Member Directory

Don Erickson is CEO of the Security Industry Association (SIA), appointed on Nov. 1, 2011. He previously served as SIA director of government relations from 2006 to 2011. As CEO, Erickson leads implementation of SIA’s Board Strategic Framework and oversees SIA’s collaboration with industry and vertical market associations and organisations. He is responsible for management of SIA’s operations and programs including government relations, education and standards initiatives and serves as the organisation’s primary liaison to ISC Events. Prior to joining SIA, Erickson served as manager of legislative affairs for Alcatel and legislative director for the Organisation for the Promotion and Advancement of Small Telecommunications Companies (OPASTCO).

One of the most accessible and widely recommended self-defense tools is pepper spray. It's compact, easy to carry, and can be effective at deterring an attacker without causing permanent harm. The active ingredient, Oleoresin Capsicum, causes immediate but temporary blindness, respiratory distress, and an intense burning sensation. This incapacitation provides the victim with a critical window for escape. However, its effectiveness can vary depending on the attacker's tolerance, wind direction, and distance.

Stun Guns and Tasers

Electric shock devices such as stun guns and Tasers offer another layer of defense. These tools deliver a high-voltage, low-current electrical charge that disrupts the assailant's muscle functions, causing temporary paralysis or severe muscle spasms. This affords the victim time to flee to safety. It's vital to get close to the attacker to use a stun gun effectively, which may not be feasible or safe in all situations. Tasers, on the other hand, can be used from a distance but require accurate aim to hit the target.

Lethal Options

Firearms

Firearms, which can be acquired from a reputable gun store, are among the most lethal self-defense weapons available. They can offer significant stopping power and be effective at deterring or neutralizing an immediate threat from a distance. However, purchasing a firearm from a gun store also comes with considerable responsibility. Proper training, legal considerations, safe handling, and secure storage are paramount. The psychological and emotional consequences of using a firearm in self-defense should not be underestimated.

Knives

While knives are common tools and may seem like a practical choice for self-defense, they require close combat and considerable skill to be used effectively and safely. The risk of the knife being turned against the user is significant, and in many jurisdictions, carrying a knife for self-defense may have legal implications.

Alternative Self-Defense Tools

Tactical Flashlights

Tactical flashlights can serve as an unexpected yet effective self-defense tool. The intense beam of light can temporarily blind or disorient an attacker, providing a window to escape or call for help. Additionally, many tactical flashlights are designed with rugged exteriors that can be used as striking tools.

Personal Alarms

Loud, attention-grabbing personal alarms can be a valuable asset in deterring an attacker. The sudden, loud noise can startle the assailant and attract the attention of bystanders, potentially preventing an attack.

Choosing the Right Weapon

Selecting the appropriate weapon for self-defense is a deeply personal decision influenced by various factors, including legal restrictions, personal comfort level, physical abilities, and lifestyle considerations. It is crucial to weigh the pros and cons of each option carefully.

Training and Awareness

Regardless of the weapon chosen, it's essential to accompany it with proper training and situational awareness. Understanding the strengths and limitations of your chosen defense tool, practicing its use, and being aware of your surroundings can significantly impact your safety.

Legal Considerations

It's also vital to familiarize yourself with the legal implications of carrying and using a self-defense weapon in your jurisdiction. Laws vary widely, and what's legal in one area may be prohibited in another.

Conclusion

In a world that can sometimes be dangerous, taking steps to ensure one's safety is both wise and necessary. While there are various methods and tools available for self-defense, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The most effective weapon is the one that suits your needs, abilities, and legal constraints, coupled with a strong sense of awareness and preparedness. Remember, the goal of self-defense is not to conquer the assailant but to survive and escape the situation unharmed.

Device tracking refers to observing the whereabouts, behaviors, and information stored on a mobile device without the permission or awareness of the owner. Smartphones, tablets, and laptops have become essential in our everyday lives, making this problem more prevalent.

Unauthorized individuals, such as hackers, government entities, and malicious actors, may exploit device tracking to obtain confidential data, monitor user activities, and commit identity theft. This article focuses on recognizing the typical signs that your device is being tracked and taking steps to safeguard against it.

Types of Tracking

Tracking devices are gaining popularity and becoming a trend in both personal lives and the business world for safety and security purposes for example to keep an eye on potentially vulnerable family members or to check that work devices are not being used for nefarious purposes. However, the specifics of how devices are tracked can vary in terms of their intent and use.   

Stalkerware

Stalkerware is a more intimate invasion since it involves physically installing the software on the victim's device by someone familiar with them, such as a partner or parent. This software is commonly used for monitoring purposes by individuals who want to track specific targets closely, including monitoring their location, calls, messages, and even camera or microphone access.

Spyware

Spyware is typically more well-known as a cyber threat and it monitors an individual's actions on a device, keeping tabs on visited websites, communications, applications, and other activities. It collects data without your permission, including sensitive information such as login credentials and personal documents.

Location Tracking

Location tracking uses GPS technologies to keep track of a device's location. Although location tracking may provide certain benefits, such as navigation and location-specific services, constant tracking raises privacy and security issues by allowing the monitoring of an individual's movements without their permission.

