The 6 Best Ways To Annoy The NSA

Concerned about your privacy? Good, you probably should be.

On July 4th it was revealed that the NSA tracks internet users worldwide who search for information about privacy software.

So here are six ways you can stick it to them and protect your privacy anyway.

1. Use alternative search engines.

Major search engines like Google and Bing store your searches and data like the time of the search and your computer’s IP address so that you get more personalized ads and better search results.

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But that data also makes it really easy to identify you as the searcher of a particular term and keep track of your searches over time.

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Sometimes that data is leaked to the public (either accidentally or on purpose) or given to law enforcement when asked.

Legally, they have to.

But guess what? Search engines don’t have to collect that data in the first place.

Some even make a point not to, such as Duck Duck Go, IxQuick, and Blekko, all of which keep your privacy a priority.

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Explore the world beyond Google.

2. Keep an eye on your Facebook privacy settings.

This one seems like a no-brainer.

But the corporation has been known to make sudden and unannounced changes to their privacy policy.

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For a long time, the default for nearly all categories was “Public,” meaning anyone could view that picture of you cuddling with a toilet at that party last night.

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Currently, the default is set back to “Friends”…for now.

3. Don’t use the option to “Log in with Facebook” or “Log in with Gmail.”

Many sites these days allow you to set up an account with them through Facebook or Gmail. Convenient, right?

It’s also convenient for the government because now, tons of your information is stored in one place.

Facebook and Google servers can trace your activity from site to site as you log into each.

You’re better off setting up individual accounts on the sites you’re a part of.

4. Use an alternative email service.

Email is a large part of the information that government agencies sift through to collect data.

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Most email services permanently store your messages on their servers. It’s easy for law enforcement to ask the company to let them comb through their records – no warrant needed – and most readily comply.

A company called ShazzleMail does not do this. ShazzleMail turns your smartphone into a server and delivers mail directly to and from your phone.

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This way, your private conversations stay, y’know, private.

Be aware that this tactic only works if the people you are corresponding with use ShazzleMail as well. Otherwise your information is stored on the receiving end of the communication.

5. Modify your browser.

Several browsers have been supportive of modifications that aim to prevent data collection.

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Ghostery is an extension that lets you choose which companies to share your information with when you visit a webpage. Ghostery then blocks cookies from the ones you reject.

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Another modification is known as Do Not Track. When you select this option in the privacy settings of your browser, it tells data miners to GTFO.

Even with Do Not Track enabled, most companies choose not to honor it.

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Here are the ones that do. Thankfully Pinterest is one of them so you can keep planning your dream wedding in peace.

6. Reroute your information through networks.

If you’re hardcore, you can use the internet through the Tor network or a VPN.

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By using Tor, your web activity remains essentially anonymous. Your data is encrypted and sent through a series of relays, making it difficult to trace.

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So far the NSA has not been able to break through all of Tor’s numerous encryption methods, and they hate it.

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Using a VPN, Virtual Private Network, allows you to connect to a public network, like the Internet, privately and securely. The service hides your location by substituting an IP address and encrypts your data.

This service often costs money, but Private Internet Access is a popular inexpensive option, and even allows you to pay anonymously.

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Sadly, there’s no perfect way to protect your privacy, and these methods will work best in combination. And if taking these steps to ensure your own security and liberty lands you on NSA’s tracking list, you must be doing something right.

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