Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Six Simple Rules for Living In a Surveillance Society

We are all being watched and our activities recorded with the information to be used against us at the convenience of some faceless NSA nerd. It is a reality we can do nothing about. But there are things we can do to make surveillance more difficult for our security overlords.

1. Keep Several Copies of Important Information Located in Different Countries. As the Guardian newspaper learned to its regret, if you keep all your eggs in one basket it makes it easy for Big Brother to come in and destroy that basket. Information needs to be copies and spread far and wide. If they had copies in the UK, US, Canada, France, and Haiti it would have been significantly more difficult for the All Seeing Eye to find and destroy all of them.

2. Use Handwritten Communication With a Simple, Unbreakable Code. High tech encryption algorithms are useless. Anything encoded by a computer can be cracked by a computer. But old fashioned private key encryption is virtually uncrackable without Big Brother knowing the key. It's importing to not write the key down, that's why your organic brain has a memory feature.

3. Don't Store Secrets On a Cell Phone. Sure, Smart Phones are convenient. But they are convenient for Big Brother too.

4. Don't Carry a Cell Phone With GPS. While we are on the subject of phone, why would your cell phone ever need to know where you are? Dumb phones can be quite useful.

5. Walk, Bicycle, Canoe. Modern cars have GPS, ubiquitous traffic cameras record license plates. Plane and train travel is monitored more severely than in the former Soviet Union. High tech surveillance has a hard time dealing with low tech transportation. Sure, walkers are subject the Stop-and-Frisk but I don't think even NYPD is stopping and frisking cyclists.

6. Use Cash. Cash is so anonymous that government will certainly outlaw it soon.  The mere possession of large amounts of cash is considered proof of criminal intent. Therefore, extreme caution is necessary when using cash but it is the only financial transaction that is not closely monitored.

It is possible, albeit difficult, to live outside the surveillance society. And I can't promise that trying to won't get your name on numerous terrorist watch lists.

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