A modest proposal for the protection of your privacy


A modest proposal for the protection of your privacy

Jameson Lopp, a leading developer keys.casa, founder statoshi.info and bitcoinsig.com published epic text about how to regain privacy in the era of total surveillance.

*** Chapter I

It is difficult to maintain privacy in the era of information technology. The Internet has almost perfect, limitless memory, and we publish a lot of their personal data. After 2017, I experienced a SWAT RAID at his home, the priorities in my life changed. I decided to focus on developing solutions to protect privacy. I was motivated by the increased number of physical attacks on the owners of the cryptocurrency. Including on me. In this article I will try to describe in detail measures to protect your personal information and private life. I hope it will be useful not only to people living in the United States, but also citizens of other States.

Why protect confidentiality

Maybe you think: “Why would I hide something? I’m not doing anything illegal.” In fact, better to be safe and to protect their privacy now than later to regret that in time did not. Losing privacy to gain it again will be incredibly difficult. Now you are a target, but not the fact that you will not be late. When I’m rich. Or when your political or religious views will no longer coincide with the majority opinion. One post on a social network will be enough.

In December 2013, Justine Sacco, an American whose Twitter was only 170 subscribers, posted a racist joke before boarding a flight to Cape town. Sacco slept the entire flight and woke up famous. Her post for several hours discussing the whole world, public figures and influential bloggers were trashing her and encouraged his followers to do the same. New York company IAC, which Sacco worked as the Director of corporate communications, was quick to announce that she’s fired. The point of this story is that in the age of information technology it is not necessary to make special efforts to become the object of attention of millions of people.

If anything happened to you, would you, for the sake of safety, to escape or to change their place of residence? Most likely Yes. But there is no universal answer to the question “how to do it?”. The correct answer can be obtained only on the basis of individual needs and the laws of the country where you live. Next, I’ll try to describe in detail the basic, universal measures to protect personal information.

What is the meaning of privacy

I want to clarify what this article. It is not about how to “disappear without trace”. If you are seeking absolute privacy, you should delete all your profiles online and escape to the edge of the world. I write about something else: how to keep connection with the outside world and remain safe.

There are four basic levels of protection to your personal information:

The protection of an ordinary citizen who knows how to use the search in the network.
Protection of people who have enough money to hire the cheap detective.
Protection from people who can afford to hire high-class specialists.
Protection from state security services, whose resources are almost limitless.

Many people do not care for all these threats. Someone will be interested in information about the threat protection first level. That’s for them I write. If you need to hide from the government services — look for information elsewhere.

What is the price of anonymity

Anonymity is not cheap. I had to fill out hundreds of forms and pay $30 000 for the services of banks, lawyers and mediators. I spent four months to reach your goal. In the end, the program of maximum security, which I choose, will cost me about $15 000 per year. I had to talk to a half dozen lawyers before I found one who was able to help me. But immediately it became easier to work with the banks: they stopped seeing me as suspicious.

The amount of time and effort should be spent to achieve even a basic level of security can scare many. But if you’re willing to sacrifice weekends and a couple of hundred dollars, you will be able to significantly improve your level of safety in the network and join one percent for the most protected Internet users.

I repeat: everyone must choose a private plan for the protection of privacy, based on their needs and abilities. Some of the recommendations that will be outlined below to run will be easy. Others will require serious effort. Surveillance and information gathering in the modern world have become the norm. Most people are willing to sacrifice privacy in exchange for convenience, and to swim against the current is a challenge.

The main conclusion which I made after a detailed study of the question: we give you access to your personal information to many sites, shops, providers, servers which can hack and use your data for criminal purposes. You need to accept the fact that all of the information about yourself that you provide to a third party, sooner or later, intentionally or not, will be available to all. The main solution that can help in the fight against data leakage, to use all possible “proxies” electronic, legal, human.

How to avoid surveillance in real time

The best thing to do is to stop constantly carry a portable tracking device — your smartphone. Yes, smartphones are incredibly convenient and to abandon them is difficult. And if you can not get rid of them, at least disable the saving of history points of geolocation in all applications, including Google services. But even if you turn off the GPS, some apps will still be able to roughly determine your location on the base stations of cellular networks. You can never be sure that tracking no. The best thing to do is not use any of Google’s services with accounts that can be associated with you. You get a “the left” user account specifically for the smartphone. Learn more about securing personal smartphone I write below.

It is much harder to deal with new systems of surveillance become more sophisticated. They can recognize not only persons, but also tattoos, and even gait. You can disable the facial recognition function in the smartphone applications Facebook and Google, but Amazon and Apple you do not allow. And, of course, no one can guarantee that your data will not be sold to a third party and used without your knowledge. Walks in the mask, in many countries, illegal, and in addition, it attracts unwanted attention. So effective protection from the security cameras at the moment. It would be possible to offer a portable device that suppresses infrared cameras at night, but it is only effective if the camera is not equipped with IR filter.

Can try Cap Justice, however, this device works fine only in low light conditions and against cheap cameras without infrared filters. If you are keen to go on the warpath with surveillance cameras, you will help a very bright flashing led lamp.

Here’s another way to prevent the cameras with infrared sensors to recognize faces. However, such a thing would be difficult to get lost in the crowd.

Another option is reflectioni (Reflectacles). They reflect infrared light. The solution is not very sophisticated and not entirely effective.

Recently published the results of a curious experiment. As it turned out, the projection of infrared light at your own face can fool most of the programs for identification. After a precise calibration of the equipment the author of the study managed not only to fool the recognition software, but to get her to identify the author as another person.

You can wear a photo-realistic mask, but keep in mind that in many States it is illegal. And, again, wearing this mask you will attract unwanted attention.

The most practical means of dealing with security cameras is the least technological. Caps with large visors, and mirrored sunglasses that hide most of her face.

In addition, there is always the option of makeup in the style of Insane Clown Posse.

Protect your smartphone

Many services at the time of registration required to provide a phone number. Moreover, many of them require verification numbers via sms. If you want to hide your number and location code, get an additional number that can forward calls to your real phone number. Alternatively, you can use Tossable Digits. However, they take a fee for the service by credit card only. So for privacy, before using their services, you need to get a debit card or virtual credit card. To be safe, you can use the services of companies that accept payment in bitcoin, for example NumberProxy. Note that virtual rooms and proxies have problems with two-factor sms authentication of different network services. In addition, they can send and receive messages in groups.

To achieve maximum privacy, use the services of prepaid telephone provider which does not know your name. Remember that all the mobile operators not only know where you are at the moment (according to data from three nearest points of communication) but also sell this information. The key thing to remember: what they don’t know, can’t be used against you.

Yes, in the end everything turned out to be harder than I expected. As a big fan of “the Wire”, I thought that can go into any store that sells phones with prepaid SIM card, take the cash and walk away briskly. It turns out that monsters like Best Buy often require ID before selling you a plan that is paid for in advance. Had to go online and buy a SIM card with prepaid tariff plan. I acquired it through a nameless debit card and arrange delivery of the SIM card in a rented mailbox.

As for software, the with privacy in most operating systems and apps for smartphones, things are just creepy. If you want to achieve the maximum level of security, the best solution (at the time of writing) is to use OS Rattlesnake, Copperhead which replaced the OS (it is no longer supported). And suggest to follow the development of the project Purism’s Librem phone which should be released in 2019.


To be continued.

In the second part of the article read about how to hide your home address as discreetly use email address and how to prevent leaks on your private property.

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