News that the FBI has been actively tracking Preppers on-line should be a major cause for concern. When SurvivalBlog.com recently warned its readers that the agency had been planting tracking cookies on its website to keep tabs on visitors the news went viral but few people bothered to take elementary precautions to prevent it happening to them.
If you buy large quantities of survival goods, the FBI wants to know about it. Combine that with an interest in firearms and you are likely to be ringing alarm bells all over the place.
And if things are bad now, just wait until the Utah Data Center comes on-stream in 2013 when absolutely everything you say or do on the Internet will be logged and analyzed and used to profile you the way they do in the movie Minority Report.
One might wonder why the FBI and NSA are going to all the trouble of tracking us and storing our data, especially when they are ostensibly trying to catch terrorists, mobsters, illegal downloaders and pedophiles.
As it happens, the bad guys do not use the Internet in any conventional manner to communicate, they employ the secrets of the Deep Web. This is the Parallel Internet, much like the one we know, except the people here are doing everything anonymously. No one knows who they are or where they live. They cannot be tracked or profiled or analyzed. In many ways, this is the Internet’s greatest secret.
They know precisely how to mask their on-line identities and they know how to keep their correspondence hidden. Given that the authorities are well aware of this, a cynic might wonder if there were ulterior motives in wanting to keep such tight tabs on peaceful, law-abiding citizens.
But you don’t need to be up to no good to want to keep your on-line activities to yourself. Lots of people don’t like being followed or having their mail read. So what can we do?
Start off by changing your Web browser and install something more security conscious like Mozilla Firefox. To prevent cookies following your movements the way they did at SurvivalBlog, install the free add-on Do Not Track Plus which will alert you the instant any site has a bead on you.
If you want to keep your personal correspondence personal, there are numerous options, both Deep Web and Surface Web.
Emails are easily read as they travel between computers on the Internet, so one answer is not to transmit the message. Simply open a free email account and then give the address and log-in details to your friends. Messages are then written but saved as Drafts and never sent. The draft messages are then accessed by those with the password.
Or you can go all James Bond. At PrivNote you can compose lengthy messages and then generate a link which you send to a friend. When they read the message, it automatically self-destructs which means no one can read the note again, and the link dies.
To send emails that cannot be traced, consider an email re-mailer like awxcnx.de or cotse.net which strip off any identifying codes and add new ones along the journey. When the email arrives at its destination, there is no way that it can traced back to you.
Or imagine receiving an email with a photograph of your cousin on vacation with her fiancé. But, known only to the two of you, there is a secret message hidden inside the image.
You can hide almost any kind of digital file by embedding it inside another digital file. This art is called steganography and there are a number of programs that perform this magic, some free like QuickCrypto.
Top Secret documents can be embedded inside a photo, short videos can be transmitted secretly inside a music file, and messages can be passed on by a digital ‘drop box’ held on a photo within a website. Counter-technology is next to hopeless.
You can set up all these things in minutes but, if you want to go all the way to Red Alert, you will need to go Deep Web and that involves downloading and configuring the free Tor/Firefox bundle. But this Hidden Network on the Deep Web is not without its risks and needs to be fully understood before you venture down there.
For that you are going to need to read the book.
This article was first published at www.destinysurvival.com 29 August, 2012