As fallout from the recent passage of the USA FREEDOM ACT continues rains down alongside China’s recent officiation of the Thought Police for the patrol of internet behavior and news that you can now be sent to prison for deleting your Internet browsing history, one is left to wonder if there is anything anyone can do to protect themselves online. We need to understand that the narrative currently abounding is designed to trigger the emotion of helplessness within us. We’re meant to feel that there isn’t anything we can do because as long as we feel that way we probably won’t take steps to do anything about it.
It turns out there are actions you can take that are extremely effective, requiring only moments to enact and a little bit of reading to understand.
The military-industrial-intelligence-prison complex has grown so out of control that it is now becoming cliché to refer to our society as Orwellian. There were plenty of warning signs, what with George Orwell’s 1984, Aldous Huxley’s fable Brave New World, Ray Bradbury’s Farenheit 451, and Philip K. Dick’s Minority Report – these books were not novels. In fact when asked where their ideas for these books originated from, several of these authors cited that they had merely rubbed shoulders with the elite, employing these stories as the vehicles by which the common people could become aware of the global agenda. The notion of Doublespeak, Thought Police, perpetual war for perpetual peace, Big Brother and fascism carried out in the name of protecting the people has all been normalized in the past decade. Though the wordings are different, the essentially identical slogans of “War Is Peace, Freedom Is Slavery, Ignorance Is Strength,” are hypnotically repeated in every message broadcast by the mainstream media. Just as Winston Smith’s work at the Ministry of Truth entailed the constant rewriting of history to cover the truth up, today’s government institutions are given innocuous names to deliberately deceive their purpose; the Department of Justice ensures the largest crime families and banking criminals are protected while sending innocent people to the largest prison complex on Earth; the Department of Education oversees the implementation of programs designed to dumb our society down with standardized testing, No Child Left Behind, Common Core and the like; The FDA is headed up by Monsanto’s former Vice President; the American Cancer Society ridicules and suppresses genuine cure innovations like those pioneered by Stanislav Brzezinski, Rene Casse, Max Gerson and others while promoting Radiation and toxic Chemotherapy; and the list goes on and on. Just pick an agency and examine how their actions are counter to their mission statement.
With X-Box’s monitoring conversations, web-cams spying on individuals, cellular phones being utilized to determine GPS coordinates for every person carrying them, and now household “smart” appliances outfitted with hot-mic surveillance mechanisms, all of this begs the question: If technology improves our lives, why is everything continuing to get worse in this downward plummet towards the bottomless abyss of despotism? We’re always sold on the benefits of what a new technology has to offer before learning about the adverse side-effects. We’re made to feel as though we’ll be left behind if we don’t purchase the newest this or the latest that, as though our lives will be unbearably disconnected from the trends if we fail to comply the buying habits desired by major corporations. And worst of all, we’re trained to ridicule members of the population who refuse to participate; “What? You don’t have a smart phone? You’re missing out, dude! Just look at all these apps I got that prevent me from interacting with my surrounding environment or making eye contact with fellow humans! Check out all these games I can play that disconnect me from reality. And look at this – just look at this – my phone transmits location data and shopping habits to Big Brother by tracking wifi signals my phone recognizes by proximity so they know what I’m up to well enough to anticipate my actions. It’s totally sick, dude.”
You can think of our modern Surveillance Panopticon as an attempt by the powerful to maintain their dominance by asserting control over all communications. Corporations discovered that the gathering and analysis of massive amounts of personal data is necessary if they want to remain competitive in an information-rich world. In particular, nearly all advertising is shifting toward surveillance-based tracking of our personal behavior.
Because communications technology has been re-purposed for social control, the nature of current technology requires that our information is either secure in a way that frustrates governments, or is totally insecure in a way that makes possible the widespread and detailed monitoring of an entire populous. Throughout history, surveillance is always inevitably targeted toward the repression of social movements that might upset exploitative and anti-human status quo, but now the modern surveillance state threatens to unleash unprecedented powers over everyone, especially those who think there is no reason to be upset about it and thus do nothing to protect themselves.
