. As an active detective, Deperno is more than familiar with GPS tracking through his work. Commonly used by law enforcement, GPS tracking is used primarily to track police vehicles as well as suspects in crimes. But what many people don’t know is that GPS trackers are being adopted by parents mainly to make sure their new teen drivers are being safe and responsible. 

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Where Can You Hide a Nanny Cam?

Todd Morris, CEO of BrickHouse Security, hesitantly presses play and sits back down, bracing himself for the worst. As working parents, Todd and his wife had no choice but to entrust their then one-year-old son to a nanny, and now comes the moment of truth: playing back the nanny camera video. Will she be everything she said she says she was? Caring, helpful, playful? Or will she be like those horror stories you see on the news?

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GPS Tracking Laws Explained

gavelSince the advent of GPS tracking, many debates over its legality have come into play. Is GPS tracking a violation of the Fourth Amendment, that protects citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures? Does GPS tracking exceed a citizen’s reasonable expectation of privacy? As more court cases rely on GPS tracking evidence as part of the investigation, these questions of legality become more and more relevant. Courts continually set precedents that determine GPS tracking legality to build a comprehensive ruling on the subject. In short, is GPS legal? Lawmakers say, yes, as long as certain protocol is followed.

Note: GPS tracking is subject to State law. Please consult your local State laws before using a GPS tracker.

When is OK to track a vehicle using a covert GPS tracker?

  • As long as the car you’re tracking is visible to the public
  • As long as you could obtain the same location information by physically trailing the car
  • As long as you put the GPS in the car while outside of the curtilage of a person’s property

When is it NOT OK to track a vehicle using a covert GPS tracker?

  • When you have to physically hardwire the GPS into the vehicle
  • When you have to break into the car, or open the car to install the tracker
  • Where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy. i.e., inside of a garage or home

The Case Study: Using GPS Tracking Information as Evidence
Let’s start off this explanation of GPS’ legality with a case study. Michael A. Sveum of Wisconsin was convicted of stalking Jamie Johnson in 1996 and was promptly sent to jail. He stalked Ms. Johnson the entire time he was in jail with the help of his sister, and he continued to stalk her when he was released from jail. When Ms. Johnson reported this to the police, police went to his home, walked up his driveway, and placed a GPS tracker on the outside of his car. After following him for some time, the police retrieved the GPS tracker, and found out that Sveum was indeed stalking Ms. Johnson. Armed with the tracking information, police were able to obtain a search warrant and they eventually gathered enough evidence to re-convict Sveum. Sveum immediately appealed the ruling, stating that the police didn’t have the right to place a GPS tracking on his car to begin with because it directly violated the Fourt Amendment.

What the Court of Appeals concluded was that with this case, there was no direct violation of the Fourth Amendment. The police were completely within their own jurisdiction when they trailed the GPS tracker on the car because the car was visible to the general public. This decision was based on two previous cases: U.S. v. Knotts and U.S. v. Karo. What Knotts concluded was that GPS tracking does not violate the Fourth Amendment if the GPS is put on a car in public view. What Karo concluded was that it is legal to track a car and obtain information that could be obtained by manually trailing the car. It makes no difference whether it’s a GPS device tracking the car in these types of places or the police themselves.

Remember, it’s very important to check local and State laws before using a covert GPS tracker to gather location information since these laws vary by state.

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Top 10 Security Gadgets for College Students

dontletWith college looming over the heads of parents and students alike, concerns are starting to transcend worries about making friends and doing well in classes.  The reality is starting to embed itself into the minds of overprotective parents and overprotected kids- they will soon be vulnerable, oblivious, and trusting targets without the oversight of their parents or the protection of the nest. In order to make that transition a little easier, if only to be able to breathe a little easier, we’ve come up with a list of the top 10 security gadgets for college students starting classes in the Fall.
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