This blog is about my musings and thoughts. I hope you find it useful, at most, and entertaining, at least.
Many groups have designated today The Day We Fight Back Against Mass Surveillance. In addition to contacting your legislators and letting them know that you are not OK with how the NSA has handled itself, there are many things you can do that can keep you safe and make it (potentially) more difficult for you to be spied on. I say potentially, because in the end, if the person you’re having a conversation or sharing data with leaks it, it’s leaked. That said, here are some ways that the average person can start the process of protecting themselves:
Some of this may seem scary at first, but just remember this: None of the above will leave you in a place where you can’t get help or you hurt your computer. Feel free to play around! The more we use technology to our benefit, the less easy it is for us to be tracked and spied on.
Also, this is just a jumping off point. There are many other projects out there that can help to keep you secure and anonymous online. Some, like Bitcoin require a lot of coöperation from many other people. Some, like Mumble require a little setup, but afterwards are very simple to use. Find your local geek or email me if you have any questions or are curious about other projects out there. (Note: I’m not an end-all-be-all resource, but I can be a jumping off point.)
The important thing is to start thinking about your anonymity and privacy. My wife noticed that an app she got to track her walks for her own use was also sending them as Facebook posts. She disabled that right away because she didn’t want people to know where she was all the time and disabled that feature. (She did decide to allow the app to post to a work-out tracking site that doesn’t make that information public, but it was a choice she made and she understands who she is trusting with this information). Now she makes sure she understands better what an app does with her data before using it.
Simply thinking about what you’re giving who is probably the biggest and most important step a non-techy can make.