That’s the big question in the wake of the NSA surveillance news that’s shaken the nation. There’s no way to block NSA surveillance completely. It’s important to remember that almost all surveillance starts with private companies.
You might not care about all three, but you’ll probably care about one: 1. Look at the Living Social breach as an example: 50 million people’s names, emails, birthdates, and encrypted passwords gone in one hack. The company misuses it in a way you didn’t expect or intend, that violates your privacy, or that makes you uncomfortable. Privacy laws certainly need an overhaul, but regulation isn’t an immediate solution for the everyday Internet user.
Facebook is a champion of this kind of misuse by constantly changing its privacy policies and eroding default protections. For more in-depth guides, we recommend the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Surveillance Self Defense site and
Also note that 1), some of these tools are kind of complicated if you aren’t tech savvy; and 2), many require 2-way encryption to work (so both you and the person you’re communicating with would have to have it installed).
A good starting place if you’re a Firefox user is our collection of simple-to-use privacy add-ons.
Here are some of our favorite tools that you can try: Internet Service Provider (ISP): Sonic Wireless provider: Cricket Encrypt an email account you already have: Thunderbird with Enigmail; Mac Mail with GPGTools; Outlook with GPG4Win Private email clients: Unspyable, Countermail, or Shazzle Search engines: Ixquick and Duck Duck Go Mobile calls: Red Phone, Silent Circle Android proxy: Orbot i OS proxy: Foxy Proxy (configure it as a proxy, not a VPN) Mobile photos: Obscura Cam Text messaging: Text Secure Online tracker blocking: our very own DNTMe Web-based chatting: Adium with OTR, Cryptocat Mobile chatting: Chat Secure (i OS)Virtual private networks (VPNs): i VPN, Private Wifi Hard drive encryption: True Crypt Web browser: Tor Browser (and Mozilla’s Firefox is the best major browser on privacy) Mobile browser: Onion Browser (i OS), Orweb (Android) There’s an emerging consumer privacy movement built around the premise of giving regular web users (regardless of tech-savvy) the power to limit the personal info collected about them, so expect the usability and availability of privacy tools to skyrocket soon.
For example, if you’re a user of our stuff, then you probably know that we have a tool in the works that will help mask your contact information.We’re actually optimistic that people will have privacy 5 years from now than they do today.Adopt the mindset of only giving out the personal data that you absolutely must—for example, at checkout or when signing up for an online account—to significantly reduce your digital footprint. Just as one bad actor can induce a privacy scare, one good actor – like Edward Snowden, or you – can take the necessary steps to reduce your exposure and strengthen your sense of privacy.Please spread the word to the people you know that privacy invasions are a big deal.And realize that powerful web services like Facebook offer zero protection.Most of the recent stories about big data collection and breaches have a central theme: the little guy matters and can do something.