Privacy was recognized as a fundamental human right in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.
- You can’t have freedom or protect yourself unless you also protect your privacy.
- Consider the balance between privacy and convenience and decide what level of privacy is right for you and your household.
- Commit yourself to your cause.
- Write PERSEC & OPSEC SOP’s and integrate them into your pattern of life. Privacy works best when it’s automatic.
Ask what it means to be “untrackable” and I get a different definition for every person I ask. Since I have written about the counter-tracking aspect of the subject several times over the past six months, I will approach the subject from the aspect of an escape plan or exit strategy.
This is an expansive topic and learning to run effective PERSEC (Personal Security), like many other aspects of survival, requires more attention than can be given in an online article. Therefore, I recommend that you read some good books on the subject to further education yourself. Fortunately, some privacy is better than none, so every change you make will help. If you are serious about PERSEC, a couple of the better books are:
- How to Be Invisible by J.J. Luna
- The Art of Invisibility: The World’s Foremost Hacker Teaches You How to Be Safe in the Age of Big Brother and Big Data by Kevin Mitnick
The former is heavier on privacy tradecraft heuristics and the latter is heavier on IT security, but both recognize one and the other as indispensable and include elements in twain.
Privacy and Anonymity… Who Needs Them?
Before any brainwashed sheeple start parroting “Un-Patriot Act” hype to justify their personal failure to keep their own privacy squared away, let’s get one fact out of the way: privacy and anonymity are not just for criminals and terrorists.
Privacy is for everyone. Good people who protect those who are incapable of protecting themselves and people who make the world a better place also need anonymity. Police officers, government agents, psychiatrists, corrections officers, journalists, authors, writers, celebrities, victims of violent crimes and witnesses all have a pressing need for privacy, as do many other people who contribute to society.
Why Are People Not More Concerned About Privacy?
First off, privacy is not convenient, and many Americans are addicted to convenience, including many people who are interested in emergency preparedness. Being an addict, to convenience or anything else, impairs survival effectiveness, so if you are hurt or alarmed that I just described you, choose to kick your addiction and improve your survival effectiveness.
The other major factor is education. There will always be a selfish minority who, seeing that the end of their lives is near, choose to value convenience of privacy because it will no longer affect them personally, even though it will continue to affect everyone who survives them. But I think those folks are a minority. Once people understand the consequences of trading their privacy for whatever small measure of convenience the tech sector happens to be pushing at the time, they experience a paradigm shift and are compelled to action. No one who values freedom and human rights can help but to be shaken to the core by the egregious violations of privacy rights occurring at all levels of both business and government. With few exceptions, people who understand what is happening cannot help but be alarmed by it. Those who do not understand it, however, are not burdened by the shocking and dystopian nature of their reality.
Uneducated voters don’t vote to fix privacy, which brings us to one last factor: law. In the area of privacy, technology has outpaced the law, and left law enforcement, government agencies and businesses to interpret the law for themselves. It is no surprise, therefore, that agencies have interpreted a single wiretap to apply not only to the individual named, but everyone he communicates with and everyone they communicate with and so on, until hundreds of thousands of people are have been ensnared in massive dragnets, violating both their unconditional human rights and the rights granted to US citizens by the constitution.
Privacy Affects You
If you are interested in survival, the historical record is replete with accounts of society fracturing upon various lines. These lines are sometimes ethnic, religious, political, economic or social in nature, and in the current state of our nation, any one of us could find ourselves in the persecuted minority. In the highly polarized state we now live in, it should not be difficult to conceive of a situation where you could be forced to flee in order to save yourself or family.
Even if you cannot, most Americans reading this article could be targeted by the one level of government or another. In the 90’s, the Clinton regime attacked the survivalist movement with a colossal media campaign that demonized us and painted all survivalists as crazy white supremacist child molesters. It was effective enough that it drove survivalists and militias underground for a decade and turned the word “survivalist” into a pejorative, forcing us to rebrand ourselves as “preppers.” Most of the new blood in the movement doesn’t know this, but anyone who lived through it understands the need for an exit strategy first hand.
Any American may also reasonably desire to have the option to run to avoid wrongful prosecution if targeted by corrupt or overzealous government prosecutors. According to defense lawyer Henry Silvergate, due to both the sheer number of laws on the books and because of the vagueness of many of those laws, the ordinary American professional unwittingly commits, on average, three felonies per day. Unless you manage your online footprint, it will grow so large that bits and pieces can be assembled out of context to fabricate evidence of crimes that you have not even committed. The first line of defense is to not leave a trail of evidence a mile wide that could be used to convict you.
In the forward to Kevin Mitnick’s book, The Art of Invisibility: The World’s Foremost Hacker Teaches You How to Be Safe in the Age of Big Brother and Big Data, Mikko Hypponen, the Chief Research Officer of F-Secure recognizes three important points:
- The right to privacy was affirmed as a basic human right in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.
- “If our privacy needed protection in 1948, it surely needs it much more today.”
- You cannot protect yourself without also protecting your privacy.
J.J. Luna’s 4 Levels of Privacy
- Level 1 – You do a few basic and inexpensive things that make your privacy better than 98% of your neighbors. It might cost a PI a couple hundred dollars to find you.
- Level 2 – Utilities, phones, computers and such under alternate names. A license plate search on your car won’t reveal your legal name. You shred sensitive papers that contain sensitive information and use encryption effectively. It could cost $5K or more to find you.
- Level 3 – You’ll likely have to move to achieve this level of privacy. You’ll pay cash for vehicles and properties that will be owned by LLC’s. Only a few close relatives and friends will know where you live. Your legal name will no longer appear on tax returns or anywhere else and your IT security will be tight as a drum. It will cost some serious bank to find you, so hopefully you can not do anything to warrant that level of scrutiny.
- Level 4 – Unless you’re in the WitSec program, you’ll become a criminal. You will change your name and never again work for anyone else or pay taxes. You’ll never see family or friends again and will change your hobbies, habits, religion and will likely (and ironically) experience an identity crisis. Even Osama Bin Laden wasn’t living “at level 4” 100%, but then he also ended up as fish food as a result. But if you do something bad enough to get your own team of analysts and dedicated satellite time, it is still possible to find most folks, even at this level.
I think Jack Luna hit the nail on the head. His vision of the levels of privacy and the effort that they require is very useful to help you decide what level of privacy is right for you. The only thing that I’d add is that some elements of level 4 can be attained without breaking the law. For example, owning your own business affords many advantages to those who desire privacy and can beef up someone’s level 3 privacy. I suppose one way to say it is that there is a lot of room between levels 3 and 4.
Luna’s levels of privacy help privacy seekers answer important questions: “How much is enough?” and “How much is too much?” I can’t tell you what’s right for you and your family. You’ll have to answer that for yourself, but as you do”
- Consider the balance between privacy and convenience and set reasonable privacy goals.
- Commit yourself to your cause. People like to think that they fail due to lack of discipline in the implementation when they nearly always fail before that … back in the research, education and planning stage that should have changed their vision.
- Create PERSEC and OPSEC SOP and integrate them into your pattern of life. Privacy is most effective when it’s automatic.
Here are Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4