This complacency is common precisely because of how overwhelming the topic of surveillance is. Some decide that it is impossible to be secure, so they resign themselves to live under perpetual surveillance or to forsake all forms of digital communication. But there is another way, and that’s to embrace a high degree of security that activist programmers work tirelessly to make easy and accessible for everyone.
A LITTLE BACKGROUND
The Five-Eyes Alliance was born under the umbrella of an international surveillance program called Echelon in the post World-War-Two world. This ultimately manifested in the creation of five separate intelligence gathering agencies around the world, including the U.S.’s National Security Agency (NSA), Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC), the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), Australia’s Signals Intelligence Directorate (SID) and New Zealand’s Directorate of Defense Intelligence and Security (DDIS). Today, the Five-Eyes Alliance is a supranational intelligence organization that doesn’t answer to the laws of any of the countries it is based in, and is ultimately well beyond any legislation. One of the advantages of this system -for the intelligence community at least- is the ability to circumvent national law; the NSA doesn’t necessarily collect data from Americans if the courts say it is illegal to do so, but there is nothing stopping the NSA, legally speaking, from trading the same information gathered instead by GCHQ.Echelon computer centers are located around the world, including Royal Air Force Menwith Hill near Harrogate, North Yorkshire England; Pine Gap, near Alice Springs in Australia, and HAARP. Echelon is composed of a vast network of listening posts and spherical ray domes, combined with extremely sophisticated computers, and composed of an enormous number of people, dishes and taps to capture every communication via internet, GSM, UMTS, land lines, TV and radio broadcasts, Satellite communications; private, military and diplomatic – and listen to every word. Computers analyze keywords, which if triggered are handled to human specialists. While most of these stations are staffed exclusively by CIA and NSA analysts, thousands upon thousands of private contractors are employed by NSA in a private fashion; organizations like Snowden’s former employer, Booz Allen Hamilton.It was private contractors that both the NSA and GCHQ hired in efforts to plant agents into the online game World of Warcraft to spy on gamers. According to Russia Today:An NSA document from 2008 titled, “Exploiting Terrorist Use of Games & Virtual Environments” leaked by Edward Snowden, warns of the risk of leaving game communities under-monitored and described them as a “target-rich communications network,” where intelligence targets could, “hide in plain sight.”In a similar way, other high-traffic intersections of the internet such as facebook are subject to corrupt power abuses within a cyber security culture radically off course from any public good. In fact facebook users have helped program the new, cutting-edge Facial Recognition Software now being developed as yet another security feature in a vast ocean of security culture. It turns out that by “tagging” friends and acquaintances in photos uploaded to facebook, millions upon millions of facebook users worldwide have unknowingly participated in the creation of facial recognition software. Facebook also stands out as a prime example of the only thing that limits these programs and organizations, namely: policy. Law has always been an art of word-magic, which is another reason that policy is technically separate from law. Regardless of what is legal, policy is the only limitation to the corporate spy networks vying to kill the free internet at all cost. According to facebook’s privacy policies, photos you upload can be used in advertisements without compensation or consent unless you find out about it and opt out in writing.Even more shocking still is the ability for surveillance agents to tap mobile devices even when no calls are being made, activating the microphone to listen in on whatever conversations are near the device. The small microphone in your cell phone can be cued with a feature called, “Hot Mic,” to listen in to conversations happening near physical proximity and thus ear shot of your wireless devices. The same can be done with the cameras in mobile devices, with a “Camera Capture” feature,available exclusively at the offices of intelligence agencies. Now similar microphones and cameras are being installed in most new electronics, from dishwashers and microwaves to boom-boxes and smoke detectors. Even your X-Box is spying on you.GCHQ and NSA have actively spied on people in their own homes by tapping into web cams, laptop microphones, even your X-box. The program is called Optic Nerve, which collected photos and sound bytes from nearly 2 million Yahoo users. Much of the material was purportedly sexually explicit material, according to the London Guardian’s Spencer Ackerman and James Ball:“GCHQ files dating between 2008 and 2010 explicitly state that a surveillance program codenamed Optic Nerve collected still images of Yahoo webcam chats in bulk and saved them to agency databases, regardless of whether individual users were an intelligence target or not.” 
