game, game. repeat.

Opting Out

Thu 17 October 2013 #politics #security


A government with easy access to all the public and private information of its people, that collects this information against their wishes, that makes them more vulnerable to harm in order to maintain their access, and then lies in order to cover up their actions is fundamentally incompatible with American democracy. The freedom to live, speak, and think in private, without worrying how a government agent might view our thoughts or try to use them against us, is liberty. I feel obligated to opt out and find other ways to protest and inhibit these destructive programs.

I’ve started looking for alternatives to NSA compromised services and software and I’m going to slowly swap them out. I used to assume that big, brand name proprietary software was more secure, now I wonder what backdoors and vulnerabilities, known to some who are trustworthy and some who are not, they contain. At least with open source software users have a fighting chance to find and address vulnerabilities.


Switched from Google to self hosted. I don’t want my personal email caught up in the NSA dragnet or any other dragnet. I realize that if the NSA wants to pwn me they will, but I don’t want to make it an any easier that I have to. I’m still using Google Apps at work because Google Apps is awesome and I’m less offended by the g-men snooping in that context.


Switched from Google to DuckDuckGo. They don’t store personal info. Their search isn’t as good as Google’s but I’ll live.


Cancelled my order. If you want to pick my lock you’re going to have to show up in person.


Switched from Google Chrome to Chromium to Firefox. Installed Adblock Plus, BetterPrivacy, Flashblock, and NoScript addons.


Switched to Sonic because they are the ISP available to me that fights the hardest for their users’ rights. My old provider, Comcast, not so much.


Switched from Apple Messages to Adium. Using OTR when I can.


Donating monthly to the EFF. Wrote my congresswoman asking her to vote for the bill restricting NSA phone-tracking. Signed the petition to pardon Snowden. Donated to the Lavabit defense fund. Installed Little Snitch to reduce monitoring from my laptop, though I still need to take more time to lock thing down properly.


I’m a Mac+OSX and iPhone user, look into open alternatives. I occasionally use Facebook, more and more these days for authentication across web and mobile apps, is there a way to share online without permitting a big company or a government agency the same access as my family? Try out more Prism-Break ideas. Ponder how to use encryption on top of cloud services so I can have my cake and eat it too. Need to buy a bumper sticker that says: Stallman Was Right.