Spying - the Tricks From Privacy Experts

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    How to Keep the NSA at Bay: The TricksFrom Privacy Expertsby Winston Ross Jun 8, 2013 4:45 AM EDT

    Do government surveillance disclosures have you fearing UncleSams reach? Winston Ross looks at PGPs, secret phone apps, and

    burners like The Wireto cloak your digital trail.

    66

    Its a fairly safe bet that most people are in one of four camps about all this National

    Security Agency-spying-on-Americans business: uninformed, apathetic, pissed off, or

    paranoid.

    Before you know i t , Barack Obama w i l l personal ly be digging thr ough your garbage or h iding in your closet. (NatiHarnik/AP)

    For the uninformed, its probably a good time to get up to speed. Before you know it,

    Barack Obama will personally be hiding in your closet.

    For the apathetic, Dude, WAKE UP: You think because you live in the suburbs and

    you work at an insurance company that Big Brother will never come for you? What

    about that affair with your office secretary last year? What if her brother gets caught

    up in some kind of sting operation and they check his phone records and then herphone records and then police show up at your door asking why you called her 50

    times last week, while your wife is sitting in the living room? What if they transpose a

    digit or two and mix you up with a suspected terrorist and break down your door in the

    middle of the night and shoot your dog? OK never mind, just flip back to The

    Bachelor.

    For those of you either pissed off or paranoid, its time you understand that there are

    plenty of ways to cloak yourself from Uncle Sam especially if theyre not already

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    most clever privacy advocates, youre probably fucked).

    But wait, you hardly ever use the Internet? Your digital trail is pretty small? Skip on

    over to MyShadow if you believe that nonsense. There, you can find out exactly what

    kind of a shadow your computer and mobile-phone usage casts. Its pretty scary and

    fascinating.

    For those of you still understandably freaked out: If you just want to avoid getting

    caught up in the dragnet, having your phone/email/search history handed over by

    some spineless attorney at Verizon or Google or Facebook, there are ways to hide

    from Uncle Sam:

    Encrypt yourself. If youre using Facebook and Gmail in the same Pollyannish fashionthat most of us do, you gotta wrap that up. Get to know E2E (end to end) encryption,

    says Dan Auerbach, staff technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. It doesnt

    mean you have to find some obscure email provider and kiss your (online) social

    networks goodbye, but it does mean if you want to have super-secret communication

    with certain super-secret people, you both must install software such as OTR to be all

    stealthy about it. Which software depends on which operating system and device

    youre hoping to cloak, of course, but all that info is a few clicks away. Its very easyto use, Auerbach tells The Daily Beast.

    PGP it. A slightly beefier encryption option: PGP, short for pretty good privacy. That

    refers to software that can encrypt chat communications, emails, and more. Symantec

    offers one kind of PGP software, but there are many more options out there. Just

    remember that both sneaky users have to be using it, or its pointless.

    Make secret phone calls. Phone calls are a little tougher, Auerbach says. There once

    was a cool app called RedPhone that could encrypt phone calls, but its no longer

    being maintained. Nowadays, the best bet is probably Silent Circle, which last

    October released a surveillance-proof smartphone app that lets people make secure

    phone calls and text messages. The company has released a data-transfer version of

    the app that lets users send filesphotos, spreadsheets, blueprintsfrom one user to

    the next. The user can set a nifty timer that burns whatevers sent from both devices

    after five minutes, or however long you want it to be, Bond-style.

    Go even deeper. If youre already under the microscope, doing whatever youre trying

    to secretly do without detection is going to be pretty difficult. Most of what everyones

    in a tizzy about at the moment is the kind of broad, dragnet-style spying where the

    government gobbles up huge data banks and mines through them for links and clues.

    B t if f li h h t ith il l th d

    The goal of all these tactics is tomake it hard for the government to

    get you.

