In light of the recent hubbub about the NSA having access to pretty much all your communications, the first question seems to be not “How can they do that?” because let’s face it…they aren’t supposed to. You know it and I know it. The question is not even “Do they CARE that they aren’t supposed to be doing this?” because they don’t. The only real question is “How can I stop them from doing it to me?”
That is what this post is all about–making your communications secure from prying eyes.
We get it, Joe Citizen. You want your privacy. You want to be able to talk on the internet without everyone and their mother at the InsertAlphabetAgencyHere looking at it.
You’re mad about the NSA snooping. You aren’t advocating a violent overthrow of the government.
You’re not running a domestic terrorism group (well, there are those new DHS criteria…). You’re not even sending around emails
about what a dismal failure President Obama’s administration is (THIS hour, anyway). You just want to be able to chat with friends, conduct your financial business, and argue with your spouse without Big Daddy Gummint all up in your biz. Believe it or not, that’s your right.
Harry “Who Cares” Reid may blow it off and say the government’s been “doing that stuff for years,”but we’ve got a news flash for Harry: just because you’ve been doing it a while doesn’t make it any more okay. Ask Ted Bundy … oh, wait.
The bottom line is,
We get it—partly because we value our privacy too. So, because we are all about free speech here—and private speech, too, now that I think about it—here’s a list of ways you can circumvent the government privacy leeches. Granted, this list isn’t all-inclusive, and let’s face it, I’m not an uber-geek. I do, however, read a lot of uber-geek stuff, and so I’m pretty confident with the list I’m about to show you.
Keep in mind that you will need to change some of your habits if you decide you really want to keep your personal stuff private. Most people are too lazy…but if you’re not, here’s the list from the guys over at Wired, as well as a few other nooks and crannies I find things in:
For internet browsing, use Tor. It comes with a full bundle that you can use on any kind of Windows from XP to 8, Mac, or Linux if that’s your flavor. I won’t bore my political readers with the long explanation of why Tor keeps your internet browsing private, but if you want to read all about it you can check out the Wikipedia entry, or just go to the website.
For email, use Hushmail. It’s free, it’s secure, and if you’re done using that email, no worries. You can either delete it, or stop signing into it. It’ll be gone in 2 weeks, along with all those fan emails you sent to Justin Bieber. See? You do want privacy.
For phone service, use Silent Circle. Their Silent Suite has 3G, 4G, and WiFi encrypted mobile video & voice, plus email, plus browsing, plus texts. It’s $49/month but worth it if you’re willing to pay it.
Use Throw Away Phones – If you really don’t want to use a paid service, you could always buy a burner phone (or ten).
For instant messaging use OTR (off the record), found here. Otherwise, your stuff is wide open. (One important note: Gmail’s “off the record” setting does NOT mean it’s not being logged…it’s just not retrievable by the user. The data miners can find it just fine.)
Obviously, we aren’t saying it’s okay to hide any illegal and/or nefarious activities. If you’re using this article for that, then I hope you do get busted.
That being said, the average citizen simply wants to be able to have a conversation without worrying about how many other people have seen it, and whether that conversation is being used against them somehow. We have the right to free and unfettered speech.
We have the right to privacy, and quite frankly, it’s a load of BS that political blogs even have to post a list of ways that law-abiding, regular citizens can keep their overreaching government’s nasty little hands off our private communications, yet here we are. It’s not about being able to do illegal things, it’s about being able to exist without Big Brother breaking half the Bill of Rights to watch you do it.
If you’re just a regular person who wants some privacy, check out the links above, and hopefully you find a solution that works for you. Feel free to suggest other tools in the comments; after I’ve checked them out to make sure you’re not trying to send my readers to an Asian porn site for circus midgets, I’ll be glad to post them with credit to you.
Kit Lange is the managing editor of Victory Girls, a conservative female blog about politics…and apparently now security, too.DONATE
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