The surveillance state lives on data. It is attempting to track and record all human communication and behavior in its quest for omniscience. Unfortunately people are all too willing to comply with this goal through their online behavior.
It seems highly unlikely that the US congress will do anything to substantially change the operation of this system. It also seems unlikely that Wisconsin legislators will take any action, like we suggested in part 1, to protect us from these abuses (although everyone should certainly try to encourage them).
That leaves it to the people themselves to directly take action to change things. There are a number of simple ways that one can limit compliance with this system while still living in the modern world. Arranged from easier to somewhat more difficult to implement.
1. Change your browser:
Corporations do not provide “free” web browsers for no reason. Microsoft and Google use browsers to create detailed profiles on each user. Make the easy choice and switch to the free, open source community supported web browser Firefox. Its better.
2. Change your search engine:
Search engines are also used to monitor and profile people. All the major search engines are essentially large NSA data-mining operations. If a stranger knocked on your door and began asking personal questions about your health, what products you use and where you travel you would probably tell them to get lost. Yet people routinely search for all this and even more personal concerns through google, bing, yahoo and others.
Switch to a private search engine that does not log your IP and permanently track and record your searches to a database. Great options are startpage which also has a proxy function for anonymous web page viewing as well as duckduckgo.
3. Change your office software:
If you are using Microsoft office, for all of the above reasons, make the switch to free and open source office programs such as Libre Office.
4. Limit your social media footprint:
Realize that Facebook is not a community service organization. The reason an account is free is because they are creating a space where you feel comfortable revealing personal details about your life so that you can be data-mined and marketed for their profit. It is an amazing resource for the surveillance state as well. (this hits close to home as most people reading this likely came through facebook as we were advertising, we may have to stop doing that, consider signing up for our email list if you want to get updates on articles)
5. Stop using mainstream email:
Most major email systems are directly integrated with NSA surveillance. Watch the video on the StartMail page to get the idea. There are lots of options for private email. Making an email switch is inconvenient. Although it will not be available for another couple months it is our opinion that StartMail will be by far the best option so we recommend holding out for this. Start preparing yourself now for the email switch. Sign up for StartMail alerts and get ready to make the switch to a private email account.
6. Change your operating system:
The source code for both Windows and OsX is secret. There are numerous independent sources that document that the NSA has built in back-door access to all copies of Windows since Windows 95 that gives them the ability to secretly install monitoring software.
Given the breadth of surveillance it is not hard to believe that this is going on. This essentially turns the modern PC into a version of Orwell's telescreen. One would have to assume the same is true of OsX and its secret programming as well.
Make the switch to an open source operating system that is free from the potential of back-door software and monitoring. One easy option is the linux based Ubuntu. Check out a free online demo here. You may also want to check out LinuxMint which has a more classic feel.
This OS is easy to use and has a built in app finder that finds free open source software for any need. Switching an OS is a bit of a technical challenge if you are not tech savvy. The easiest way to start is to either start from scratch on a new machine or to create a bootable DVD or USB drive that lets you test drive everything without making any changes to your system.
If you do decide to take a more advanced step such as creating a hard-drive partition for dual OS booting or totally replacing your OS just be sure to make backups of any files you want to make sure you don’t lose and store them on a separate device.
A Step in the Right Direction
All these steps together constitute a fairly substantial disconnect from the surveillance state without significantly changing, and perhaps improving a modern lifestyle. It can all be done voluntarily without passing any legislation. Among other things, a more secure online presence can limit your exposure to identity theft as well.
All this does not change the monitoring of phone and text traffic. Let us know if you have ideas for this or other online ideas in addition to those above.