The End of the Internet…

… and quite possibly your own personal privacy? How has it come to this?

The truth is outing in small bits and pieces. It’s like a large sack of feces oozing from small rents in its skin. The Surveillance State is very reluctant to give up its game plan. Are people like Assange, Manning, Snowden, and others really the EVIL plotters and traitors that governments around the world are desperately trying to paint them up to be? As more and more of the reality of our current security/surveillance apparatus comes out in to the light of day for our shocked appraisal, can we see a pattern here? Are we being lied to by our governments? Nah… say it ain’t so, Joe. :(

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under
robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be
satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

~ C. S. Lewis

A few days ago, Ladar Levison of Lavabit did a brave thing.

I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit. After significant soul searching, I have decided to suspend operations.

Just today, Pamela Jones of Groklaw did a brave thing.

There is now no shield from forced exposure. Nothing in that parenthetical thought list is terrorism-related, but no one can feel protected enough from forced exposure any more to say anything the least bit like that to anyone in an email, particularly from the US out or to the US in, but really anywhere. You don’t expect a stranger to read your private communications to a friend. And once you know they can, what is there to say? Constricted and distracted. That’s it exactly. That’s how I feel.

Where will this end? These are brave people mentioned above who have decided to NOT participate in a system they can no longer believe in or recommend to others. This is one type of bravery. Another type is the Manning, Snowden, Assange type. And still another type will be those who will eventually rise up and do something about our world going so wrong on us. Really, folks… George Orwell didn’t have a clue. He had no idea of the technology that would be just around the corner to make his nightmarish world come true in spades!

Big Brother is watching you!

~ George Orwell

More seepage today from that sack of shit…

U.S. futuristic spy apparatus taking shape

The Department of Homeland Security recently tested a crowd-scanning project called the Biometric Optical Surveillance System — or BOSS — after two years of government-financed development. Although the system is not ready for use, researchers say they are making significant advances on it. That alarms privacy advocates, who say that now is the time for the government to establish oversight rules and limits on how it will someday be used.

This better alarm more than just privacy advocates. It better damned well alarm YOU, dear reader. Put down your damned mobile device for a couple minutes. Get off Facebook for just a moment or two. Pick up a newspaper. Visit an online news site. Pay attention to what’s happening to your world right now, this minute. Do it for yourself. Do it for your children and grandchildren. Be aware and BEWARE. Understand where this is leading. Comprehend its ramifications for you and those you love and the world as a whole.

All that is necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing.

~ Edmund Burke

You can take this article anyway you like. Consider it a rant by some tech geek or silly blogger. Peruse it and giggle uncontrollably. Or, even better… don’t just look, SEE. Wake up. Don’t just heave and push your way into the chute like the rest of the sheeple. The choice is yours… while you still have a choice.

Later…

~Eric

Further reading:


Private Email?

Gmailers Beware: Google Says You Have No “Reasonable Expectation” of Privacy

Is anyone out there really surprised about this? In this day and age, is anyone really still naive enough to think that their electronic mail is private? There is no privacy anymore.

The only private conversation you can ever have is the one with those voices in your head, and even that may be under surveillance soon thanks to Google’s prototype as-yet-unnamed cranial chip implant (codenamed: Chips Ahoy).

Be the first on your block to get one! It’s safe. Don’t you worry. Remember Google’s Prime Directive: Use ALL data from ALL sources to make disgustingly large amounts of money! Er, no… wait. I meant their other Prime Directive: Don’t be evil. ;)

Later…

~Eric


Tor On Slackware (and Arch)

Do you have a need for a bit of privacy when online? Do you want to be a ninny moose? Well, Tor can help you with that.

From Tor’s website:

Individuals use Tor to keep websites from tracking them and their family members, or to connect to news sites, instant messaging services, or the like when these are blocked by their local Internet providers. Tor’s hidden services let users publish web sites and other services without needing to reveal the location of the site. Individuals also use Tor for socially sensitive communication: chat rooms and web forums for rape and abuse survivors, or people with illnesses.

Pay attention to what I’m going to say now… You do NOT have to be a software pirate, a hacktivist, or a foreign operative of some sort to need a bit of privacy. It’s perfectly legal and normal for you to want to protect your privacy when online. You don’t paint your name, address, and phone number on the side of your minivan, do you? You don’t exchange personal data with the clerk at the mall shoe store, do you? Do you tell every caller who calls you on your phone the numbers of the last 10 people you spoke with?

Of course, you don’t do those things. So, why should you do them on the Internet. Your web browser, in many cases, is not your ally in your ongoing effort to protect your privacy online. Often, it is giving away all kinds of interesting info about you with every link you click on. That’s just how it was designed. It’s not an evil conspiracy by the government to track your Internet movements. Although, it is possible for them to do that should they want to. When TCP/IP and the WWW first came about, browsers were required to do these things to function.

If you want a tool that can give you a bit more privacy when you need it, try Tor. Read HERE to understand a bit better how Tor works to protect your privacy. BE AWARE, though… Tor is not the do-all, be-all privacy tool. It has foibles. However, it’s better than having your rear area totally exposed out there in the breeze. Below I will briefly explain how I got Tor up and running in Slackware and Arch Linux using Firefox and Seamonkey browsers with the Foxy Proxy Basic addon.

Slackware

  1. Download the libevent SlackBuild from SlackBuilds.org.
  2. Build and install libevent from the SlackBuild.
  3. Download Tor for Slack 13.37 in x686 or x86_64 versions from Linux Packages | Slackers.it.
  4. Install the package using pkgtool.
  5. Start Tor at startx using Xfce’s Session Manager GUI front end. (or start Tor as a service in Slack – /etc/rc.d)
  6. Download and install the Foxy Proxy Basic addon for FF and Seamonkey.
  7. Add new proxy in Foxy Proxy – Socks v5, 127.0.0.1, port 9050.

That’s it. You can start the Tor service by typing “tor” in Run Program (Xfce) or at the command line in terminal. Once it’s running, you can use the Foxy Proxy button to turn on the Tor proxy. Once you’ve done that, you can test by using THIS site.

Arch

  1. Install Tor from Arch repos using Pacman.
  2. Add Tor to your daemons – (/etc/rc.conf, daemons: …tor…).
  3. Follow steps 6 and 7 above to configure FF and Seamonkey.

There you go. Simple in Arch, huh? This is wee bit of a project for a neophyte Linux user, but it’s not really that difficult. In Slackware, there are always different ways to do things. If you’re running Slackware, odds are you ain’t no neophyte. In Arch, it’s easier to install and set up. Plus, there’s a Tor section with step-by-step in the always EXCELLENT Arch Wiki to help you.

Enjoy your privacy. Remember, practice safe intercourse, er… I mean Internet.

Later… gotta’ go pirate* some vids now. Just kidding! ;)

~Eric

* The author in no way supports theft of copyrighted materials of any type. A creator’s output is his own to do with as he pleases. If he chooses to freely share, that’s wonderful. If he chooses to limit the sharing and protect his creations by using copyright or other laws, that’s his right also. Taking something that isn’t yours without permission is stealing. Can’t get much plainer than that.

+ Some further reading should you be interested

–> EFF’s Top 12 Ways to Protect Your Online Privacy from the Electronic Frontier Foundation

–> Copyright – Fair Usage

–> Internet Privacy


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