8 New Ways to Restore Your Personal Liberty
Here’s a handful of practical suggestions you can implement right now:
Suggestion One: Secure your home. If a ringing doorbell is your first notice that someone is at the door, your home is not secured. An alarm system complete with motion detectors and possibly cameras turns your home from a target into a place to be avoided by prying eyes, nosy neighbors, and intruders. Sophisticated alarm and detection systems are now available from major security companies for very reasonable rates. Get this deficiency fixed now as a fundamental first step.
Suggestion Two: Avoid giving any personal information to stores, such as your name, phone number, home address, or even email address. Stores compile your information into unsecure databases, and some stores even sell this information to untrustworthy third parties to be data mined. Many of these databases of information have been targeted and penetrated by hackers exposing hundreds of thousands of shoppers to identity theft.
Suggestion Three: Beware of government eavesdropping on mobile phone and Internet communications. As citizens, we should demand an update to the outdated privacy protections of the 25-year-old Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), so it starts protecting us from mass government surveillance. Jim Dempsey, Vice President for Public Policy at the Center for Democracy & Technology, citing ECPA, notes that the government claims it can track your movements without having to get a warrant from a judge, using the signal your mobile phone silently sends out every few seconds. The government also claims it can read your email and sneak a peek at your online calendar and the private photos you have stored “in the cloud,” all without a warrant.
You can go to www.NotWithoutAWarrant.com and let your voice be heard by signing the petition demanding ECPA privacy protection upgrades now, so there may be digital liberty and justice for all.
Suggestion Four: Avoid smartphones in favor of basic cellphones with fewer features. All new smartphones contain GPS tracking technology allowing snoops to easily ascertain your location. Given the exponentially increasing government tracking of citizens through their phones, an older GPS-less phone protects you from overreaching government bureaucrats and untrustworthy snoops. To avoid being tracked at all, turn your cell phone off except when you need to make a call. Use voice mail to handle your incoming calls, and return your calls from your home or usual place of business.
Suggestion Five: Warn your kids and grandkids to beware of social media. Police departments now routinely scour Facebook and Twitter for signs of criminal activity. Since the Department of Justice is also telling cops that “constitutionalists” and “tax protestors” are potential terrorists, be very careful about maintaining your privacy online. Facebook has also implemented location-tracking technology allowing every login on the social networking site to be tracked and recorded. Remote logins from phones can even pinpoint your specific location on GPS technology available on most new phones down to a few yards. Given that the government has proven its willingness to track law-abiding citizens through cell phones without warrants, citizens seeking privacy should avoid remote logins on social networking sites.
Law enforcement agencies are now focusing on social media as never before. For example, the New York Police Department has created a “special social media unit” dedicated to monitoring and looking for criminals on Facebook and Twitter.
Suggestion Six: Shred important documents. According to court rulings, it is legal for law enforcement officers to search your garbage without a warrant. Papers thrown out with your trash expose you to government agents, snoops, nosy neighbors, and trash collectors. A quality cross-cutting shredder eliminates this issue and limits your exposure to bureaucrats and identity stealing snoops.
Suggestion Seven: Browse the web and check emails anonymously. Government bureaucrats have even moved to slowly implement an all-encompassing database containing Google searches. Given that Internet rights aren’t always well defined, the use of a web anonymizer and email encryption can reduce outside exposure. Using these will eliminate Internet “cookies” as well as allowing totally anonymous browsing. There are a variety of anonymizers and encryption programs available online, many of which are free and easy to use.
Suggestion Eight: Know your rights in case you get pulled over. Driving a motor vehicle on public roadways exposes you to law enforcement, with its increasingly burdensome rules and overzealous use of technology. You do not have to answer police questions such as, “Do you know how fast you were going?” You do not have to perform field sobriety tests. You do not have to consent to having your vehicle searched. Do not park within sight of the establishment you are visiting if privacy is important. Police are sometimes ordering gun shops, for example, to report the license plate numbers of customers who pay cash.