Recent years made the intentions of governments across the world crystal clear, they want to take away the freedom of speech, freedom of movement, and freedom of thinking. In 2021 more surveillance technologies were implemented than in 10 years before that.
Remaining anonymous online is not a priority but a necessity today, and here is the place to learn the basics. Learn about ways your personal information becomes public, the easiest ways to avoid this, and a few quick tips, of course.
Modern Surveillance Technologies
Surveillance is a general term, a process of tracking personal activities. On the internet back then, it was impossible due to how data transfer protocols were working. Your session data was stored on the PC, mostly.
In comparison, websites store most of the data on their servers. Each guest of the site is assigned a cookie file that records all the actions associated with its domain. Bad for you, even if the company states that these files are anonymous and will not be shared with 3rd parties, it is not the case.
Big Tech especially (Microsoft, Google, and Apple) is very fond of the idea to share the personal information of their users to target ads better. It is what they say in public, yet according to various journalist investigations, the implications of such actions are much worse than these statements. Some of the examples:
- Amazon Ring police cameras by LATimes;
- Clearview AI partnership with governments across the world by Buzzfeed;
- The Pegasus Project by The Washington Post.
Regardless of the scope of surveillance taking place right now, it is still possible to protect your devices. The main areas to do that are your operational system, browser, and IP. Phones and tablets (especially Apple devices) are harder to protect from Big Brother, yet some of the opportunities are still here.
What Is Inside Your PC
The first line of digital defense is the core of devices you are using every day. Popular PC operational systems (macOS, Windows) constantly gather your personal information and send it to their servers.
You can download special versions from a pirate proxy or other website to cut this link. On the other hand, any Linux distributions offer 10 times more security and transparency than any of the official or unofficial versions of the aforementioned OSes. Whonix is a default Linux distribution for people who want to start using GNU-based systems. Its official website has a well-written guide for people of any level of IT knowledge.
An Open Window To The World
The second line of digital defense is your gateway to the internet, an internet browser. Chrome, Safari, and Edge are the top competitors in the section, yet all of them are collecting your data and require a login to use some of the services. Mozilla, the first customer-oriented browser back then, made pro-censorship statements on behalf of the CEO Mitchell Baker. Yandex Browser is not a part of Big Tech, yet it is not free of surveillance tools.
Brave is a relatively popular browser that respects your anonymity and security. It supports most of the extensions and is highly customizable. Other options are Iron, Vivaldi, or Dissenter, with similar security and privacy.
A Portable Surveillance Beacon
When it comes to smartphones, the way people access the internet the most, providing yourself with anonymity is the hardest. Not only is it impossible to buy a SIM without the ID legally, but all the tracking utilities from the manufacturers are also there. Governments across the world use it to suppress the opposition.
Custom OS is the only way to escape them completely. This solution applies strictly to Android phones, as iPhone hardware cannot run anything other than iOS. You can jailbreak them, but it will be impossible to delete surveillance software completely. An Android device with Lineage OS and no SIM is the choice for safe portable browsing.
What Does The Future Hold
Grim times are yet to come, but it is better to be prepared today. Protect your identity, your privacy, and your freedom of speech from Big Tech and the local government. The whole setup may cost you time today, but tomorrow you can browse the net safely. A great starting point that has not been mentioned in the article is using VPN.
Not only it hides the IP from websites but helps you to access any information blocked in your country. Privacy is the thing you should work for, and the time to do it is today.
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