Online Tracking

Online tracking involves gathering user information using websites, cookies, and advertising networks. Advertisers and third-party organizations use tracking methods to build users' profiles, display personalized ads, and study their browsing activities. This activity threatens privacy and leaves users vulnerable to potential misuse and control of their data.

Social Media Tracking

Detailed profiles of users are developed for personalized advertising and content based on their interactions, preferences, and connections. This widespread monitoring has raised issues regarding user privacy and data safeguarding.

When Is Tracking Devices Okay?

Privacy and security are essential rights as digital tools are deeply integrated into our daily routines. Safeguarding your privacy has become increasingly important due to the significant increase in data collection and monitoring abilities. Despite concerns about privacy and surveillance associated with tracking devices, there are situations where their use can be justified and practical:

Consent and transparency: Tracking devices are acceptable when individuals voluntarily agree, or opt-in and give consent on apps, email newsletters, or websites. Businesses and apps would communicate openly about the purpose, extent, and timeframe of tracking activities to ensure that users are fully aware of and agree to the terms of tracking. 

Safety and security: Safety and protection are significantly improved with the use of tracking devices, especially in times of emergencies or high-risk scenarios. Tracking devices are crucial in locating missing persons, monitoring at-risk groups, and organizing emergency operations. 

Legitimate business purposes: In business environments, monitoring devices have valid purposes, including managing fleets, tracking assets, and controlling inventory. These uses improve business functions, increase effectiveness, and protect vital assets.

Public interest and welfare: Tracking devices may be considered acceptable in situations where they benefit the public or contribute to societal welfare. This can include tracking for environmental purposes, disease prevention, and public health efforts to protect the community's well-being.

Common Signs of Device Tracking

If you suspect your device is being tracked, a few telltale signs can alert you to its presence.

Unusual Battery Drain

Excessive battery drain can be a telltale sign of device tracking activities. Tracking apps running in the background or constant communication with tracking servers can significantly impact battery life. To differentiate between normal battery usage and abnormal drain caused by tracking, monitor battery usage statistics and investigate any unexplained spikes or patterns.

Suspicious Data Usage

Tracking activities often entail the transmission of data to remote servers, leading to increased data consumption. Keep an eye on your device's data usage and be wary of any significant spikes or unexplained data transfers, particularly from unknown apps or services.

Unexplained Account Activity

Notice unusual activity in your online accounts, such as unrecognized logins, changes in account settings, or suspicious transactions. These could indicate unauthorized access to your accounts, possibly through tracking or hacking activities.

Invasive Permissions Requests

If you receive frequent requests from apps or websites for intrusive permissions, such as access to your camera, microphone, contacts, or location, without a clear justification, these excessive permission requests may signal tracking or data collection practices.

Abnormal Network Activity

Detecting unusual network traffic or data transfers on your device, especially during idle periods or when no apps are actively in use could indicate background processes or hidden trackers transmitting data to remote servers.

Device Overheating

Pay attention when your device becomes unusually hot to the touch, even when performing simple tasks or in standby mode. Intensive tracking activities, such as continuous data transmission or processing, can strain the device's resources and cause overheating.

Device Rooting or Jailbreaking

Rooting or jailbreaking can bypass security measures and grant unauthorized access to system files, making the device more vulnerable to tracking or malware. If you find that your device has been rooted (Android) or jailbroken (iOS) without your knowledge or consent, chances are your device is being tracked.

Suspicious Files or Apps

Unfamiliar files or apps installed on your device, especially those from untrusted sources or sideloaded without proper verification could be malicious apps designed to track your activities or compromise your device's security.

Preventive Measures

Preventative measures can significantly reduce the chances of your device being traced, which helps safeguard your privacy and sensitive information from being accessed without authorization.

Use of Privacy Settings

Use the privacy features offered on your devices and platforms to limit tracking and data collection. Customize your privacy settings to limit the sharing of sensitive information and manage how your data is shared with third parties.

Regular Software Updates

Ensure that your devices and apps are regularly updated with the latest security patches and updates. Consistently updating your software can reduce the chances of cyber threats exploiting vulnerabilities and improve the overall security of your devices. 

Installing Security Software

Ensure your online security by installing trusted antivirus and anti-tracking programs to prevent harmful threats and tracking attempts. Look for software that offers real-time scanning, ad blocking, and privacy protection for complete security protection.

Use of VPNs

Use virtual private networks (VPNs) to secure your internet traffic and hide your IP address, improving online privacy and anonymity. Choose a trustworthy VPN provider and set up your devices to use VPN protection for safe browsing and data transfer.

Be Mindful of App Permissions

Be careful when accessing unsecured public Wi-Fi networks, as they carry potential security threats. It is advisable to use VPNs or mobile data for a safe internet connection while on the move and refrain from sending any confidential data over public networks.

Regularly Check for Anomalies

Regularly review your device's activity, configurations, and apps to identify any possible tracking or security breaches. Respond as soon as possible if you notice any suspicious behavior like unauthorized access or data breaches.  

Final Thoughts

To ensure your privacy and security online, it is essential to identify signs of tracking, understand different tracking methods, and take precautionary steps. Keep your devices safe from tracking and monitoring by remaining alert, valuing privacy, and being proactive.