Edward Snowden’s Five Ways to Help Secure Your Privacy

by Derek Scarlino/Love and Rage

In honor of the planned screening of ‘Citizenfour’ at the Mohawk Valley Freedom School this week, we’re looking back on an Intercept interview with Edward Snowden, the infamous NSA whistleblower who in 2013 divulged the frightening scope of the US government’s surveillance apparatus.

The NSA’s PRISM, which has grown monstrously out of the USA PATRIOT Act passed in October of 2001 (a month after 9-11), is tough to beat, and while none of these steps guarantees total reclamation of one’s privacy, they can mitigate the impact.

To help us, we’ve sourced the work of Big Think’s Natalie Shoemaker, an Ithaca College grad — as we like plugging Upstate writers and intellect ever so much.

1. Signal, an easy-to-use app that encrypts your mobile phone messages, as long as the person you’re calling or texting also has the app installed. Developed by Open Whisper Systems, the app is available for both iOS and Android.


2. The next easy step is to enable two-factor authentication on your accounts. This way an attacker needs not only your password, but also a physical device, like your smartphone, to get the secondary code that opens your account.


3. A password manager, like KeePassX, will ensure your passwords are diversified across all accounts. So, if one account becomes compromised, they won’t all become compromised.


4. The next step is Tor — install it, use it. It looks very much like your browsing in Firefox, only your traffic will be bounced all across the globe, covering your physical location and identity (to a point). A nice side effect is Tor comes with a JavaScript blocker, which disables ads.


5. “Everybody should be running adblock software, if only from a safety perspective,” Snowden said.

And now the kicker, if you’re inquiring deeply as to why these precautions are important, join the Mohawk Valley Freedom School this Thursday, July 7th, at 7 PM for a screening of Citizenfour preceded by an introduction and brief overview of the USA PATRIOT Act by myself and fellow area activist, Harrison Landry.

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