Encryption: Government Hypocrisy Round #34897

Look who decided they needed encryption: the US government. That’s not hypocritical at all. Of course, they claim it’s because of the big, bad Trump-monster and his fascism.

The core issue is this: the government, an entity that is supposed to serve the people, is fighting any and all accountability.  Even as officials balk at transparency, they simultaneously demand a litany of agencies have full, unfettered, and warrantless access to every detail of the lives of private citizens.

It’s a complete 180 from the way things should be, and in case you’re not really paying attention, it’s getting worse by the day.

Border Patrol Demands “Papers, Please” From Domestic Passengers

If this doesn’t make you livid, I’m not sure what to tell you.

On 24 February, Delta flight 1583 left San Francisco for New York City according to airline tracker Flight Aware, and a little over five hours later it landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport.  The passengers were naturally anxious to disembark, but such was not the case. This time, uniformed federal agents stood at the door of the aircraft. In order to leave the plane, passengers had to show their identification. Papers, please.

Here’s where it gets really screwed up (because it wasn’t already? I know.):

When Rolling Stone asked CBP to produce the law that gave them the authority to demand papers from domestic travelers on a routine flight, the Border Patrol spokesman sent them a link to a document called CBP Search Authority. It gives 19 CFR 162.6 as its reference within the federal law; the only problem is that nowhere in that law does it mention domestic flights. The entire clause is expressly about “entering or leaving the United States” from international locations.  When the Rolling Stone reporter asked the CBP spokesman to explain this discrepancy, the response was “at this time this is all I have.”

It gets worse. Read the whole thing at Liberty Nation.

Anonymous Twitter Account, Part 2

For some reason people have a hard time wrapping their heads around the idea of an anonymous Twitter account. The standard naysayers came out all over the web on the various sites who linked to my article, casting doubt and dispersion about whether it was even possible. So consider this a followup, for those who didn’t bother to actually read the article at the Intercept, and just went off of the headline.

The naysayers are correct in that your computer will give you away. That’s why you don’t use YOUR computer. Don’t use the laptop that is resting on your belly while you sit in your recliner. Don’t use your phone — especially the so-called ‘burner phone’ that you (foolishly) carry around in the same pocket as your regular phone. Don’t use the same desktop where you pen your ‘militia roll calls’ on Facebook or share your memes. Don’t use the computer of anyone you know.

Instead, you go get a cheap refurb computer, that has never connected to your home or work internet (or your favorite coffee shops and hangouts). You never use it at work or home, or anywhere else you frequently go. You use a VPN, you use Tor, and you make accounts that aren’t linked to you in any way.  You use email addresses created and accessed only on that laptop, only when on VPN, only on Tor, only when not home.

On top of all of that, you don’t drive your own car to wherever you’re going to set up, because you don’t want a license plate reader picking it up and putting you in that location at that time. Don’t wear your loud-and-proud gear. Dress to fit in and disappear inside whatever area you’re in.  If that means you dress like a hipster and blend into some eclectic little vegan shop with wifi, then so be it. Don’t use the same location over and over. Don’t become recognizable and memorable. For the love of all that’s holy, don’t take your cell phone with you. In fact, send it with someone else going another direction if you have to.

If you’re going to do it right, you wouldn’t follow anyone you know with your account, anyone you would normally follow, or who would follow you. Your entire function is PUSHING information, and so you wouldn’t respond to direct messages, click on links, or do anything else that detracts from your actual function.

Gee, you might be thinking. That sounds like a big pain in the rear end. A lot of trouble and annoyance, or even money.  Yup. That’s exactly what it is. Do you want to do it and get caught? Or do you want to do it correctly?

That’s why agitators and activists — the real ones — are so few and far in between. Because doing it right requires a lot more work than sharing memes on Facebook.