- Making purchases online comes with privacy implications.
- Here’s how to avoid having a profile built on you based on your purchase and shipping data.
- Set up a PO BOX/UPS box with an alias name/company.
- Use private Bitcoin or Monero to order from online retailer sto alias name/company.
You need to consider the privacy implications when buying things online. You might not realize it, but it’s rather easy to build a profile based on your purchasing habits and shipping information. Normally this info is just used to sell you more bs, but the worst case scenarios spell long-term disaster. Let’s walk through how.
Naturally, packages will need to be physically shipped to you. 99% of people simply order to their homes. Take a look while walking throughout your neighborhood. People throw out the leftover boxes with names and addresses still attached. While this in itself is worrisome, the larger concern is the data marketing trail left behind from buying online.
Your shipping and order information are stored in a database. And this data is used to build a profile on you. This same data is also sold to the highest bidders your retail store has access to. That info will remain in circulation for as long as it can becuase this isn’t a one-time occurrence.
As mentioned in the previous post where we talked about databases, it’s best to avoid having your data aggregated when possible.
A difficult suggestion is to stop ordering things online and just buy what you can in-store, with cash. This isn’t something most people will want to do. So another option is to setup some kind of mail drop for yourself. There are a few ways to go about this.
Private Mail Drops
You can setup a Post Office Box. This isn’t the most private solution as you’ll need to show some kind of identification. If showing ID, you should be able to use a Passport card (It’s a government-issued ID that doesn’t have a physical street address on it).
Most of the time, if you list other people on the PO Box, you will need the person’s ID so an alias doesn’t really work here. Critical thinking here is key.
One interesting point is that your PO Box may still receive mail from its previous owner. This is a perfect opportunity to note this name and then for future reference order items in that name and have it sent to your box.
You can also add a business to the PO Box and then have your orders shipped to the name of the business. Most of the time USPS won’t verify the business name, but your mileage may vary. Test the waters yourself and see what you can get setup.
A more private option are UPS boxes. UPS offers personal and business accounts. You can add more people to a box if you pay the premium of a business account for the UPS box. You can add alias names to the business box. And now you can order online and ship to the alias name that you’ve added to your UPS account.
When it comes to e-commerce, you’ll have to poke and prod to see what works best for you. Avoid using your personal credit card as this defeats the purpose of a private mail drop.
If ordering with a credit card, privacy.com works well to mask your payment info from the vendor, but it’s not a perfect solution. A much better solution is using something like Bitcoin that is not tied to your physical identity (No KYC, properly coin-joined) or Monero.
You should purchase with an alias, so when the time comes for that database to be sold or breached, you don’t have to worry about your true data being exposed.