Month: May 2014

Secret Emails In Your Draft Folder: A Really Bad Smart Idea

When I first started using email about 15 years ago I became aware that information transmitted could be intercepted by the wrong recipient and I wanted to come up with a safer form of communication.  That’s when I noticed the “drafts” folder which is on all the emails I have ever had.  I figured if I open a new email account, write an email and save it to “drafts” rather than sending it, I could then give the password to the intended recipient.  That intended recipient could then log into the account and read the message.  It would never be sent and only the parties involved would read it.  This is what I believed.  This was before I was awake to the truth.
 
I never used that form of communication because I never had the need.  If the occasion had arisen I had every intention of using it.  In hind sight I am very glad It never happened.  How was I to know that all the big alphabet agencies have labeled emailers who use this method as potential terrorists?  The NSA listens and watches all of us but if anyone uses the above described method they dial in and pay very close attention to you. 
 
If you try this method you probably won’t fool anyone.  The only good that could come out of it would be hiding information from your spouse and creating an email they could never get into.  I would rather get a divorce.
 
A perfect example of what I’m talking about would be the incident involving General David Petraeus.  At the time he was Director of the CIA and of course he had people listening in on his emails.  The story is all over the web but the short version is that he started an email account with another woman and used the above mentioned privacy technique.  It didn’t work and the media storm that followed reminded us all that if the director of the CIA can’t maintain his own privacy then we are all screwed!!  Petraeus was forced to step down from his position because he had a roll in the hay with a hooker.  It had nothing to do with his job performance.  He just made some bad email moves and he was out of work.(it’s not all bad.  I think he’s eligible for Obama care!!)  
The point is, don’t do this! 
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Don’t Miss the PBS Frontline 2-Part Special on Privacy and The US Surveillance State

Don’t miss the 2-part series on privacy called “United States of Secrets” which just aired on PBS Frontline. It is a truly disturbing look into how much our government (NSA) is spying on us.

If you are curious to learn more about how the NSA works, how companies like Google and Yahoo monitor and keep your data then check it out. What I found most disturbing was the letters issued by our government requesting carte blanche information from thousands of tech companies, instructing them to provide the information under the guise of national security, and then forbidding them from talking about the request to anyone. Image

Spoiler alert: they are spying on everything you do and they are storing the data! I feel so sick to my stomach right now.

So how can you protect yourself. Start herehttp://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/government-elections-politics/united-states-of-secrets/podcast-how-to-protect-yourself-and-your-data-online/

 

A Simple Reminder

There are a couple of things you should already know but I just want to keep them fresh on your mind.  I just happened to be reminded of one yesterday when I tried to buy a couple of items at a chain retailer.  Just to be clear, I did look around to see if any local vendors had the items I needed but I had to use the chain store.
When I was at the cash register trying to buy the items (with cash) the clerk told me he “needed” my email address.  For some reason this sort of thing stalls my brain out for a couple of seconds every time if I’m not prepared for it.  It’s psychological and it puts out the image to a persons brain that if you don’t give up the personal information you won’t get the items you are trying to buy.
It goes back to that old idea many of us have in our heads “if you don’t have anything to hide, then what are you worried about?”, Yea right.   These retailers will screw you 7 ways from Sunday given the right personal information.  So program this in your head right now: “NO, YOU DON’T NEED THAT”.  That’s all they need to know.  You are giving them cash for their crap from China and that’s that.  They don’t need anything else.
I have three simple things you need to have in your brain and you should be able to spit them out without hesitation when asked by anybody.  Here they are: NO, NO, and NO!  NO you can’t have my email.  NO you can’t have my phone number.  NO you may certainly not have my address!!
I know you know this already but this is just a friendly reminder.  If you give these private details up, you will regret it.

Is Your Name on a U.S. Government Terrorist Watch List?

There’s a chance that next time you attempt to fly in a commercial airliner or cross the border into Canada or Mexico from the Continental United States you could be detained, searched, questioned and/or imprisoned for an extended period of time. Why? Because Uncle Sam says so!

As you may be aware, there is a list of people maintained by the US Government known as the “no fly” list or the “terror watch list.” Officially, the list is known as the U.S. Government’s Consolidated Terrorist Watch List. Who’s on the list? Well, it’s secret, of course. But based on circumstantial information, it is estimated that up to 1,000,000 (that’s 1 MILLION) people may be currently on the list. Again, no one knows for sure.

Later in the discussion we’ll give you some tips on how to figure out if you are on the list.

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In the meantime, how does one go about getting on “The List”?

