January 20, 2016 at 12:50 am #46734
I wasn’t sure which topic to put this under, but since it would involve a bit of work regardless of which of the many projects one chooses to work on, this seemed to be as good as any.
The EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) has been involved in privacy and protection issues for many years, and has always had some good information. I just found that they’ve fairly recently completely redone their master list of information and projects, because the old page linked in my browser had disappeared (but they nicely supplied a link to the all new, improved version.
Got questions about encryption? Use of TOR or VPNs? How to secure an iPhone or Android (hah hah!)? How to wipe data successfully? How to protect your computer in all sorts of ways and situations? And even what to do if you’re going to a protest and carrying a cell phone with you? You can find this and much more here:
Plan to spend a while even just exploring the contents, and then even more with any chosen projects. But the personal privacy and protection may be well worth a relatively few minutes of time (well, perhaps a few hours if you dig through and use it all). Great set of resources.
And you’ll see why we refuse to use our cell phones for any kind of on line ordering, banking, or virtually anything where we have to enter a password. Google maps for traffic in the big city? Yep – knowing full well anybody can track us whether we’re using Google Maps or not, simply because we’ve got our cell phones on. Cell phone technology is inherently NOT able to provide the level of safety and security that a desktop can provide.
Oh – and if you use Google for searching the web, STOP! Google saves everything. And NoSuchAgency loves Google. ‘Nuf sed. Instead, investigate ixQuick.com or Startpage.com (same group but different search criteria). Both use multiple search engines, and at least one of them even uses Google. But they do NOT pass on your information to any of them, and they’re located outside the US so they aren’t vulnerable to US courts. Learn how to use the “proxy” function on every item returned in the search list (looks almost identical to what you get when you search something on Google – no learning curve). Next to each returned items is the word “proxy.” Click on it, and the page you then go to will not be able to tell who’s actually viewing their page. Many sites block some or all of their content when they detect such behavior, but many don’t. Then you have to decide if you’re going to go to a “regular” (non-private) search engine, depending on how badly you want to see a page vs. how badly you don’t want that page to see you.
Startpage also has an email service (Startmail) based outside the US that you can hook up through your email program (such as Thunderbird), even though it’s a web-based email program. That way you can download messages directly to your computer, read them off line, save them, etc., without even having to separately log into the Startmail site (you pre-set the log in through your email program). They even have encrypted email available, and you work out the password on each message with your intended recipient. There’s an annual fee involved, but depending on one’s circumstances, it may be considered worth it. Me? I rarely use it, but wanted to establish the option if I ever felt the need to use it down the road – same reason I have auto insurance. You can even have a number of short-term throw-away email addresses in addition to your primary and several alias email addresses included in your annual subscription price. It’s nice to automatically download and send all my email, whether from my primary ISP or Startmail, from within one program. (I’ve come to love Thunderbird after years of Eudora until they went belly up. You can even configure it to send/receive the “web-based” email services like AOL mail, Yahoo mail, etc.)January 20, 2016 at 2:04 am #46735
GS: Thanks for the info. I plan on spending some quality time with this info over the next several days. This has been an increasing concern for me and I was not having much luck getting some information I felt I could trust.
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