Everyday we can read about Prism in the big media. Prism is a data-mining software used by the NSA, the national secret service of the USA.
That something like this will happen in the future could have been expected. Until now we’ve seen technology like that only in SiFi kind of action movies, like 24hours for example.
Many of us thought to be save, our privacy is thought to be a far more higher good than the information interests of security agencies. Everyone who said, hey guys, you’re wrong, was stamped to be neurotic, anxious, way to fearful of big brother government. Now after parts of the truth surfaced, people are upset.
The German government wants the US government to immediately release all informations concerning data-mining of German citizens. Who do they believe they are? Are they serious, that the NSA will give them any more information, then the one could be found in the media? If they really believe that, they are simply naive. Besides that, the German government just passed a law, called „Gesetz zur Neuregelung der Bestandsdatenauskunft“, in English something like „act revising the inventory data information“. This law allows security agencies to break into any data-privacy of a person, even if the person just got a parking ticket. It gives the authorities access to passwords, email accounts, chat protocols.
Everything what is considered in non digital live as private and is protected by special laws.
To listen to your phone conversation or to search your home, authorities need a warrant signed by a judge. In digital live, no warrant is needed, they just get the access. And the funny thing in Germany is, neither Social Democrats nor the Greens opposed this law.
The EC also makes pressure that a law about the retention of telecommunication data is passed in every member state.
So why they are all now that upset about what the NSA is doing? Because the NSA is not storing the data by itself, instead they use Apple, Google, Facebook etc. as free mass-storage places of people’s personal data? Or what?
We all should now by now, that modern governments have no interest in protecting civil rights, their interest is to protect their own power and influence.
Just recently two young German students got denied entrance to the US, because the border authorities accused them of planning illegal actions in the US, as proof the authorities showed the students private chats from Facebook.
Benjamin Franklin once wrote: „They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.“ He also said: „Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free government; when this support is taken away, the constitution of a free society is dissolved, and tyranny is erected on its ruins.“ This is the development we are seeing right now.
In Turkey the media didn’t reported in the beginning about the protests on Taksim Square, later lawyers were arrested and Erdogan, the PM of Turkey declared the protestors to be vandalists etc. In Germany a demonstration against the power of banks was beaten down by police and in the US the police was doing nearly the same before in New York with the occupy movement, which was internally marked as being terrorists by the FBI.
Our societies are loosing their liberty, their freedom for which so many people have fought and died in the past.
The sad thing is, most of the people are not interested. Panem et circensem, bread and games, worked already well at the time of the Roman Empire and it’s still functioning.
If you as reader are interested to protect your privacy at least a little bit, here are some tips:
First some big NOs, don’t do this, don’t…
- publish anything on social media, like Facebook or Twitter, you don’t want to read in the newspaper
- chat about personal things with people using Facebook Chat, AIM, Yahoo Chat, Skype or simular
- pass on personal information through email without encrypting it
- save or backup personal data on any cloud service, if a software doesn’t give you a choice like Things, drop it
and here is what you can do:
- use encryption in e-mail, like PGP, GnuPGP or OpenPG
- use your personal hardware for backup or
- use point to point encryption on rented server space
- avoid or minimize the use of personal data
- treat unencrypted email, like sending a postcard
- use Jabber also called XMPP for chatting with a server you can trust via SSL/TLS additional an end-to-end encryption can be used with OpenPGP. The encryption is integrated with some clients like Adium for Mac
- use TOR for brownsing, if you want to sat annonym
- use https whenever possible
For encrypting their are meanwhile easy to use software packets on the market, professional solutions and open Source software as well.
Here are some links:
Generell: GnuPG, OpenPGP
The TOR project
MacOS (for AppleMail): GnuPG
iOS (iPhone, IPad): oPenGP (not free)
Android: The Guardian Project
For Thunderbird: Enigmail
Payed solution from Symantec for example
Point to Point encryption:
Most OSes have that capability built in for the local hard drive, called full disk encryption. Check Point offers a more professional solution for the Mac. There are many solutions on the market, free open source solutions and payed services. The important point is that only you have the key and the control over the key and not the hosting company.