Surveillance in the Modern Age

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As you may have heard there are many different security agencies and people trying to spy on our every move. Luckily there is still hope for our society.

We need to use VERY strong mathematics (cryptography) to put an end to mass surveillance at least at the network level. We can use tools such as the Onion router (Tor), I2P, and Freenet for avoiding someone monitoring your upstream and to provide end-to-end encryption (as long as you don’t exit the Tor network). We also need to use tools such as PGP and OTR messaging to protect our communications that might go over an open (unencrypted) pipe.

As for the physical and application layer we need to stop using Apple products, a lot of Microsoft products, and just about any type of cell phone. We need to start using open source hardware and software. There are a lot of different options for open source operating systems and software like theamnesicincognitolivesystem (Tails) but there are not many options for open source hardware which is a BIG problem. If there are hardware backdoors in our systems then there is no point in trying to secure our communications using cryptography because they can just spy on you at the physical layer.

For an example we should all know that if you are using an iPhone you already have a huge problem! Almost all of Apple’s iPhones CPU’s have backdoors in them. If you use a cell phone at all you need to use an open source operating system and open source applications like RedPhone and TextSecure (only available for Android) to provide end-to-end encryption for your communications.

The NSA is not the only problem though. When the NSA needs to call for backup so to speak they go to GCHQ. GCHQ is like the NSA for the United Kingdom. We should also know that there is an alliance created for signals intelligence called “Five Eyes” also known as “FVEY”, which is an alliance between Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. If those countries can spy on you then that also means that I can spy on you using $50 of cell phone equipment! It does not matter if you are using AT&T (GSM) Sprint (CDMA) or any other provider they are all using weak cryptography and almost all of their networks have backdoors in them.

For example in May of 2000 AT&T had a device in their San Francisco trunk facility called the Narus ST-6400 which was capable of monitoring 10 billion bits of data per second! Now that was years ago: think what they are capable of doing now! If you are using AT&T’s network then you are using an encryption algorithm called A5 which can be broken by a motivated attacker and of course the NSA. I know that this is a lot to digest if you have never heard of any of this before but I hope that this little information has helped you understand what we need to do.

I would like to say that without the help of the NSA whistleblowers Bill Binney, Thomas Drake, and Edward Snowden we would not know what we do today about NSA surveillance so I would like to thank them. I would like to thank the Tor developers Jacob Appelbaum, Damian Johnson, and many more. Also I would like to thank the journalists that work for WikiLeaks for helping to expose the information that the NSA whistleblowers leaked. There are so many more whistleblowers, developers, and journalists out there that I did not list and I would like to also thank them as well. We the people in this country still have a long way to go but I believe that we can get there by coming together and uniting as one as our forefathers did when they founded this country.

 

Thank you all for taking the time to read this post! God bless!

 

This post can also be seen at blog.pjhoodsco.com.

Author

Preston Hood

Hello, my name is Preston Hood. I am the owner of PJHoodsCo, an Information Technology (IT) solutions provider. I am also an independent writer and IT security researcher.

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