We value our privacy.
No wonder we’re nervous. The National Security Agency, in blithe disregard of our constitutional right against unwarranted search and seizure, has been indiscriminately scooping up data (“meta” data) about our communications (among other covert acts that have compromised the security of our transactions).
However the controversies triggered by the scandals play out, it’s clearer than ever that you can’t trust the government to respect your right to privacy. Your line of first defense has to be you.
Even before the NSA scandal broke, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) was on the case, explaining how to reduce your risk when saving data to your computer, sending the data elsewhere, and entrusting it to third parties. Their Surveillance Self-Defense site spells out what the government can legally do to spy on you and what you can legally do to protect yourself. The discussion includes nitty-gritty stuff like advice on the proper use of passwords and encryption, protecting yourself against malware, and lowering the risk of eavesdropping on confidential conversations.
That’s right, SSD talks about “what the government can legally do” to breach your data or listen in on your life, not so much about what it can do illegally. A banner atop the home page notes that the site “has not yet been updated to reflect the 2013 revelations about the NSA. . . .”
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.