Fighting Crime Online should not mean Mass Surveillance
Okay, I get it. Going straight to the provider of the service the crime was committed on and asking for access to their data will give law enforcers a quick resolution to fighting a particular crime case. It will also enable the discovery of other ongoing crimes, and allow them to be resolved too.
This has many pluses, but it also has a massive negative.
The general public should not need to be doing something illegal to have something to hide. Their personal and fundamental right to privacy is at stake when crime is fought this way. Yes it does mean you catch all the bad guys, but you also have access to everyone else’s data as well.
If only there was a way to ensure that only the data of those who are doing things illegally would be accessed, but unfortunately this is not possible. When law enforcers gain access to data at the provider’s end, this gives them access to the data belonging to the criminals under investigation, but also breaches the privacy of those who are just trying to live a quiet and peaceful life. This is wrong!
The correct way to fight crime online, is to not conduct mass surveillance, but instead to gather evidence in ways where there is no chance of breaching the privacy of other individuals, and to then follow up by gaining access to the criminal’s device to verify further that they indeed committed the crime. They must not be considered a criminal until it has been verified at their end. This is to prevent spoofing of claims and evidence against an individual.
I personally do not want to be panicking that a powerful entity isn’t going to like what is being said privately between me and the recipients I have invited to be part of that conversation.
One way to ensure that your data is not going to be accessed without your permission, especially if you are doing nothing wrong, and just want to have a private conversation, is to use encryption, or to use a provider who uses encryption.
Not only do you need to make sure they use encryption, but to also make sure it is strong enough to protect your private data. Always have a good read through the information provided on the provider’s website, and if possible use only providers that open-source their software, and have had external security audits to verify the integrity of the code and systems used.
For the simpleton, how should you protect your data?
Encrypted Messaging and Texting
Messages are encrypted on the sender’s device, and remain encrypted until they reach the recipient’s device. You can also do voice calling via the app, which is also end-to-end encrypted.
Both sender and recipient must use the app to send and receive secure communications with each other.
The app costs money, but its a one-time purchase for a lifetime of secure communications with those close to you.
Your entire inbox is encrypted, including sender and recipient names, the subject line, content, and attachments.
Can be accessed in a web browser or securely using a mobile app on a smartphone or tablet.
All client apps, including web app and mobile apps are open-source so security professionals and other technical people can verify the code does what they claim.
Free plan available, but as it costs money to run the service, you should consider paying for yours, its the price of a coffee.
Privacy Internet Browser
Blocks ads and trackers and device fingerprinting methods To give you a faster and more private web browsing experience. No more seeing what you last shopped for on a non-shopping website.
Available for FREE on Desktop and Mobile Devices.
Virtual Private Network
Your entire internet traffic will be sent securely and encrypted to a server where it will then enter the World Wide Web.
Your true IP address will be masked, meaning no one can find your location, or restrict the content they provide based on your location, and can also make it harder for online attacks to be performed since these usually require what is being masked.
There are no logs kept, and your privacy is respected at all times.
Available on all major devices and operating systems and costs the price of a coffee.
There are potentially other ways you can protect your privacy online and reduce the chance of successful mass surveillance for those that deserve to have a quiet and peaceful life, but that should be a good place to start.
Hopefully this blog post has helped you protect against mass surveillance and protect your online privacy. See you next time.