In the wake of the NSA whistleblower shedding light on the scope of the government surveillance practices, it may seem nearly impossible to maintain any type of cyber related security. But there are a few things you can do to protect your privacy, and yesterday TheBlaze reported “The Top Five Ways to Thwart the NSA and Government from Spying on You.”
“There’s a couple of things up on TheBlaze. There’s one: Five ways to thwart government spying,” Glenn said on radio this morning. “I don’t think any of them are any good, but let's count down from number five.”
While Glenn may not have been hugely impressed with the list, it does provide some feasible solutions that will help keep some of your information private.
NUMBER 5: Avoid cellphone tracking
Your cell phone company automatically records location data every time you make a call, so the only true way to avoid location tracking is to turn off your phone and remove the battery.
It is easy to think about tracking in regards to location services, but Glenn extended the concept even further – highlighting the risks associated with the microphones located in mobile devices.
“They offered a clue on how to save your cell phone, turn off the microphone,” Glenn said. “These things that we were talking about, we are talking about with the NSA, but remember, these are the things that the government's partner, Google, talked to me about. They said, ‘It's a good thing.’”
Take, for example, Apple’s Siri. “Siri will answer your questions before you even think of them. I said how is that even possible? Because it's going to read everything that you are reading, it is going to listen to all of your conversations, because it's an open mic,” Glenn explained. “When this thing is sitting here, my iPad is sitting here, your cell phone, it is an open mic, even if it is turned off, it is an open mic. The only way to stop it is to have a battery taken out of that device, which you can't do be with an Apple product.”
NUMBER 4: Secure phone conversations
Since the days of payphones have come and gone, there fewer ways to keep your phone conversations secure. Mobile encryption is one option – though when dealing with an agency as powerful as the NSA, attempts at private encryption will probably prove futile at best.
“There’s mobile encryption, but that doesn't work,” Glenn said. “I'm sorry, to say, if you are going up against the federal government, you don't have an encryption device that can really go up against the federal government.”
NUMBER 3: Encrypt, encrypt, encrypt
For companies that rely on cloud computing, encryption is key. Since companies like Microsoft, Apple, and Google provide the cloud services, the federal government can court order them to turn over the data.
“Encryption, again, is good. We have talked about it here. We have everything encrypted, but encryption is not something – encryption will stop your ordinary people,” Glenn said. “But if your enemy, for instance, because I'm in the news business, because we deal with hackers, we don't even trust the encryption. We are not dealing with hackers. We are trying to protect whistleblowers. We are dealing with the federal government. I don't know how much encryption I trust.”
NUMBER 2: Keep your browsing private
Despite how disenfranchised you might feel after reading through these privacy tips, there are several precautions you can take to keep your browsing private. From private mode to hiding your IP address, there are precautions you can take.
“Now, there are things that you can do,” Glenn said. “You can shutoff cookies and everything else off. And there are browsers, for instance, you can get a browser that is on a thumb drive, that you stick it into your computer and you browse and then you pull it out of the computer and it doesn't leave anything on the computer, but even that is really not effective when you are going against the government.”
NUMBER 1: Go off the grid
This is certainly extreme, but the only way to truly ensure your digital security is to get off the grid.
“That one would work,” Pat said laughing.
At his new ranch, Glenn is completely off the grid – a feat he is especially proud of.
“At my ranch, we are off the grid. We are entirely off the grid. There is not a piece of fiber or wire that runs,” Glenn explained. “I go up to the ranch, and we are off the grid, and I watch my kids, and I recognize their life. I urge you to do it as much as you possibly can. Get off it as much as you can.”