The walls have ears, and every NSA analyst is familiar with the X-KEYSCORE intelligence search engine, which collects every aspect of every person’s internet traffic, and enables activity deemed by analysts to be tagged, monitored, tracked and even attacked at the stroke of a key – the click of a mouse. And all of this is possible without a court. Any website traffic can be watched, any laptop can be followed, any Email can be read. There is a trinity of programs used by NSA on this front. The first is called TURMOIL which is known as a passive signal intelligence interception and collections system. Next comes something called TURBINE, which instead of inspecting information the way TURMOIL does, TURBINE instead injects information to orchestrate attacks.Salvador Rodriguez of the LA Times reports:
The National Security Agency has reportedly used automated systems to infect user computers with malware since 2010, according to a Wednesday report. And at times the agency pretended to be Facebook to install its malware.Plugging TURMOIL and TURBINE together is a third program called Q-FIRE, which programmatically automates attacks on individuals based on internet traffic. Q-FIRE uses TURMOIL to watch, TURBINE to attack, and does so automatically without the assistance of a human analyst. Q-FIRE also compromises everyone’s router and directs through them to beat the speed of light as a race condition to localize attacks worldwide.
- Quantum Theory – is an arsenal of exploits, specifically implants that die after 30 days.
- Quantum Nation – commandeers your computer to see if you have host based intrusion detection systems like Tripwire or Aide to detect the presence of hackers.
- Quantum Bot – hijacks Internet Relay Chat bots (IRC). Interestingly, this program has the potential to stop a lot of bot net attacks, but the NSA have decided to maintain those capabilities.
- Quantum Copper – is seen as perhaps the scariest of the Quantum series because it can corrupt file downloads. Copper can interfere with Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) which provides communication between separate internet devices. Copper could create the Great Firewall of China for the entire planet. Copper could kill every anonymity system that exists by forcing them to reset automatically, just like China does.
- Quantum Insertion – is a Quantum version of what is known as the Man-on-The-Side attack, to insert information packets by posing as a target website. Notably, you can block Insertion if Transport Layer Security (TLS) is present on your system.
“To infect computers with malware, the NSA has relied on various tactics, including posing as Facebook.
The federal agency performed what is known as a “man-on-the-side” attack in which it tricked users computers into thinking that they were accessing real Facebook servers. Once the user had been fooled, the NSA hacked into the user’s computer and extracted data from their hard drive.
Facebook said it had no knowledge of the NSA”s TURBINE program, according to the National Journal.
The NSA is capable of installing different kinds of malware, each capable of performing different tasks. According to the report, certain malware can:
- Use a computer’s microphone to record audio
- Use a computer’s webcam to take photos
- Record a computer’s Internet browsing history
- Record login details and passwords use for Web services
- Log users’ keystrokes
- Extract data from flash drives when they are plugged into infected computers
- Block users from accessing certain websites
- Corrupt files that computers attempt to download The NSA has fifteen years of data retention, but sometimes jobs are just too difficult for them. In such situations, NSA turns to the United Kingdom’s GCHQ, which is home to the extremely powerful Tempora Program. Malicious hackers, criminals, racketeers, pirates and bad governments operate like thieves who want to break in. A skilled thief always checks the doors of potential targets prior to breaking in, and chooses the door with the fewest locks, or the easiest locks to pick. Unfortunately, Government approved and unregulated dragnet surveillance systems are designed for at-scale exploitation to conduct fishing crusades instead of targeted attacks. Even major corporations like AT&T and Apple willingly install secret computer gear designed to spy on internet traffic. If you’ve ever thought that you have nothing to hide, therefore no reason to care, or you’ve pondered that there’s no way they’ll ever find you because you don’t think you’re interesting, think again; Systems like the Marina System should serve as a sobering reminder to the contrary. It stores webcam photos, contacts, emails, and more, and then links everyone you know and interact with together to create a fingerprint that is unique to you and your internet/worldwide presence. Therefore, you cannot hide from these programs and believing that you won’t be found is a fallacy.
