I’m hoping that my blog isn’t the first place today that you come across Reset the Net, but I’ll encourage you to click if you haven’t. Reset the Net is a day of awareness and activism about protecting ourselves from government mass surveillance on the Internet. Clicking any of the RtN links here will take you to a list of free privacy tools for your phone, Windows, Mac or GNU/Linux computer, tips to manage your passwords, and more. While they won’t give you complete protection in the case of a targeted investigation, they will go a long way toward shielding you from large scale data and metadata collections.
To protect ourselves, it’s necessary to give up a little convenience. Even I feel a lot of “I don’t wanna!” when it comes to switching browsers or adding layers of verification. Rather than switching to Tor (yet), I use a number of Chrome plug-ins like Privacy Badger, HTTPS Everywhere, and Disconnect. These “break” a lot of websites for me: alignment is strange and videos don’t appear or play. Sometimes it’s annoying to tweak the settings to see a video I really want to watch, but it forces me to be aware that I’m giving up privacy to do so. If I go to my Privacy Badger settings and see that a long list of tracking mechanisms have been blocked, I leave and don’t go back. I took a couple of days recently to audit my passwords, changing many of them and adding security. It’s not difficult to set up or use another layer of verification on many services.
If you think this sort of thing is unnecessary, you trust in the benevolence of governments and others far more than I do. Personally, I think my data is mine. I should be able to choose when to share it with anyone else, whether they are advertisers, website publishers, or government agencies. At the same time, I think it’s my responsibility to safeguard my data from theft. An account provider gives me a door with a unique username and password, but it’s up to me to make sure that door is locked.
Reset the Net. Click, download useful tools, and take time soon to add some security.