Free Ways to Keep Big Brother Out of Your Bidness

By Andrea Karim on 1 March 2007 (Updated 10 June 2007) 8 comments

Cell Phone Madness

I just love finding out that the government can find new and unique ways to listen in on our lives. News reports and bloggers are all atwitter today about the news that the FBI can listen in on your coversations while your cell phone is off, by tapping into your microphone. It's like wearing a wireless wire!

GPS signals from cell phones and even vehicle-based emergency services like OnStar offer other ways for you to be tracked, and many companies are proud to discuss the employee-tracking businesses that they run.

Free Fix: Protect yourself from government cell-phone bugging by taking your battery out of your cell when you feel like discussing the 1st Amendment. Or the 4th. Or the Constitution or any kind of rights. I am a little torn about systems like OnStar, because I feel like they can be useful, as can LoJack. I've used both, and will continue to do so.

Passport RFID

Got a new government-issued passport recently? Worried about the ebedded RFID chip that can be scanned from a distance, thereby giving all of your information away to any tech-savvy scanner in an airport?

Free Fix: Wired.com gives you the heavy-handed lowdown on how to disable the RFID chip and protect your identity, with smashingly successful results.

Your Landline

Traditional wiretaps are always fun. It's very Nancy Drew, but every now and then, when I use a certain relative's landline, I hear a ticking sound that makes me a little nervous. If I were a titian-haired teenage detective, I might do something about it.

Free Fix: You can figure out if someone is tapping your phone by looking directly at the wire. Who knew?

Network Traffic

The FBI, NSA, and plenty of even more shadowy government agencies monitor network traffic, read emails, troll chat rooms, and probably get plenty of financial advice from frugal bloggers.

Free Fix: Carnivore, the FBI's favorite interweb spying tool, can be defeated, and there are lots of people out there to help you figure out how.

Snail Mail

It's really hard to know right now if the government is reading your snail mail, and we don't know quite enough yet to determine if your mail has been tampered with. Because Congress is finally growing a pair and taking the President to task for trampling all over our citizen's liberties, we'll just have to see how this one plays out.

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Guest's picture
Yourfellowbloggertoolazytologin

When I was a rotten pre-teen my friend "C" & I would purposefully have very adult conversations when we were in then earshot of adults.."Have you had the abortion yet.." Imagine hearing a sixth grader say that--we upset many a snoop.

I figure if you honestly have nothing to hide, need not worry. They could give a sh*t if you are pissed at your boyfriend, had a crummy day at work, or are going to your kid's soccer game. Now if you were planning something like overthrowing the g'vt then that is a whole new ballgame.

Now that said, it is f'd up that we even have to worry about this.

Sad that the technology that is advancing us, is being used to corral is and bring us down.

Viva La Privacy!

Andrea Karim's picture

Either you value privacy or you take the whole "I've got nothing to hide so I'm not afraid of government snooping".

First, the argument is awfully slippery-slope - where do you draw the line for invasion of privacy? Second, I don't trust government to limit their spying to terrorists.

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/263844_spy21ww.html

Guest's picture
Guest

Andrea, your political views just aren't very interesting. Quite the opposite, actually.

Ditto your paranoia.

Andrea Karim's picture

But your comments, on the other hand, are truly riveting. Keep up the great work, Guest.

Guest's picture
Andrea Dickson is AWESOME!

HA HA HA! You're so funny, Andrea! I take it back, with that thin skin you definitely need to fill the silence with more of your important opinions. For example, tell us which comic books went to form your political philosophy.

Andrea Karim's picture

I'm happy that my response was enough to sway your opinion in my favor! I knew I should have gone into marketing. 

My political philosphy... I'm so glad you asked! Katy Keene is all that comes to mind. Yup. Katy Keene. All a girl needs to know, really.

Guest's picture
Yourfellowbloggertoolazytologin

Yeah, I knowI am on both sides of the fence. Honestly, I don't like my privacy being invaded, but until things change I can at least comfort myself knowing my phone convos are mostly about boys and rock shows.

Andrea Karim's picture

If I were politically involved, I guess I'd be inclined to disagree, but since I rarely discuss anything important over the phone, I guess the government would be totally bored by me as well. I just get a little worried about civil liberties, that's all.