In our social media age, there is an unprecedented level of transparency when it comes to our personal lives. However, there are some things that we may want to keep private – like abortions. This blog post will go over the 5 steps you can take to keep your personal information safe, we’ll outline some simple steps that you can take to maintain your privacy. So, read on for important information about Operational Security.
What is OPSEC?
OPSEC is short for Operations Security. It’s a process that helps to identify and protect classified information or other sensitive information that could be used by adversaries. The goal of OPSEC is to limit the ability of adversaries to gather and use sensitive information. It includes physical security, computer security, personnel security, and more. There are many different techniques that can be used to ensure OPSEC, and they vary depending on the specific situation. But one thing is always important: keeping classified information out of enemy hands. To do that, everyone needs to be aware of the OPSEC process and their role in it.
These steps will help you in keeping your privacy safe:
- be mindful of what you share by limiting who you disclose personal information to
- secure your phone and computer with a strong password, or use a burner phone
- turning off location services on your phone
- paying with cash or pre-paid credit cards
- arrange for transportation to and from the clinic
- having support to enter and exit the clinic
- have a backup plan if anything goes wrong
What are the 5 steps in OPSEC?
The five stages of operations security are as follows:
1. Identify critical information.
When it comes to safeguarding your data, the first step is to identify what would be most harmful to you if it fell into the wrong hands.
For many people, this includes Personally Identifiable Information (PII), financial statements, credit card data, and clinic appointments.
While it’s important to protect all of your data, these are particularly sensitive pieces of information that could have a devastating impact if they were to leak. By doing so, you can help to ensure that your most sensitive data remains safe and sound.
What is critical information?
- Financial information – Credit card and banking information
- Location services & tracking on your smartphone
- Your vehicle identification
- Your home address
- Personal IDs (e.g., Drivers license, Social Insurance Number)
- Key ways to identify you through social media or recognition
Ways to hide critical information are to:
- Pay for most items using cash or pre-paid Visa/Mastercards.
- Set up a separate email and phone number
- By using an encrypted messaging service like Signal or telegraph. Use a secure password on your phone and computer.
- Transportation – Use alternative transportation. Your vehicle and license plate can be tracked.
- Hail a taxi from the street and give the driver an address across the street or a few units down from the clinic’s address, then direct the driver to the proper location as you arrive. This leaves no trace of you booking or calling a ride.
- Inquire about transportation provided by the clinic. They might be able to provide hired or volunteered protection.
- Be mindful of where you park. Look for a safe, well-light area.
- If you are worried that you were followed, go to a public place. When you feel safe and sure you are not followed, you can return home. You can also go to a safe place like family or friends’ houses for safety.
- Limit Social Media usage.
- Do not wear or reveal (e.g., work clothes, tattoos…) anything that could be used to easily identify you.
2. Analyze threats.
In order to keep yourself safe, it is important to identify who poses a threat to your critical information. There are many potential sources of risk, from family members, coworkers, to friends not looking out for your best interests or cannot keep a secret.
By understanding the risks, you can take steps to protect yourself. For example, you might limit access to sensitive data, or encrypt sensitive communications.
By taking these steps, you can reduce the chances that you will be compromised by protestors, government officials, religious fanatics, or other threats.
Be mindful of who you tell & how (when and where) you communicate with the clinic (e.g., not at work where someone could overhear your conversation). Keep most people on a need-to-know basis, and do not use email or phones other people have access to.
3. Analyze vulnerabilities.
In any security plan, it is essential to anticipate where vulnerabilities might occur and to put safeguards in place to protect against them.
The vulnerability analysis stage of security planning is designed to do just that. By examining the potential weaknesses among the safeguards already in place, you can identify which ones leave critical information vulnerable.
This step includes finding any predetermined threats where a lack of awareness leaves information open to attack. By taking the time to conduct a thorough vulnerability analysis, you can ensure that your security plan is as effective as possible.
Plan out your visit to the clinic, prepare what you are going to wear, transportation to and from the clinic, and what you will tell people if you are absent for an extended period of time will keep your identify safe.
4. Assess risks.
One of the most important steps in risk management is to accurately assess the risks that are present. This involves identifying potential vulnerabilities and then determining the threat level associated with each one.
A variety of factors must be considered when making this assessment, including the chances that a specific attack will occur and how damaging such an attack would be. Only by taking all of these factors into account can an accurate assessment be made.
The majority of risk is when you enter or exit the clinic. It’s important you do not live in a constant state of fear. With the appropriate help, support, and planning, you will be ok.
If you are from a state that can prosecute you for having an abortion and are questioned by government officials, it is very important you do not say anything without the legal representation of a lawyer.
5. Apply appropriate countermeasures.
When it comes to preparedness, the last step is always deploying a plan that will help reduce risks. And the best place to start is always with the risks that pose the biggest threat to you and your family.
By taking the time to create a comprehensive preparedness plan, you can help reduce the risks associated with a number of scenarios.
Buy anything you need well in advance, allow time to prepare a contingency plan, find close friends or family that you can rely on. Remember your planning if you become stressed or overwhelmed.
By limiting access to who you tell, securing your phone and computer with a good password, paying with cash or pre-paid credit cards, turning off location services on your phone, and having support to enter and exit the clinic, you will keep yourself safe.
While we cannot guarantee your safety 100%, following these simple tips can help you stay safe and protect your personal information.