I’m expecting serious civil liberties and privacy problems under a Trump presidency. I strongly suggest that you take steps to safeguard yourself – steps I’m planning to outline shortly.
We now live under conditions that could make the fantastic authoritarians of Your salivate with envy. The government’s capacity to monitor us has never been greater. And, as that capacity advances, politicians and bureaucrats adjust their knowledge of privacy and constitutional liberties with techniques that allow them to use it.
The thing that prevents them from defining those activities out of existence entirely is the remainder respect for constitutionality held by those in key positions. As I argued a week ago, proof of such respect is quite thin indeed in the incoming Trump administration.
That’s why, love him or hate him, you must be prepared…
Privacy Is Your Responsibility
Irrespective of who’s in control, government always finds a way to justify new solutions to invade our privacy.
Like, the Justice Department’s legal rationale for monitoring our emails and calls is based on the old-fashioned postal letter. When snail mail was king, courts ruled that any information externally of a letter – addressee, return address, host to posting – was in people domain, and therefore offered to government investigators. That’s why the post office scans and records each piece of mail in the U.S… Every day.
That logic now applies to the metadata of each and every call you make and every email you send. Soon it might connect with your Web browsing history as well. I just don’t trust Trump’s key appointees to resist that logic. So, here is what I will suggest:
Get Signal and/or WhatsApp for mobile messages: Signal is really a sophisticated Swiss messaging app that fully encrypts all of your text messages. It needs both parties to use it, so that it isn’t perfect for everything. Nevertheless, Moxie Marlinspike, the founder of Open Whisper Systems, Signal’s developer, says there has been a huge expansion within their user base because the election. So you’ll probably find more Signalers on your own, contact list as time goes on. WhatsApp is an alternative solution that encrypts your messaging and VoIP calls. It isn’t as secure as a Signal because it’s owned by Facebook, whose approach to court orders is uncertain, however, for ordinary purposes it will prevent real-time monitoring of one’s communications.
Encrypt your computer’s drive: Full disk encryption makes the contents of your computer totally unintelligible to anyone without the best password manager. Like, if you are stopped by Homeland Security upon coming back to the U.S., your laptop may be searched when you have officially entered the U.S. But when it’s encrypted, no law says you must divulge the password. Both Apple and Windows computers have automatic encryption built in the event that you activate it. That’s fine for some purposes.
Get a password manager: Using secure apps and utilities like those above means having passwords – plenty of them. Don’t write them on your own palm. Get a password manager that stores them (encrypted, of course) in a single place and generates and even change passwords for you.Personally, I take advantage of Dashlane. Other good password managers are 1Password and KeePass. I don’t recommend LastPass, another popular one, since they allowed themselves to be hacked last year. That’s just negative enough.
Use two-factor authentication: Most email programs, cloud storage utilities, banking apps, social media and other sensitive applications today offer two-factor authentication (TFA). TFA requires that every time you register, you go by way of a secondary layer of security: a code to enter at login that’s sent to your phone via text message. Some offer such codes via email, but don’t use it. If hackers access your email, they can access your accounts, insurance firms TFA codes sent to them.
Use HTTPS Everywhere: My friends at the Electronic Frontier Foundation developed a browser plug-in for Firefox and Chrome that forces websites you stop by at use the most secure connection protocol. If encryption can be acquired on the internet site you visit, your connection to your website will be encrypted, and you will be protected from various types of surveillance and hacking during that session.