[music | Pete Seeger - Talking Union]
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin
Your Government should fear you, not the other way around, here's how to protect yourselves.
I've had some comments on my forums stating users fear of our current administration, and there are certainly many who started taking their personal freedoms much more seriously during our last administration. In the last 10 years, we've been asked to give up, or have had taken away, many of our liberties which were taken for granted. It's time to take them back.
Obama has shown no signs of easing off of the policies of "Capture everything, analyze later" carried over from Clinton and Bush. If you send unencrypted traffic across the Internet, you need to expect it to be read. If you say something inflammatory, expect it double. Know that there is no "Right to Privacy" and never has been, you have the Fourth Amendment protecting you from unreasonable search and seizure, but is intercepting a phone call transiting public lines "seizure"? Is capturing an email on an Internet backbone and scanning it "Search"? Nope. Anything you broadcast can legally be captured and interpreted by others, anyone, not just Feds. It's best to keep your footprint small, and whatever they do get, make them WORK to read it. This applies whether "They" are credit card thieves, identity thieves, or Feds. None of these groups should be given a free key to your private data.
If encryption is made ubiquitous by users, those capturing your traffic won't even know where to begin to try to interpret any of it. If you encrypt your shopping list before you send it to your spouse, they can't tell an encrypted shopping list from an encrypted Flash Mob location. If EVERYONE encrypts, they need to treat all traffic equally, and all their snooping will be for naught.
For those on my forums concerned about such things, there are answers, mainly "Encrypt" and "Obfuscate". Below are several free tools to help you protect your online identity and prevent anyone from reading anything that you don't specifically permit. Of these, the one with the most up-front headache for the average user will be encrypted Email, and the one with the most in-line overhead will be protecting your browsing with TOR. Once GPG or PGP is configured, you don't really have to figure it out. TOR takes a bit more of a toll on your day-to-day, but if your anonymity is worth it at that moment, it's worth it.