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4 Privacy Tools to Keep Your Data Safe & a Petition

Everyone’s talking about privacy since Edward Snowden became a whistleblower on the NSA (National Security Administration). He recently leaked a powerpoint that was for internal NSA training, showing how much of the information the NSA is gathering. This program is called PRISM.

What’s PRISM?

According to the Guardian, “Internal NSA documents claim the top secret data-mining programme gives the US government access to a vast quantity of emails, chat logs and other data directly from the servers of nine internet companies. These include Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL and Apple. The companies mentioned have all denied knowledge of or participation in the program.” But we know they’re lying.

If you’ve read the headlines about the NSA keeping all of our data in a big server somewhere, this might make you a bit nervous. Imagine it. If you’re a US or UK citizen, this has happened to you.

Imagine some government entity can look at

  • Every internet search you’ve ever done on Google or Yahoo.
  • Every email you’ve ever sent on AOL, Yahoo, or Gmail.
  • Every instant message you’ve ever received.
  • Every social media post you’ve ever written on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Every phonecall you’ve gotten through Verizon.
  • Every Skype call you’ve ever done.
  • Your credit card number, your bank account, or anything they want

People (AND NONPROFITS) are up in arms. The American Civil Liberties Union sued the government to compel release of its classified interpretation of section 215, the so-called “business records” provision of the Patriot Act. Here in Oregon, Jeff Merkeley, one of our senators, is introducing a bill with bipartisan support to force the NSA to reveal what information they are collecting from American citizens.

Spying on innocent people is wrong. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like that anyone could listen in on anything I’m doing, at any time. That is a violation of my and your basic human rights.

While this is fought out in the courts and in the senate, now that we know how much we’ve lost, we need options.

Some people say privacy is obsolete.

Privacy is not obsolete.

Privacy is a human right.

You DO have a right to privacy. And if you feel the same way that I do about this, then you’ll want the link to Prism Break, which helps you stop the government spying on your every move.

How To Protect Yourself

How to opt out of PRISM, the NSA’s global data surveillance program.

  • If you currently use Google to search, you can switch to StartPage.com, or DuckDuckGo.com. Both engines are private, and do not save your search results.
  • If you currently use Gmail, Yahoo Mail or another free email service, here’s where you’ll find alternatives like Thunderbird and RiseUp
  • If you currently use Skype, you can find a link to Jitsi, a free version of Skype.
  • If you currently use Twitter or facebook, there are private versions of those places as well.
  • You’ll find out how to encrypt your emails with Enigmail.
  • You’ll even find an alternative to Dropbox, Owncloud and Sparkleshare.

I personally use these services. I use enigmail and Thunderbird for email. I use Duckduckgo and startpage for my searches. I use Jitsi for chat. I still use Twitter but I’ve gotten off of Facebook. If you want help getting on any of these services, just let me know and I’ll walk you through it.

If you too believe that privacy is important, then here’s a link to petition the American government to request a pardon for Edward Snowden

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