COMSEC: Securing Your Communications and Online Activity
Government whistle blowers, men like Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, Kevin Shipp and William Binney, have done us all a great public service by revealing the extent to which our government – and governments around the world, for that matter – feel they are entitled to spy on us, collect our most sensitive and private data and communications, and even wield that unlawfully obtained information against us in administrative, law enforcement or court proceedings. All of this is in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which exists to protect us from unreasonable searches and seizures of our private information. Still, the abuses continued unabated and in some instances our Supreme Court, charged with putting a check on executive power and protecting the natural rights of citizens, has agreed to substantially water down this restriction and many other restrictions on government abuses of power and has even certified the abuse as lawful activity. Besides it now being clear to all of us that the Supreme Court is in dire need of justices who respect the rule of law, individual liberty and natural rights, it is also clear that people need to take their own countermeasures against warrantless wiretapping and unlawful surveillance of their private activities.
Some people may say they are unconcerned about their online or communications security because they have, as we’ve often heard people say, “nothing to hide,” but the truth of the matter is you may think that you have nothing to hide until you are falsely accused of a crime or the government decides it wants to weaponize your information against you for any purpose it may determine for any reason in the indefinite future. It is the unexpected abuse of government power that you should fear the most. If the government ever decides to put its full weight against you in any sort of legal proceeding there will be a time when you will wish you hadn’t been so quick to surrender your rights. Even if you are innocent of the accusations made against you, you will quickly learn that dealing with the government and going through the criminal justice or other legal system is something you would only wish on your very worst enemy. The system doesn’t care about you and it will absolutely break you unless you can afford outstanding legal representation. Take this warning seriously. Take it as seriously as a heart attack from this author who has defended many clients in the criminal justice system. Do not give up your rights and do not give the government anything they can use against you.
Those who are familiar with law enforcement investigations and criminal prosecutions know that anything you say, or have said, can and will be used against you and it doesn’t matter if what you said is out of context, a mistake, or hyperbole. The fact of the matter is, the criminal prosecutorial system will nail you to the floor boards if given the chance. Look around you now and you’ll easily see how innocent people are being prosecuted for merely defending themselves against mob violence. If a prosecutor wants to make you look bad they can pull, for example, a quote from your Facebook page or an angry statement you made on the phone when you said, that “all of these rioters need to be shot.” All they need is to find you shooting a rioter, even in self-defense, and magically you’re charged with first degree murder because they have a statement of intent against you. If you think the system cares that what you were saying was just hyperbole or an expression of frustration with the violence, you’re wrong because the system does not care about you and it thrives on punishing people – even the innocent. They will come after you as hard as they can and seek the maximum punishment against you for daring to defend yourself. It’s a fact. This must not be taken lightly. Justice will be expensive and hard to come by with the many corrupt judges and prosecutors still dominating our legal system.
Additionally, electronic identity theft has become a major criminal enterprise in the last several years and will become even more of a problem as we move to conduct more and more of our business online or by phone rather than in person. According to the world renowned polling company, GALLUP,
One in six Americans say they have had financial information — such as their bank or credit card numbers – stolen . . . six in 10 (62%) of those who had their information stolen say someone charged purchases against a credit card they already had. Fifty-four percent said someone charged purchases or withdrew money from their bank account . . . . Twelve percent of U.S. consumers say they have had personal information — such as their driver’s license, birth certificate, or Social Security number — stolen.
Those who have had to deal with the headache of reclaiming their identity know that this is a painful, long and miserable process that can financially ruin you and stretch you to the limits of sanity. Whether by government or by criminal – although some may say the two are synonymous these days – you do not want to unnecessarily expose yourself to having your electronic communications or internet activity used against you.
With this in mind we’ve come up with six recommended products and services you procure immediately in order to protect yourself and your family from government abuse of power. These items will also help to protect you from computer hackers, eavesdroppers, and opportunistic criminals seeking to take advantage of your data.
- Tor Brower Tor Browser is a web browser that works to defend your privacy online by providing multi-layered encryption, relaying and encrypting your web traffic over thousands of volunteer run servers around the world making it virtually impossible for anyone to determine your actual IP Address.
- NordVPN This virtual private network allows you to set your IP location to hundreds of different locations around the world. All American Magazine is a sale affiliate of NordVPN though we tested the service prior to becoming an affiliate and have been impressed with the service. We encourage you to check them out here and see if they are a good fit for you. They are typically the highest rated VPN available. For extra secure internet activity use your VPN and Tor simultaneously.
- Signal This is an app for your cell phone and desk top and provides state of the art end to end encryption of your text messages and phone calls. We recommend that you use this app for all of your important communications.
- Protonmail This is a Switzerland based email provider that lives by the far more robust Swiss privacy laws than the laws that U.S. based companies have to deal with. Sending emails between Protonmail accounts is encrypted and the service even has a message self-destruct option that will delete the message sent after an amount of time that the sender sets.
- Startpage This is a unique search engine that anonymizes your search and runs it through the Google search engine. That way you get the benefit of using Google’s algorithm without compromising your privacy by using Google. Your searches are not logged and you can even view a webpage through their “Anonymous” view so your IP Address will not be linked to the web page you are viewing.
- Contact our Privacy Consultants for additional privacy services. For a fee we can help you with various recommended products and our own unique and expansive in-house services that will help to anonymize your online activity and communications, conceal your identity, reduce your public visibility and develop creative ways to manage activities that you want concealed. There is no job too big or small for our consultants to handle. Contact us and we’ll develop a plan to help you meet your goals.