Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Prism Break Challenge : Internet

Goal

To stay untraceable on the Net. Not using my own Internet connection. Not giving up my own location. Not letting Big Brother read my communication.
Exceptions: Work (day job and organisational related work).

Result

I had to be online from home, and since I decided not to crack my neighbour's wifi, I ended up using my own connection.
I never accessed the Internet from outside my office or outside my home.
I left one or more devices online at all times, so that there would be some Internet traffic from my apartment 24/7. (I also thought of making a little program, that would mimic a user surfing the net, opening some random web pages at random times, throughout the day. I will leave this for later.)
When it comes to avoiding social media I already had some experience. This time I did never log onto Facebook. But a Twitter app was running on my phone, and I was at all times logged into Google Apps (Gmail) and Google+. I checked Instagram a few times. I posted nothing on any social medias, and overall spent practically no time reading / checking what was going on.
When it comes to blogging (I don't like that word), I posted nothing on my picture blog, and only one post, related this challenge, on chronicles.no.
In general I used my email for work and organisational purposes only. I received incoming messages from friends, but did not answer, or answered in alternative ways. No one sent my any PGP encrypted emails, and Bitmessage is not mature enough for being used. I made one more exception though, as I had to take part in planning a holiday.
I did not use my online calendar for private appointments, but instead an old fashion notebook.
I mainly photographed using my compact camera instead of my phone, hence very few photos were auto-uploaded to the Net (I have enabled auto-upload of mobile shots to Dropbox and Flickr).
I did use online services for writing text related this challenge. I could have written this in offline mode, using Notepad or what have you got though.
In between 1st and 15th of September I left no traces of what music I played. I did not use Spotify nor scrobble any music to last.fm. After the 15th I did let myself scrobble and use Spotify.
I did use my Garmin and auto-uploaded training sessions to Garmin Connect.
I kept letting Google logging many of my searches, but I also used DuckDuckGo as an alternative to Google search.
Overall I did not do very well compared to my initial goal. On the other side I did limit what I share with Big Brother a great deal.

Conclusion

Why
The bullet point "Internet" is massive, and I could have written several pages about services to use or not. As long as you are online it is hard to hide from Big Brother. You should be aware of this. Every time you log on to a service there will be created a link in between the service and your location. The service can store a lot of data about the client you are using.

What I will do
I will keep limiting the use of Internet outside home and work. Next to leaving less traces, being less dependent on Internet feels liberating. TOR is too slow for me to bother using. I will use VPN more, to limit what my ISP sees. However, using a VPN service is not at all hiding your online behavior. Big Brother might as well have a "deal" with your VPN provider that lets them see everything you do through them.
I will not avoid social media, as it is a nice source of news, and a way of staying in touch with people. On the other side I will not share that much myself, of private information. I might continue sharing (mainly) none-private news on Google+, as I like that as a tool. I will keep publishing on my main blog, and I will keep sharing photos via my picture blog.
There is yet no good alternative to normal email, and no one I communicate with has got email encryption running. I will continue using email as a tool for communicating, but I will have to assume that all my emails are read by Big Brother. If I need to send private information along with any emails, I will attach an encrypted file, and provide the receiver with a password using another communication channel. Alternatively I will use PGP if the receiver has got a public key for me.

Remember
It is hard to hide from Big Brother on the Internet.

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