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The point is that politics can undermine technology, and also that technology can undermine politics. Neither trumps the other.” said Bruce Schreier. In the ongoing stalemate the user is the football. There are many ways we can protect data & defend ourselves from surveillance. It has to happen at different levels. The decibels of the outcry is still not audible. Privacy has not taken our life’s centre stage, when it has already become termite eating our very existence. Our laziness to understand & respond to technology is our biggest enemy.

Have you thought of refraining your children from creating Facebook account & tagging their photos online. You can give up Google Calendar, webmail or cloud back up and use DuckDuckGo for web searches instead. You can decline to certain topics on email. Steganography can be used when warranted. Privacy enhancing technologies, PETs, helps in blocking mass surveillance. Plug-in browsers like Lightbeam, Privacy Badger, Disconnect etc can monitor and block sites. Encrypting the hard drive can be done by Microsoft’s BitLocker.

For cloud storage, only companies providing encryption can be chosen. A browser plug-in called HTTPS Everywhere comes in handy. Browser can be configured to delete cookies. Meta data still can’t be encrypted. While in use computer can be hacked. A sticker on computer camera can stop somebody from taking pictures remotely. Knowledge is beginning of privacy.

National security & surveillance concerns cannot be denied. If new ways to investigate crime is found, they would not demand that security be subverted for them. New ways of data collection would thwart present extreme measures. Companies & govts trusted for data needs to be preferred. Awareness & talk about surveillance is a must. Making it a political will undeniably help. Privacy groups like Electronic Frontier Foundation have to be supported. The strength will from numbers. Intense public outcry can force corporations / governments to respond.


Sanjay Sahay

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