You don’t have to be a bad guy; plenty of average, law-abiding Americans have discovered the hard way that they have been black-balled by the powers that be. Landing on the terrorist watch list can be as easy as paying cash for an airline ticket, being part of a group that itself is under scrutiny by the US Government (think Tea Party, Green movement, etc.), being a journalist who is critical of the white house, having a similar name to someone listed, simple paperwork errors or just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I’m sure there are other ways. Use your imagination.

Even well-known politicians, recording artists and nuns have been detained (Senator Ted Kennedy, Cat Stevens and Sister Glenn Anne McPhee, respectively) using the Terrorist Watch List compiled by US Government agencies.

Here are some suggestions for alternative means of transportation if you find yourself on the No Fly List. The purpose of this list is not for fleeing justice; it is instead for those who may have been disenfranchised by being listed on the “No Fly” list or those who don’t wish to have their privacy violated by the TSA:

Travel by land in a vehicle. Many people refuse to fly for a number of reasons. Enjoy the sites on the way all the while being safely on the ground. Yes, it may take longer to reach your destination, but there are no official intrastate border checks (yet). Of course this only works for travel within the United States. One note: there are now federal checkpoints all over the southwest, including Texas and California. So even on the ground one cannot always escape the reaching hand of “Uncle Sam.”

Travel by boat when moving from country to country. Traveling by boat can be scenic and fun. Many other countries don’t over-scrutinize travelers like the US has become infamous for doing.

Travel by train. Trains are getting faster and more available for land travel both inside and outside the US. It’s an affordable and reliable means of transportation.

How do you determine if you’re on “the list”?

The way most people determine that they have been “black-listed” from flying on commercial flights is by attempting to fly somewhere. Once you are listed and you attempt to fly, the typical procedure is for TSA or other security personnel to pull the listed person aside for interviewing and search. If this happens to you, it’s very likely that you have been listed.

Another way to find out if you’re on the list is through company background checks. While applying for a job, you may be required to submit to background checks. A thorough background check will likely reveal whether you are listed on a government watchlist.

Interesting articles on the subject:

http://beforeitsnews.com/alternative/2014/03/875000-left-in-bureaucratic-black-hole-that-is-us-terror-watchlist-system-2918826.html

http://people.howstuffworks.com/government-watch-list.htm

http://www.alternet.org/story/62407/are_you_on_the_government’s_’no_fly’_list

 

Dogs Make Great Pets!

Imagine a world in which all of the guns have been made illegal and all formidable knives are required to be cut off at the tip so they don’t have a sharp point (Think: United Kingdom – it’s already happened there).Image 
What would you do to defend your home and family?   It is common knowledge that when guns are illegal, only criminals have guns and when SECONDS count the police are just MINUTES away.  The only hope you may have for security is a dog.  
 
The issue of security and privacy do come together at this point because without security, you have no expectation of privacy.  Before I get deeper into this subject I want to say that dogs are like a member of the family to me and I believe those trashy tornado bait wanna-be thugs that would fight dogs or don’t keep them properly secure around children should not be allowed to own them.  With that in mind I hope you will carefully consider mainstream media scrutiny of so called “dangerous” breeds of dogs.  The dogs are dangerous because they are abused and not properly supervised by their owners.  Comparably, I can say to you that I like both large dogs and Glock pistols, but I would leave neither of them alone with a small child.  
 
The main point I want to get across to you is that for those evil entities who take it upon themselves to dissolve freedom on a daily basis it is not about taking away your guns and that’s all.  They want to make you 100% inferior and weak.  They have already shown their intentions to sensor the internet in order to continue the propagation of only “approved” news and web sites.  
 
Let’s go back to the question I started with.  Right now you can defend your home and family from rapists and looters by dispensing a few shotgun shells in their direction.  If guns were all taken from law abiding citizens what would you do.  A nice sized family dog with a sense of family could defend your home and even a small yap yap dog like a Chihuahua can be a good alert system to someone coming in your home.  So pay attention when you see all these new rules and regulations coming up concerning “dangerous” dogs.  It could be just another plan to take away any defense you could have for yourself and your family. 
 
I can’t suggest to you any special breed of dog for you to get because it would be like saying if you want to find a good person go America.  There are good and bad of all kinds, but from my experience if you take a puppy and show it love and treat it as part of the family it will grow up to protect it’s territory (your home) in some capacity.  In the movies you may see a dog take a bullet for his master but in reality you never know if your dog is all bark or all bite.  Some times a dog who has never exhibited any signs of heroism will save the day when really bad things are happening.  In my opinion a family dog is worth having as a tool for assisting in privacy preservation and for a privacy seeker owning a dog should be considered. Just keep in mind that it’s almost like having a child.  Owning a dog will require that you take time out of your day and will cost money.  So contemplate what will work best for you as far as breed, size and hair length.  Take your time.