Privacy tools

Written By: - Date published: 9:10 am, July 4th, 2013 - 33 comments
Categories: Ethics, human rights, law, Spying - Tags: , , ,

It looks like privacy is going to be an increasingly rare commodity in the brave new world. Want to protect yours? The freedom of the press foundation has an excellent page here, detailing a number of resources. The Electronic Frontier Foundation is another useful resource, see for example their page on https everywhere. For the hardcore code geeks see of course the Free Software Foundation

Please share your own links and resources and comments.

33 comments on “Privacy tools”

  1. Sable 1

    There are LOTS of solutions you could put in place, the reality is there are always foils. Traffic shaping, for example, lets a government snoop reconstruct your path through the internet.

    I believe too legislation is being considered that would render these tools effectively illegal. There is also conviction based on circumstance. In the UK a person can be convicted on “so called reasonable suspicion” in some cases, even if nothing concrete is proven. Failing to prove a password, for example, for an encrypted device saw one young man sent down a few years back.

    The ONLY solution to this problem is electing officials who respect the “privilege” they have been granted in governing this country and accept they serve the public interest not their own.

    • Descendant Of Sssmith 1.1

      And are prepared to pass laws that enshrine protections on your private information and what can be done with it. Destruction of information in short-time periods should also be part of that type of legislation as should keeping high level data only – nothing that can identify individuals.

      This includes conviction and punishment for those who track and collect information ie take breaches very seriously.

    • Yep under section 10(3)(b) of the Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Bill, the associate legislation to the GCSB amending Bill, a network operator must decrypt internet traffic if the operator provides the encryption.

    • Mary 1.3

      “I believe too legislation is being considered that would render these tools effectively illegal.”

      Key referred to these tools yesterday as an attempt to allay concerns about the intrusive nature of the new legislation – that if people are worried about privacy then these tools are available. If legislation is being prepared to make these tools illegal then Key’s behaviour yesterday puts him close to evil.

      • Colonial Viper 1.3.1

        Australia and NZ are far closer intelligence partners to the USA than France and Germany are. Think about what that might actually mean.

  2. Sable 2

    OK, looked at site and here’s a few observations:

    Skype: search on NSA scandal regarding that company=not secure.

    Ubuntu: recently implemented Amazon, again a possible means into your system for snoops. I’d disable the Amazon feature before using this OS.

    Tor: a nice idea but in practise, VERY SLOW. There are also rumours that the US military had a hand in developing Tor and have a back door into the system. There are companies offering similar services (BUT) they are subject to oversight by their government so do not expect absolute privacy.

  3. Descendant Of Sssmith 3

    Without protection we might as well go back to party lines

  4. Colonial Viper 4

    Nothing like encrypting all your communications to raise flags with the NSA filters. Recent events have really undermined the sense of freedom and democracy in the world.

    To all tin foil hat wearers and conspiracy theorists: well done you guys. Just think most people thought you were simply being paranoid.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 4.1

      Nope: while they’ve been blithering and dithering and playing the HAARP, real concerns have festered and now the patient is looking decidedly poorly.

      PS: This is what a positive contribution looks like: take a bow Koziarski Kumar and Beagle.

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.1

        Funny how one decades conspiracy theories are the next decades common sense.

        • Murray Olsen

          Tell us next decade’s common sense in that case. Is it HAARP, chemtrails, or WTC? Maybe Agenda 21 to depopulate the planet? Mass vaccination to make everyone autistic? Those are the sort of things that most conspiracy theorists divert attention with, not the misuse of state eavesdropping powers, which has been known about for years. Is it filming devices sending images from your tv via fibre optic cable to a processing centre, which people have been mentioning to me for years? Which ones is it? Helen Clark as a KGB trained prostitute? Most of them are just paranoid rubbish.

          Why are you conspiring to hide the true ones from us?

          • Colonial Viper

            yeah Murray, its all tin foil hat until the millisecond it happens to be revealed as the truth. Is there a lot of tripe and noise out there? Sure.

