Worried about the Mass Surveillance? How to Practice Safer Communication

Source: Quinn Norton, Special to ProPublica, June 11, 2013

With all the news coming out about possible mass surveillance and the relationship between an alphabet soup of federal agencies and the companies that hold huge swaths of your electronic life, it’s easy to feel powerless. But you’re not. Technology taketh away your privacy, but technology can giveth quite a bit of it back too.

Much of the news of the past week has been about government access to phone and internet “metadata,” which is a part of communications that we almost never think about in the course of normal life.

Here’s what you need to know to make your communications more private:
What is “Metadata” and Why Do You Care?…
Making Crypto Work for You…
Talking to Bob…
Encrypting Message Data…
Caveat: Who’s Out to Get You?…

Part 2:
A Buyer’s Guide to Safer Communication
Source: Quinn Norton, Special to ProPublica, June 18, 2013

While Americans get to have a conversation with their government about whether this is right or wrong, the 95% of the planet the NSA is allowed to surveil without further scrutiny doesn’t get to weigh in at all, nor do the people living in countries whose governments practice widespread Internet surveillance and censorship. That’s billions of people for whom choosing tools for protecting their privacy on the net is simply a question about the technology, not about the law.

The good news is that as we understand more about how surveillance works, it helps the people who create and use secure tools to make better and more informed choices — even if that choice is simply not minding having their data collected.

There are a lot of ways to talk to people securely on the internet, some are purpose-built to enhance your privacy and security. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it’s a place to start.