U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)-Through AmmoLand's guide to privacy, we have learned a lot about how to keep us safe on the Internet. Even though it is impossible to keep our information utterly private from prying eyes in the digital world, we learned specific steps to help us minimize the intrusions.
Even if we can use VPNs and DNS anonymizers like the one offered by Cloudflare the sites we connect to store our personal information in databases and then uses that stored information to build profiles on each one of us.
Most search engines like Google track the sites that you go to when we are browsing. They even track key words. Not only does Google use this information to serve ads to us, but it can be used to build profiles that governments uses to track its citizens. Privacy experts have been warning us for years on less than good uses for this information. So, do how we search for things on the internet without using Google? Although Google does have an 80% market share in the search engine arena, there are alternatives. Unfortunately, sites like Microsoft's Bing also stores or private information, but there is hope.
DuckDuckGo built its search engine around the idea of maximum privacy. This search engine is one of the only, if not thee only search engine that does not store a person’s search history. No matter what you search, the site will never keep any private information.
It also performs remarkably well when matched up with Google. It returns search results quickly, and the results are relevant to the searched terms. Although it isn't as good as Google’s performance, it is pretty good considering that Google has 1000s of engineers and DuckDuckGo has about 20. I believe it’s performance is greater than Bing or Yahoo.
Among email browsers Gmail is king. Yahoo and Hotmail come in a distant second and third. AOL is an even more distant fourth. What all these web mail services have in common is that they all scan your emails for terms. The main reason is that they scan your email is to serve you advertisements.
There is also a second reason that these mega-providers scan your email. Anything that these companies deem illegal is flagged and submitted to law enforcement authorities. Also, keywords such as “explosive” are tagged for further review. It wouldn't be a stretch for these companies to decide to ban the selling of guns using emails. All it would take a small change in the terms of service.
A way around this monitoring would be to use a private email server, but not everyone has the know how to spin up a mail server There is another and possible better way around the “Big Brother” monitoring of these email providers. To get around the monitoring, an end user can use Protonmail.
Protonmail is a web-based email service that uses secure end-to-end encryption. Protonmail located their mail servers in Switzerland which has some of the strongest privacy laws in the world. Companies in Switzerland are famous for rejecting requests to turn over information to other countries.
Protonmail was developed at CERN in 2014 by a couple of engineers that were interested in promoting real privacy. Some of the biggest brains in the world work at CERN. Almost monthly discoveries come out of CERN that change the world of science.
Protonmail uses real end-to-end encryption and two-factor authentication. Protonmail doesn't scan the end users' emails. In fact, it can't perform a scan of a user's emails. The lack of the ability to scan a users’ emails is because Protonmail uses client-side encryption which means Protomail encrypts the user's inbox on the user's computer itself. A non-encrypted inbox is never on the Protonmail servers making it impossible for it to be scanned.
The two-factor authentication means a user must enter a password to log into the site. At this point the site puts the inbox locally on the user's computer. A second password is used to decrypt the email box. This whole process is done in the background and is transparent to the end user.
This security of Protonmail is a level of privacy that is unmatched by any email service on the web. It is even more secure than running your own server since Protonmail is outside the jurisdiction of both the US and EU. It is so safe that journalist use it to talk to sources and activist from around the world use it to organize protest.
Email is an excellent way of communicating, but sometimes we need to talk through text messages. A little-known fact is mobile phone providers store every text message that users sends and receives. Providers also scan these text messages for certain keywords. Prosecutors have used text messages in legal cases that providers have turned over to law enforcement.
Signal Scalable Encryption Text Tool
There is an alternative to using your mobile phone provider's stock text messaging app. An end user could use the Signal app to send and receive secure messages that a provider cannot capture due to encryption. The Signal app is a popular encrypted text messaging service for privacy experts and activist. It uses the Whisper Network which has military grade end-to-end encryption. It is almost impossible to crack without a lot of time and supercomputers.
Like Protonmail it uses client-side encryption so not even the app designers can access the information shared through Signal. During the Arab Spring uprising, activist used the Whisper Network to organize their protest away from the prying eyes of the oppressive Egyptian government.
A user can also create a messaging group so they can replace group chats that are on services like Facebook Messenger. It is one of my favorite tools to use when talking to sources that are leaking information to me because it keeps them safe from prying eyes.
Signal also offers video chats. It replaces Facetime and Skype with an end-to-end encrypted video conference solution. The Whisper network is a non-profit group dedicated to privacy, so you never have to worry about a big corporation selling your data to the highest bidder. In fact, people like Edward Snowden and Julian Assange used Signal to communicate in the past.
None of this matter unless our browsing is secure from Big Brother. Most people use Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. Other browsers such as Microsoft Edge, Apple Safari, and Opera are out there. None of these browsers offer the anonymity and security a user should demand.
There is one browser that is out there are offers a very high level of security. That browser is the TOR Browser. TOR stands for The Onion Router. This browser is the one that lets you access the Deep Web. We will talk about the Dark Net and Deep Web in a later part of the series.
For now, all you need to know is it is the world’s most robust encrypted and safest browser when it comes to privacy. The TOR Project is a non-profit group dedicated to privacy on the Internet. Unlike Chrome, it does not store your information to any database and actively prevents data from being stored.
By using these alternatives, you can keep your information private and make yourself less of a target to those that would like to violate our rights.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. He is the former CEO of Veritas Firearms, LLC and is the co-host of The Patriot News Podcast which can be found at www.blogtalkradio.com/patriotnews. John has written extensively on the patriot movement including 3%'ers, Oath Keepers, and Militias. In addition to the Patriot movement, John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and is currently working on a book on leftist deplatforming methods and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, on Facebook at realjohncrump, or at www.crumpy.com.