            • Murray Olsen

              Yet you explicitly thank them all. Things that are happening are uncovered by hard working investigative journalists, with Nicky Hagar being a great example. So far, they haven’t been uncovered by watching Alex Jones videos. You have also not mentioned any specific theorists who gave any actual insight into what Snowden leaked, although you are happy to spread the credit around to anyone, based seemingly on how much they spend on tinfoil. The broad picture of Snowden’s stuff doesn’t surprise me at all, and I have no special knowledge in the area. Knowing a little about how intelligence agencies work, how ours don’t work for us, their lack of ethics, and their access to the latest technology made it pretty obvious they’d be doing shit like this as soon as they had the means. I think I may have even mentioned this here once or twice on this blog. This doesn’t make me a bloody conspiracy theorist and certainly doesn’t put me in their debt in any way.

              Can you give a link to one source that predicted what Snowden leaked in any sort of detail? I haven’t seen anything. They claim a lot of bad shit, other bad shit happens, and you give them all credit. I can’t understand that at all.

          • felix

            Don’t be silly Murray, those are all craaaazy conspiracy theories.

            This on the other hand is just the govts of the world working with the biggest communications companies to operate an unaccountable global spy network to watch and record everything you say and do.

            • Murray Olsen

              Did you expect intelligence agencies to be doing anything else once they had the available technology? Please note that I haven’t said governments, because I suspect many intelligence agencies, including some of ours, work against the interests of the elected governments of their countries. This is why, especially in Aotearoa, we should abolish the lot of them. At least then we wouldn’t be paying for intelligence gathering on behalf of the seppos. Let them pay for it themselves, at the very least.

              • Wow M,

                Intelligence Agencies conspiring against Governments! Now there’s a whole lot of theorizing right there buddy. You might wanna check yourself and up the medication. Seppos?

                • Murray Olsen

                  Try harder. Intelligence agencies acting in the interests of foreign powers have long been documented, not least by Nicky Hagar. I’m not your buddy, in fact I find the that American term very offensive. Did you learn it from Alex Jones?

          • Sable

            The future is here now but it will get worse. Camera’s in built up areas, surveillance without warrant, arrest and even imprisonment based on suspicion or loose legal interpretation or religiously influenced “moral” laws. Aspects of what I have outlined are the new reality in NZ, Australia, UK, Singapore and parts of the US to name a few.

            Combined with this will be persecution and control of anyone with a criminal record, no matter how trivial. People will be forced to wear monitoring devices, sometimes indefinitely. This is already in the pipeline here in New Zealand. These people will never be able to move on with their lives and will form part of the new underclass that will spring up in this country. It will serve as a warning to anyone thinking of stepping out of line.

            The press will come under increased scrutiny and will conform to the will of the government. Journalists will find they are required to be registered as will press bodies with anyone stepping out of line having their mandate to report news revoked. This is happening in Singapore right now.

            The police will be above the law and can brutalise anyone with impunity. Again look at the cases of violence treated with kid gloves here and elsewhere in the world. They will however understand their freedom to act in this way is subject to their compliance with the edicts of the government no matter how immoral those instructions may be.

            That’s part of my prediction for the future if we continue as we are.

            • red rattler

              All very interesting Sable, but none of this is new, and we are not continuing as we are.

              Snowden, Wikileaks, Manning et al show us what can be done about it. Dotcom is not only exposing what US imperialism must do to keep control of IP, he is showing what to do about it.

              First they prove that there will always be those inside the system who will blow the whistle. They confirm that capitalism can never rely upon total loyalty from its mercenaries and techs, and even tycoons they take on. So we will always know what capitalism is doing to us and always be able to organise to resist it.

              This is just a contemporary expression of Karl Marx’s famous dictum that capitalism creates its own gravediggers. Today’s grave diggers encompass hackers, street fighters and striking miners and students.

              The reason for this is clear. Capitalism to survive depends on taking almost everything from those it exploits. To get away with this it must repress resistance. To succeed in this it must be able to anticipate that resistance and counter it before it becomes a major threat.

              YET, they can’t do it. The resistance movements of the last few years in particular the Arab Spring prove that at a certain point the mass movement can take advantage of capitalisms technical tools to counter the state’s repressive measures. Once the masses arm then as Syria shows us, the ruling class has no recourse but to use mass terror and destruction.

              There is no way that the tiny global ruling class can suppress mass resistance once it has nothing to lose. Another of Karl’s prescient dictums.

              “Workers of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains.”

  5. captain hook 5

    privacy vanished years ago.
    all bureaucracy’s have a desire to snoop just because they can and because most of them are paranoid anyway.
    It isn’t going to go away and fretting about it like this wont do anything.
    The only remedy is to make sure that our vital democratic institutions are up to the trask of keeping the creeps in their cages.

