Privacy is a right

Privacy is your right

Edward Snowden (love him or hate him) once said the most simple and important thing about privacy:

If you think privacy is unimportant for you because you have nothing to hide, you might as well say free speech is unimportant for you because you have nothing useful to say.

This actually means the following. Privacy is a right, and you have a right to execute it, or let people know everything about you. As with any foundational human right, it is an opt-out, not an opt-in.

So seems like the country I live in, the Netherlands, has decided to take a slightly different stance on it. Since January 1, 2018, all online communications of Dutch residents will be recorded and stored for 3 years. This means that everything you say online will be recorded.

It is not so bad, nothing to worry about, since you’re not doing anything wrong, are you? And this is the case now, but what if shit hits the fan? Geert Wilders comes to power and decides to use your data for whatever he wants? You’re saying it is impossible? Look at Trump.

What you can do

First of all, spread the word. There will most likely be a referendum, so you will need supporters.

Second – prepare for possible consequences. There are multiple ways of doing that, and they’re all parts of proper online hygiene, but now become important not only to paranoics (like me), but also to you as well. All hardware-related tips are for Macs, sorry Windows users.

Encrypt hard drives

It is very simple and the foundation of everything else. On your Mac go to System Preferences > Security and Privacy > FileVault and turn it on. This will mean that every time you lock your computer, the hard drive will be encrypted and will be decrypted only when you log back in.

Encrypt email

It is also extremely easy to encrypt mail on your Mac. Download GPGTools, install it, add a new email address to the keychain with the new keys, publish private keys to a server, and you will be able to write encrypted emails right from the Mail.app.

Encrypt chats

Okay, Whatsapp and Facebook messenger do use end-to-end encryption, but with the new laws coming in power, it is likely that a huge corporation like Facebook may have backdoors for governments. Switch to Telegram, Signal or Keybase.