In light of all of this, the reason Edward Snowden stepped forward had more to do with how public perception is managed by means of public relations:In a recent interview posted by BenSwann.com with Edward Snowden:He states that his “breaking point” was “seeing Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, directly lie under oath to Congress” denying the existence of a domestic spying programs while under questioning in March of last year. Mr. Snowden goes on to state that, “The public had a right to know about these programs. The public had a right to know that which the government is doing in its name, and that which the government is doing against the public”Jacob Appelbaum tells us that these systems exist in part because we have been kept intentionally vulnerable for the benefit of major corporations to sabotage other companies.
So how can you protect yourself from the Orwellian totalitarian oblivion? For starters it is probably a good idea to take the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s advice and keep a sticker pasted over the webcam of your laptop. Whenever possible, use a shielded hardline, protect your WIFI, and keep an old telephone modem in your possession. Remember that the best way of communicating anonymously is by not communicating at all. Protect yourself from social and technical hacking. Be aware of Malware, Ransomware and Adware. Defend against what agents in the biz refer to as “Remote Access,” and “Interdiction.”
Because all four major web browsers have experienced severe security flaws in the recent past, using the most up-to-date version of Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, or Safari, can empower you to make these browsers much better by installing certain extensions. Alternately, because all four major browser companies may be completely compromised by corporate-owned back doors, the Tor project introduced the Tor Browser to completely anonymize your online activities.
The next step is disabling third-party cookies, which serve no legitimate purpose as they are a complete abomination used to track your behavior online. Disabling Adobe’s default Flash plugin can help put an end to the endless stream of security problems associated with Flash, and the same goes for Java.
Because Google, Apple and Microsoft have a vested interest in assisting the surveillance state and installing back doors on your computer, it might be a good idea to discontinue the use of their services. Google might make public statements that make everyone feel warm and fuzzy, but its well-known that their search engine logs every keystroke you’ve ever made on it. There are plenty of other search engines that are just as good and include map applications, such as duckduckgo.com, ixquick.com, and bing.com. As far as Email providers go, there are plenty that don’t track and record your behavior, such as riseup.net, yandex.com, hushmail.com and fastmail.fm, just to name a few. Using competeing search engines and Email providers doesn’t ensure the absolute security of your data, but the alternatives don’t have long-standing business deals with intelligence agencies that Google and Macintosh do. And at the very least, if corporations are selling us out, they shouldn’t be rewarded for doing so. We at the outer limits had a gmail account for Email right up until April of 2014 when it became known that Google had been aware of the security bug known as Heartbleed for more than two years and likely were associated with the elements behind Heartbleed. We didn’t see any reason to continue working with Google, so we pulled the plug on our account right then and there and have never looked back.
THE ONION ROUTER
Those interested in the highest level of security will be pleased to learn that the most secure method of internet use just so happens to also be the simplest to acquire and implement. The Onion Router or TOR Network is a nonprofit organization that provides a web browser at torproject.org. The TOR browser benefits users with several layers of encryption routed through computers all over the world that are also connected to the TOR Network. When you access a website with the TOR browser, your signal is proxied through another computer’s internet somewhere in the world, then routed to another computer somewhere else, then to a third, before finally accessing the desired website and routing that information back through the daisy-chain to your computer screen. This effectively hides your IP address and makes NSA’s analysts pull their hair out.
While some shills in the media have sometimes regurgitated talking points from the surveillance state in vein attempts to undermine TOR’s usefulness, the truth of the matter is that NSA has a great amount of difficulty with TOR’s sophistication. Proof of this comes in a slide provided by Edward Snowden entitled, “TOR Stinks,” illustrating the NSA’s frustration in cracking TOR. The agency admits that they will never be able to de-anonymize all TOR users all the time, and can only de-anonymize a very small fraction of TOR users, and only when enacting manual analysis.