  6. Chooky 6

    “Keeping the creeps in their cages”…..Yes agreed!….Has anyone viewed this from a ‘stalking’ and ‘feminist perspective’…..Who keeps an eye on rogue psychopathic spies stalking young women?…This could be a feminist issue.!…It has already been the case in New Zealand that spies have infiltrated environmental organisations and taken advantage of young women. In war women and children are often the first victims .

    Who is going to call spies to account?…..Seems like we need legislation protecting women and all of us from the spies….But there is an inherent contradiction here because they operate behind a veil of secrecy ( much like the Catholic Church )…No use saying “trust us” …..because this is where the creeps like to hide …behind trust and secrecy.

    • RedBaronCV 6.1

      There used to be a bunch of creeps who used motor rego information to find the details of women they wanted to hit on.

  7. MrSmith 7

    A little of subject but the problem is this government and the conservatives in our society continue to grab more of our freedom and privacy every chance they get, every time a bomb goes off or someone goes nuts with a gun someone else stands up and says we need more oversight, control, rules and they get it.

    The price of freedom is never cheap, just take a walk down your local war memorial and asks yourself if these men and women could speck, what do you think they would say about our total over reaction to a couple of buildings being lost in the good old USA or a hand full of people blown up by a suicide bomber.

    We need to a grip, if we want freedom some will have to die for it, otherwise we will have to live our lives knowing that we’re watched from the cradle to the grave.

  8. Outofbed 8 Good private search engine

    • Sable 8.1

      Sorry this wont save you, it simply doesn’t keep your IP which does not stop someone from “tracking” your IP.

  9. Chooky 9

    The way I see it is that if cyber spying (war) is declared on the general population and it is increasingly used by undemocratic fascist forces to their own advantage and even illegal and criminal activities….the population, if it perceives this, will want to declare war back on the spies….hence cyber wars ( like teenagers play)

    I don’t think we want to allow this to happen . It will mean the breakdown of civil society. A civil society is marked by laws which protect us all in a democracy.

    We need legal protection from unwarranted spying . We need legal redress from unwarranted spying.
    Any spying must be firmly in the control of our New Zealand democratically elected representatives from all political parties….and it should be only allowed on a case by case , carefully considered basis….All other spying should be illegal and if proven, then prosecuted by the laws of the people of New Zealand.

  10. RedLogix 10

    On the other hand you might argue that privacy is the wrong concept anyway. In traditional, pre-agricultural societies there was very little privacy at all … and us humans thrived perfectly well thank you.

    The problem is not so much ‘privacy’ for it’s own sake; rather it is the asymmetry of information that is problematic. The core of the problem for ordinary people is that increasingly the state (and the corporates) know far more about us than we are allowed to know about them.

    Rather than attempting to scrabble back the vanishing scraps of what we imagine is our personal privacy … we might contemplate the opposite. What if we abandoned the concept altogether and demanded wide-ranging transparency for the state, the corporates and the individual?

    OK so this is a radical re-framing, but it leads to some interesting ideas.

    • weka 10.1

      The reason this is a bad idea is because some of us still have a large degree of privacy, and for some people issues of safety and well being are tied up in that. Me knowing everything about the govt and corporations does diddly shit for my wellbeing with regards to privacy.

      The argument that we’ve hardly got any privacy left is highly inaccurate.

      • RedLogix 10.1.1

        and for some people issues of safety and well being are tied up in that.

        But does this not still condense down to “asymmetry of information”? I accept this is more a thought experiment than a realistic proposal; but it helps tease out exactly what it is about privacy that is important … and what is not.

        In the final analysis, if there were no secrets there could be no abuse, no crime, no violence, no coercion. Sunlight being the best disinfectant and all….

  11. Chooky 11

    Agree with you Weka…Privacy is important and it is a fact of life , even for pre -agricultural societies I suspect…..Not everyone wants to be a psychological nudist.!.( shades of Bert Potter, Encounter Groups, Narcism and Power and Control issues.)

    …Isn’t this what the Catholic Church demands in confessions, complete psychological transparency before the Priest ( God’s Anointed )and God’s Chosen Church?…..Has it succeeded ?

    No!…complete hypocrisy!….the Inquisition! ….and heretic and witch burnings!…Lets not go there!

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