Jun 12, 2013

How to keep the NSA out of your email

What can you do to avoid the all-seeing eyes of the National Security Agency? Here are some tips, but the real answer is: not a whole lot.

Stilgherrian — Technology writer and broadcaster


Technology writer and broadcaster


The internet is awash today with handy click-magnet lists of software and tips to stop the National Security Agency spying on your online activities and phone calls after it was revealed the US spy agency had access to a vast amount of its citizens private data. This is not one of these lists. I’ll give you a list, sure, but then I’ll explain why it can only be the very, very beginning of your path to becoming the James Bond of your laughable fantasies.

Anyway here’s the list. Other handy hints can be found in Slate on Friday, The Washington Post, The Guardian and others.

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9 thoughts on “How to keep the NSA out of your email

  1. paddy

    Loved the rising crescendo of that second list.
    Finished off by a beautiful summary in the last para.

  2. Elwood Johnson

    This is all very defeatest. You can do something you can let the government know that this kind of privacy invasion is not acceptible. Lobby for greater transparency of intelligence services and fight the government whenever they attempt to loosen the contraints on local intelligence gathering capabilities. If the government doesn’t listen vote for a government that will.

    Of course as a foreigner using US services none of this will stop the NSA tracking your every online move even if you succeed in convincing Bob Carr to care. So assuming the local intelligence agencies aren’t feeding our data directly into the NSA databases. It’s probably a good time to be (or become) an Australian cloud service provider.

  3. robinw

    Yeah, we’re pissing in the wind if we think we can circumvent such surveillance with a VPN or TOR or anything else. I know that with a VPN that you have to get out of it before you send an email which has made me wonder if that is really because of the need to have the sender’s IP there in the meta data, not the IP the VPN provider has supplied you that session.

    The only way I think we can overcome this creeping corporate fascism masked as governmental is to keep pressuring those meant to represent us to ensure that both the laws and the oversight are there in their fullest extent.

  4. Thomas McLoughlin

    I still like the list that makes the NSA bored with your email – via Gandhi – be open about your cause and be non violent. That still leaves a lifetime of activity to pursue.

  5. Mark out West

    The Americans love there Tech and are not interested in negotiating with anybody on anything cause they have the best SH*T.

    An Australian military adviser in Afghanistan (sorry can’t remember his name)stated that the Americans spent more on their brass bands than on military intelligence and building relationships.

    A French diplomat stated that he would start negotiating with Taliban, the next thing a drone would wipe them out, so there is no negotiation and it is now a fight to the death.

    The yanks treat their military like rock stars, they love love their SH*T.

    The chance of being blown up in America by a terrorist is smaller than being killed by bees.
    America will spend 20 billion dollars to ensure against this and in the process their citizens will become the most watched people on the planet.

    Could you imagine the hyperbole if this story was about the Chinese or Russians.

    Have I said, “the Americans love their SH*T cause they have the Best SH*T, they can even blow people up anywhere in the world via video games in the US, gotta love their SH*T.”

  6. Kfix

    Nice one Stil. I’ll second paddy – that list is almost poetic.

  7. TomM

    Or you could go off the grid John Connor (Terminator) style…and wait for SkyNet to startup (maybe the long lost son of PRISM?;)

  8. Dogs breakfast

    Beautiful work, Stilgherrian. Your only defence here is to never do, say or think anything remotely controversial.

    I now pay cash wherever I can for the sheer thrill of knowing that they don’t know who bought their stuff, or pay cash for one of those internet credit cards with a loaded value.

    Pathetic? Hey, I resemble that remark. 🙂

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