Using TOR requires that users adjust their browsing habits as torrenting videos and opening files downloaded through TOR immediately compromises anonymity. And it should be noted that becoming completely anonymous is not the goal, nor is the point to become completely invisible as that is impossible with the present sophistication of NSA, GCHQ and the other agencies of the Five-Eyes Alliance. Merely running TOR strengthens the TOR network, empowering journalists and activists with stronger and faster connections. Running TOR is a way to send a clear communication to the surveillance state that their overreach is not appreciated. Running TOR is a worthy first step to bringing an end to this ridiculous state of affairs. And if NSA ever decides to employ their Quantum Program thus enacting the Great Firewall of China for the entire world, TOR would likely remain active when other browsers are disabled.
There are a few open-source and absolutely essential browser extensions that all internet users would do well to employ due to their stability and effectiveness. Ublock, Privacy Badger and HTTPS Everywhere are the best, most up-to-date browser extensions you can use to make your browser more secure and in turn, more efficient. Ublock is a more streamlined version of addons like Adblock Plus and Disconnect; it prevents most advertisements and tracking networks. HTTPS Everywhere automatically switches to secure TLS (Transport Layer Security) connections whenever websites support it, which protects against surveilance of the content of your web browsing. Privacy Badger dynamically detects all attempts to track your browsing behavior and actually blocks content from said trackers.
If you want to make your browsing even more secure, you can add Self Destructing Cookies, No Script, Request Policy, RefControl, Random Agent Spoof, and Canvas Blocker to your browser, however these extensions were designed for more advanced users because they are complicated to use and cause many websites to malfunction due to the high level of interplay between surveillance and the visible internet that exists today.
In other words, these extensions attempt to overcome basic privacy flaws in how web browsers work, but because many websites rely on these privacy flaws for basic functionality, attempts to fix these problems can often make a website stop working.
If you’re using Mozilla Firefox:
- Self Destructing Cookies (Firefox) will clean out the cookies for a website when all the tabs for that site have been closed (rather than requiring that you restart the browser).
- RequestPolicy enables you to prevent a site from loading any third -party content.
- RefControl will suppress the HTTP referrer header.
- Random Agent Spoof will change your User-Agent string randomly.
- Canvas Blocker will allow you to disable HTML5 canvas support for particular websites.
But then there is the category of privacy extensions that act like a Trojan Horse, actually compromising your security. Despite their popularity, extensions such as Ghostery, Adblock Plus, Disconnect, and Better Privacy provide nothing more than a false sense of security.
- Adblock Plus used to be the best extension to block ads and tracking. However, now they run a bribery scheme where advertisers can pay to bypass their filters. Also, uBlock is better technology anyway.
- Disconnect works like uBlock, and is open source. If you are running uBlock, Disconnect is unnecessary, although it has some visualization features that uBlock does not.
- Ghostery works like uBlock, but has horrible defaults that allow most tracking, and the source code is proprietary.
- Flash Block (Firefox) is an extension allows you to ‘click to play’ Flash. It is preferable to uninstall Flash. Also, this functionality is now built in.
- Better Privacy was needed in the past to remove LSO or “Flash cookies,” but since the advent of ClearSiteData API, this is no longer needed.
- TrackMeNot will generate bogus search traffic. It is an interesting idea, but it is much better to just use DuckDuckGo.
“For email, we can start by dropping Gmail, Outlook.com and Yahoo Mail (Yahoo sucks anyway). There are many useful alternatives, including Hushmail, BitMessage and Riseup, all of which encrypt your emails. Personally, I have started using Yandex Mail, which is a Russian company based in Moscow – if anyone’s safe from the NSA’s eyes, it’s gotta be them, surely. (To switch email providers without any fuss, you can read my post here.)”
“For those who don’t use encryption, emails are about as private as postcards. Their content can be intercepted and read by third parties, curious employees of the email provider, for instance, or intelligence analysts.“What’s more, anyone with the password to a user’s email account, be it a hacker or a disgruntled ex, can read emails they find in this account. That’s why anyone who values their email privacy should use encryption. It’s just that most people don’t take the time.“We recommend using the free email client Thunderbird, the free program GnuPG and the free Thunderbird plugin Enigmail to set up your own encryption. Users who want to go this route, however, must be willing to do two things. First, they have to give up using email providers like Gmail directly from their Internet browsers. And second, they must be willing to spend a bit of time getting the encryption method set up and not be easily put off by some new terminology. Once the encryption system is set up, sending and receiving encrypted emails is easy.” 