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    The safest way to use a burner is not for very long, but buying a new cellphone,

    laptop, or tablet once a week can get expensive. If you want to hang on to the same

    one, advises Nicholas Weaver, a researcher at the International Computer Science

    Institute in Berkeley, Calif., just be sure to take it to a crowded place every time you

    use it and dont bring any of your other devices with you. If the government matches

    up your burner use with a ping from a cellphone tower to your regular phone, yourescrewed.

    More on that, from Weaver, here.

    Cover your tracks.

    If you stay logged into Facebook (like most of us do,) then every single time you visita Web page with a like button on it, that Web page is tattling back to Facebook that

    you just went there, Weaver says, which means when the government can just

    subpoena Facebook records to figure out where youve been. Logging in and out all

    the time is a nuisance, of course. But so is having a SWAT team rip up your

    apartment. So at least set up your Web browsers to clear cookies all the time. Thats

    a start.

    Check out Tails. Its a little piece of software that can live on a thumb drive or DVD,

    and it can boot your whole operating system from any computer, anytime. So you can

    set it up with all the encryption software you want and its all pre-loaded.

    OK, am I cool now? Probably not. If the government wants to get you, theyll get you.

    The goal of all these tactics is to make it hard for the government to get you, hard

    enough that if they really want to muck around with your life, theyre going to have to

    invest in enough resources to sneak past the firewalls.

    What you can do is try to make it more expensive for somebody such as the NSA to

    monitor you successfully, McCarthy told The Daily Beast. If you keep raising the

    price, theyre either going to have to commit to targeting you as an individual or

    accept that theyre just not going to get your stuff.

    Like The Daily Beast on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for updates all day

    long.

    Winston Ross is a national correspondent forNewsweek& The Daily Beast, based

    in the Pacific Northwest.

    For inquiries, please contact The Daily Beast at editorial@thedailybeast.com.

    Google, Facebook Inc, National Security Agency, Technology,

    U.S. News

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    NEWEST | OLDEST | Top Comments

    SparkyVA

    3 hours ago

    FMHilton6 hours ago

    UrFecalFecal1 day ago

    Author doesn't know that

    1. Encryption is a flag for the Government to look at you closer. For this to work we would

    need the vast majority of people using encryption.

    2. Those who write encryption software usually leave a trap door (a key that will unencryptany message sent with that software). The Feds and the CIA will pay these software writersbig bucks for these trap doors, and it is (or was) "patriotic" to do so.

    3. The best encryption software comes from Israel. Nope I am not Jewish. But their nationhas been under cyber attack for a long time, and they, in self defense have written somemighty good software. Unfortunately because we give Israel Billions in arms for theirdefense, the encryption software trapdoors from there have probably also been given to theCIA already.

    That leaves you with the only option of writing your own encryption software, which may getyou a knock on the door.

    LIKE REPLY

    How about giving up before we start going nuts?

    Mostly because:

    1. You get social security numbers assigned at birth. First tracking device of your life.

    2. Children get fingerprinted at school. Used to be 4th grade, probably kindergarten by now.Another device to track you with.

    It flows from there.

    LIKE REPLY

    Hey NSA, look at me; pssst, over here. Look, I just want to say I love Obama, Democrats,Progressivism, Marxism, the Frankfurt School, Affirmative Action, preferences for mihorities,Black Privilege, Hate Whites, Christianity, and agree that America should submit to a OneWorld Governance of a small, elite nomenklatura and apparatchiks.

    Now, you can give me some privacy as I submit. Go after those horrible Tea PartyConstitutionalists, small government, balanced budget racists and fill-in-the-blanks.

    LIKE REPLY

    johnlear

    1 day ago

    they should watch you for being a "DICK".............., an amusing one...............!

    LIKE REPLY

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    Casimcea2 days ago

    easton

    2 days ago

    LIKE REPLY

    It is all BS or I should say B$. Once the $ goes teats up in the B$ the gravy train will end.THIS IS the big picture and common denominator. War on terror, drugs, illiteracy,....youname it. IS ALL about the $ in B$. Want to make a campaign contribution to the republic?Buy precious metals.

    LIKE REPLY

    Is this a parody? The more information there is the har