Trip Elix has worked as an investigator and associated with business leaders along with the computer underground. He has been a computer forensic technician; security consultant, administrator, programmer, and system analyst, who has used or owned almost every version of every operating system used since the 1980’s. He currently attends security conferences held by the computer underground including Defcon, Hope, and Bsides. Learn more about Trip at and download his free guide “Browse Without Being Tracked” – which is discussed during this episode of The Safety Doc Podcast. HACKERS ARE NOT THE BAD GUYS. Trip states, “People often forget that Facebook itself was written and maintained by hackers. For the most part they do the right thing.” He regularly attends conferences for hackers and shares that the emphasis of such events is to find vulnerabilities in software – including a “capture the flag” challenge. The goal, as some in the general public might assume, is not to trade industry secrets on how to harvest personal data or extort individuals or companies. This is a misperception. Many companies, including the popular computer security firm Malwarebytes, openly welcomes and encourages independent researchers to report vulnerabilities in products and often reward the researchers with hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Mr. Elix notes that there are “bad actors” in any profession, but for the most part, we should recognize that computer hackers are well-meaning individuals that alert companies to gaps in their electronic security protocols. I recall the 1983 fictional movie WarGames in which a high school student unwittingly hacks into a military supercomputer while searching for new video games. He ultimately contributes to closing a system loophole that could have brought upon the rogue launch of ballistic missiles.  With all of this being said, Trip certainly brings awareness to the intersection of large corporations and harvesting personal data. YOUR CHILD’S DATA IS FOR SALE AT A BARGAIN PRICE. Trip works extensively to protect the privacy of children and in 2017 released “Protecting Kids Online!: Keeping Them Safe from Perverts, Stalkers, Data Thieves and Scammers.” The book is available in multiple formats on Amazon or from his website. He states, “Being spooked by your own devices is not OK. The sanctuary of our homes is being invaded by companies that sell what we do and it not just what you do online. Children’s information is for sale. Anyone can the buy the name, address, and phone number of the children in your neighborhood. The same companies that bring us spam, harassing telephone calls and junk mail are now endangering our children. You don’t have to put up with any of it there are things you can do.” Mr. Elix exposes the abuses of those that are using big data to threaten our lives and are the direct causes of Identity theft for millions. He explains to Dr. Perrodin that for the price of a few postage stamps, a parent can become empowered by mailing the primary data brokers a letter directing them to not sell their child’s information. YOU STILL NEED A SOCIAL MEDIA PROFILE. Dr. Perrodin identified a trend in school safety to encourage youth to abandon, or greatly limit, use of social media. While such a measure might seem to have surface merit, Mr. Elix quickly counters that the absence of a social media profile could be detrimental to youth during the college admission or job application process. Instead, he lays out a plan to build a robust, social-media-competent profile for youth including a non-political blog – perhaps about a hobby, cooking or anything that won’t be subject to a skewed interpretation due to the shifting sands of time. He also offers a blueprint for developing a safer social media profile for children under the age of 14. This is absolutely vital knowledge decreasing the risk that a child might become the target of a groomer. A RIGHT TO PROPERTY. Trip begins the show with the story of how his entire neighborhood had been the target of an identity thief. This admission seems counter-intuitive given Mr. Elix’s deft knowledge of privacy protection, yet it reveals that countless companies collect our information and sell it to the highest bidder. And, that information is then packaged per specific subset characteristics and legally re-sold to data miners for as little as $15. He urges people to explore the website “Mailing List Finder” to discover that over 60,000 postal, email and telephone mailing lists from more than 1,400 vendors are for sale to anyone. Your personal data is on those lists! The site address is  Trip’s 2015 book, “A Right to Property – It is your information” has received glowing reviews. It is available in multiple formats on Amazon or his website. LEARN THE SECRETS THAT THE HACKERS USE TO LIVE UNDER THE RADAR.  Several of these questions and points are discussed during this punchy episode: (1) Who is tracking us and why, it is not only our own government; (2) Why privacy isn’t about hiding anything and how apathy can make you a victim; (3) What’s the first sign that your personal and private info is at risk; (4) What is a data pimp; (5) How is artificial intelligence going to affect us; (6) Are government agencies, our leaders, America’s infrastructure, the corporate world doing anything to protect us; (7) What’s the single most effective thing people can do to protect themselves; (8) What do you think of those loyalty cards given out by everyone from gas stations to casinos; (9) How can you stop companies from selling your info; (10) Why do you say that hackers are actually protecting us? FOLLOW DR. PERRODIN: Twitter @SafetyPhD and subscribe to The Safety Doc YouTube channel & Apple Podcasts RSS feed. SAFETY DOC WEBSITE & BLOG: David will respond to comments & emails. The Safety Doc Podcast is hosted & produced by David Perrodin, PhD. ENDORSEMENTS. Opinions are those of the host & guests and do not reflect positions of The 405 Media or supporters of “The Safety Doc Podcast”. The show adheres to nondiscrimination principles while seeking to bring forward productive discourse & debate on topics relevant to personal or institutional safety. Email David: LOOKING FOR DR. TIMOTHY LUDWIG, PHD? Dr. Perrodin’s “Safety Doc Podcast” negotiates school and community safety. To be informed about industrial safety, please contact Appalachian State University Professor Dr. Timothy Ludwig, PhD, at LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS EPISODE'S GUEST:  

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