The government has you bugged… We’re ALL the enemy now… Your guide to “going dark”… In the mailbag: Isn’t security more important than privacy?
As we told you on Wednesday, the Chinese government is building a mass surveillance and behavior modification system the likes of which we’ve never seen before.
It revolves around a “social credit” score.
Smoke a cigarette where you’re not supposed to… jaywalk… or hold onto a library book too long… and the feds will dock your score.
Lose too many points, and they’ll put you on a “restricted list.”
That means no getting on planes or trains… no staying at certain hotels… no getting a job in a state-run firm. It even means your kids being refused into certain schools… and having your social credit score show up on dating apps.
Now, most Daily Cut readers live in the U.S. and won’t lose much sleep over what’s happening in China.
But here’s the problem…
The U.S. government’s surveillance and behavior modification efforts are subtler than those of their Chinese counterparts.
But as we told you last week, Silicon Valley tech firms are coming together with the Deep State to create a society with little scope for dissent.
It’s why, today, we’re sharing with you a practical guide to shoring up your privacy online. It’s what Bill Bonner Letter co-author Dan Denning calls “going dark.”
They know everything you search for online… every website you’ve ever visited… every video you’ve ever watched… every chat message you’ve sent… and who you’ve sent it to.
They also know what books you read… what news you read… what you sound like (if you have a “smart speaker” at home)… what you look like (via facial recognition of photos you post and store online)… who your friends are… what you’re thinking about buying… where you vacation… if you have (or want to have) children… and your political affiliation. (Did you donate to Bernie Sanders? Are you a member of the NRA?)
They even maintain detailed maps and timelines of where you’ve been with your digital devices.
Just look at your geolocation history on Google. (You can find it here.)
Dan did it recently. And he was shocked by how many details the tech company had about his whereabouts. Dan…
While heading up Bill Bonner’s publishing firm in London, I’m pleased to say I only spent one more day at the Dean Swift pub than I did at the office.
I can also see that on the day I left London my phone tracked my journey, following me to the Dancing Man Tavern (where I quaffed a late lunch ale). And then to the White Star Tavern, where I quaffed a pre-dinner ale before resting up for my journey across the sea on the Queen Mary II the next day.
Hopefully, this will exonerate me from any crimes committed in that time. It will also tell anyone who wants to know – like the IRS for example – exactly where I was.
As we’ve been uncovering for you here at The Daily Cut, the CIA and the NSA seed-funded Google’s founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, while they were still PhD students at Stanford University.
And documents former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked in 2013 show that the investment paid off.
One leaked NSA presentation revealed that the agency had “direct access” – via a secret online eavesdropping program called PRISM – to the personal digital data Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Yahoo store on their users.
What’s the harm, they’ll ask, in submitting to round-the-clock surveillance if it helps the feds catch terrorists and America’s enemies?
If you’re not doing anything wrong, if you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear, right?
Wrong. Dead wrong.
In today’s world, we are ALL the enemy. As Dan put it in the March issue of The Bill Bonner Letter (paid-up subscribers can catch up in full here), “Every single U.S. citizen is now the object of Deep State surveillance.”
In fact, Dan believes today’s internet is primarily about deploying surveillance against Americans.
Google and Facebook are what Dan calls “self-reporting systems”…
For example, if you’ve got a phone that runs Google’s Android operating system, you’re constantly broadcasting to the company’s servers exactly where you are in the world.
And Facebook is based on you sharing everything you do with everyone else. Not just your friends, but also anyone else that cares to look… including Deep State snoops.
It’s why Dan recommends you opt out of these systems now… and stop self-reporting to the authorities, by taking the following four basic steps:
Delete your Facebook account – We think we have to be connected all the time. But by staying on the platform, you’re sharing massive amounts of personal data about yourself with the world. You can’t be a private citizen and be on Facebook. Find out how to permanently pull the plug here.
De-Google your life – The way to stop Google – and the NSA – tracking every web search you type and every webpage you visit is to ditch Google search and the Google Chrome web browser. DuckDuckGo won’t track you like Google does. And it offers a decent search service.
There’s also the Epic Privacy Browser. It works just like Chrome, except it doesn’t store data on you. You can also try StartPage for a search engine that doesn’t track and store your search queries. Firefox is the least intrusive of your browser options (Safari, Chrome, Internet Explorer).
Buy a “dumb” phone – This is the only way to stop broadcasting your exact location 24 hours a day. An unlocked phone with 16MB of memory and a 2 megapixel camera will set you back about $25. You won’t be able to play Candy Crush while you’re standing in line waiting for your caramel latte at Starbucks. But a dumb phone will relieve you of the urge to constantly fiddle with your “smartphone.” Result: more free time and a less cluttered brain.
Download an encrypted messenger app – Conversations on WhatsApp (owned by Facebook) are encrypted for the moment. But the feds recently requested that Facebook allow them to spy on peer-to-peer conversations on its messaging app.
WhatsApp has over 1.5 billion users (mostly foreign), making it a prime target for wiretapping by U.S. security services. Skype (owned by Microsoft) isn’t much better. Wickr, Telegram, and Signal are all much more secure alternatives.
It’s a common question, mostly from law-abiding Americans who believe our country needs adequate resources to fight terrorism, drugs, and organized crime.
That includes some Daily Cut readers who may be willing to trade a little bit of government surveillance or intrusion for safety and security…
I am not a paranoid prepper type and I have never been affected directly by online privacy breaches… that I know of. Perhaps because I don’t do anything online to be ashamed of, I don’t have much fear around this.
What is the real risk? Will they take away my Schwab account? Guardian Life Insurance? My Viatical and REIT investments? I still don’t see a reason to freak out about this… yet.
– Don P.
Our data is bought and sold as a commodity, which seems at least (if not more) unethical than the NSA looking for known phone numbers of terrorist suspects. The NSA is not interested in my sister’s salsa recipe! My numbers and activities will pass through their scanning without a blip. The fact that I am a liberal may register via online petitions or donations, but there is nothing illegal to find.
– Amy D.
Someone has to police the Internet, at least to the extent of keeping Russian disinformation off.
– Stan H.
But Dan takes a different view. Here’s how he put it…
You can’t be free if you know you’re being watched all the time.
People are worried about Google and Facebook censoring content for political reasons.
But the bigger point is that all surveillance leads to censorship in a police state. The state trains you to modify your behavior yourself. You become complaint, placid, docile without being told. And then you’ll do exactly what you’re told.
That’s the core issue with free speech. If we aren’t free to speak to assemble, to petition our government for a redress of grievances, or to worship how and where we chose – and yes, to publish unpopular ideas – we’re not really free.
It’s no coincidence that Ludwig von Mises called his great work Human Action. Being free isn’t just about having theoretical rights on a piece of paper. It’s about living the life you choose without having to look over your shoulder or ask for permission.
A Surveillance Society – which the tech companies are building and getting rich from – redefines the relationship between the people and the government. Needless to say, it does it in a way that will cost you your freedom. If you value that, you have to stand up for it now while you still can.
Are you more worried about the threat of terrorism… or about the implications of a U.S. Surveillance Society, like the one being rolled out in China? Let us know at [email protected].
And keep an eye out for the first edition of our Friday Mailbag tomorrow… That’s where, each week, our experts across Legacy Research answer questions from you and your fellow readers.
August 30, 2018