For a long time, I've been pretty paranoid about government spying activities. You could probably guess from my advocacy of TOR, my privacy plugins discussions and my refusal to get a Paypal. On top of this, I should probably add that I only voice call over encrypted services and even use this site over the TOR network (even if you 100% trust Starling, you should realize that by giving InkBunny your IP address or identifying details you are also placing trust in his ISP and the Dutch police).
I often get mocked and made fun of for this paranoia, but in recent weeks, we've seen two massive breaches of our rights to privacy:
A) The NSA/PRISM Debacle
Where to even start with this one? The idea that the government has the right to know who you call, how long for and to collect such metadata in such a blanket fashion is alarming. I've assumed that they've been doing this for a number of years but didn't expect the mainstream media to get a scoop on it that made it so mainstream.
B) The Liberty Reserve Shutdown
Some of you may know that popular payment processor Liberty Reserve was shut down a few weeks ago and all funds in it were confiscated. Why? Because they allowed you to trade funds with a pseudonym. That's all: they allowed you to sign up as 'Evil Capitalist' instead of a real name, and to trade.
So, what can we do in order to protect our own privacy?
1) Use TOR on every site where it's viable, see my guide (earlier journal) for details on how to do this. Please don't be put off by the slight slowdown, this is your security.
2) Overload the listeners. TrackMeNot is a plugin for Firefox (do NOT use Chrome) which will send a fake search every 10 seconds to Google, Yahoo and Bing. This significantly devalues the metadata they have on you.
3) Realize your phone calls are not private. Use torchat or encrypted VOIP if you don't want the government to know who you're talking to.
4) Use Bitcoin. The currency is pseudonymous, very difficult to trace and incredibly cheap to transfer. It is also VERY resilient to any attempt to take it down (there is no central issuer).
If you have strong anti-government views, if you look at or draw cub pornography, if you have any fetishes or interests which are outside the norm, you are on your way to a blacklist. Please do not allow them to harvest your data and data about your clients and suppliers.
5 years, 7 months ago
16 Jun 2013 12:24 CEST