Remaining Private on the Internet

In previous posts I talked about the mass surveillance by the NSA and GCHQ, and also posted an excellent video that explains about the threat to privacy in the modern age on the internet. If you are worried about privacy on the internet then there are many tools out there that can help you. I thought I would list a few of them here. Some of the tools are free, and some are not.

Tor Browser Bundle

First up is the Tor Browser Bundle. This is a modified Firefox web browser that is aimed at making your web browsing anonymous. By this I mean that no one can trace what sites you are visiting. It does this by redirecting your browser traffic through thousands of other relays.

Tor Browser Bundle
Tor Browser Bundle

This does make your browsing experience a lot slower, but that’s the price you pay for anonymity. Here is their official blurb.

The Tor software protects you by bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world: it prevents somebody watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location, and it lets you access sites which are blocked.

The Tor Browser Bundle lets you use Tor on Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux without needing to install any software. It can run off a USB flash drive, comes with a pre-configured web browser to protect your anonymity, and is self-contained.

TEDX Presentation : How the NSA Betrayed the Worlds Trust

Just before the New Year I posted an article on Privacy and Surveillance where I talked briefly about the Edward Snowden NSA document leaks. In that article I posted a link to the Electronic Frontier Foundations timeline of events. There is a tremendous amount of information there and if I am honest, the average person probably isn’t going to wade through it all, unless you have a special interest in privacy and security.

Mikko Hypponen at TedX Brussels : How the NSA betrayed the world's trust
Mikko Hypponen at TedX Brussels : How the NSA betrayed the world’s trust. Click the image to watch the video.

I came across an excellent presentation by a guy called Mikko Hypponen at a TedX event in Brussels. This talk is just under 20 minutes and does a great job of explaining about what the problem is with the mass spying and surveillance and why you should care. As I stated before, most people are not going to wade through the documents leaked by Edward Snowden, but I do recommend watching this presentation. It is only 20 minutes long and does a great job of explaining why you should be concerned.

Privacy and Surveillance

2013 has been an interesting year for whistle blowing about surveillance from the American and British governments. Earlier in the year Edward Snowden, a former NSA technologist, decided to put his own life on the line and leak a huge cache of documents about the NSA’s surveillance capabilities against its own people in the USA. This goes against the 4th amendment in the constitution that prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures and requires any warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause.

Privacy and Surveillance
Privacy and Surveillance

The notion of surveillance is a complex topic. There are a lot of bad people out there that want to cause America, Britain, and Europe a lot of harm, and we need a way to keep tabs on these people. In this case I believe surveillance is justified. There will always be threats from domestic threats which also need to be monitored. The question here though is, have our governments crossed the line with the mass data collection that they are doing. In my opinion yes they have, but now this is all starting to get out in the open, maybe something will start to be done about it, hopefully. This all really started when George Bush gave the NSA the remit to collect this data after the September 11th attacks against the USA.

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