For every fact learned, we’re left with more questions than answers. We’re just now finding out about the NSA Howler Monkey implant chips with built in radio transmitters. We’re just now learning of the Bulldozer PCI Bus hardware implants. And for many, the CIA’s In-Q-Tel still remains a mysterious subject.
Because when you look around there really are no “terrorists,” at least insofar as the mainstream media would like you to believe as they hypnotically repeat the word again and again in print and on air. For the same reason the TSA has never prevented a terrorist attack. Terrorists are not Islamic boogie men hiding out in some cave beyond Timbuktu. More people die of peanut allergies than of Islamic terrorism. Christopher Titus put it most eloquently when he said:
“Let’s define ‘terrorist organization.’ A terrorist organization is an organization that makes you feel scared all the time and makes you change your behavior. What does CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC do all the time? That’s right. Wolf Blitzer? Terrorist. Glenn Beck? Terrorist. Nancy Grace? Terrorist.”
The Military-Industrial Complex that carries out unconstitutional Wars, the Corporate Media Whores who justify those wars to John Q. Public, and the Bankers who fund both sides of every conflict all are capital-tee Terrorists if there ever were any. They drop bombs on countries in peacetime, and send troops in times of war. Or as Abraham Lincoln put it, “The money powers prey upon the nation in times of peace, and conspire against it in times of adversity. It is more despotic than monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, more selfish than bureaucracy.”Capital-Tee-Terrorists wear five-thousand-dollar suits, and use money and influence to divide the world against itself, for profit and power. They do this to extract resources and simultaneously emerge the rulers of us all by controlling the movement of resources and access to them. State Terrorism is the only kind of terrorism that ever produced mass casualties, be it false flag events or the wars they orchestrate. The “Terror War” is a war of terror, not on it. The “Drug War” is a war on Consciousness, not on inanimate objects. The “War on Cancer” declared also by Nixon, proposes to cure Cancer with other things that cause cancer (Chemo, Radiation and Surgery). There is a War on everything when you sit down and think about it. But the deadliest form of warfare we know of, could be termed Financial Terrorism. Rigging the game starves entire societies, forces indigenous people to move into cities, and creates waves of debt slaves. Waged unilaterally, the deadliest form of violence is and has always been poverty.
- Yahoo webcam images from millions of users intercepted by GCHQ
-  Privacy Add-On Extensions for Firefox Web Browswer:
-  What Are Your Options Now For Secure Mail? (Most of these are paid services, unfortunately):
-  Here are a few sites that won’t spy on you in a brilliantly titled articled called, “How To Get Out of Prism, and avoid NSA Spying:”
-  How To Encrypt Emails:
-  Western Spy Agencies build ‘Cyber Magicians’ to Manipulate Online Discourse:
-  GCHQ Power Point Instruction – The Art of Deception: Training for a New Generation of Covert Operations:
-  After years of speculation that electronics can be accessed by intelligence agencies through a back door, an internal NSA catalog reveals that such methods already exist for numerous end-user devices.
-  Whistleblower Exposes Fusion Centers:
-  Robby Parker Interview – supposed recently bereaved father laughing prior to hyperventilating to get into character for the cameras at the Sandy Hook press conference:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKWgCRBR5qE
-  Truthseeker with Daniel Bushell – What You Aren’t Being Told about the Boston Bombing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcxmAunB4Ck
-  WTC 1993 was an FBI job
-  Oklahoma City Bombing – The Cover Up
-  How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations:
-  NSA Posted as Facebook to Infect Computers with Malware
-  How the NSA Can Use Metadata to Predict Your Personality
http://www.defenseone.com/technology/2014/03/how-nsa-can-use-metadata-predict-your-personality/81538/?oref=d-topstoryGabrielle Lafayette is a journalist, writer, and executive producer for the Outer Limits Radio Show.Catch the cloudcast at mixcloud.com/outerlimitsradioshowCheck out the more frequently updated tumblr page at outerlimitsradioshow.tumblr.comContact the research team at firstname.lastname@example.org