How to tell the NSA to go &*$! itself

Want to get the spooks off your tail? You'll have to ditch your digital footprint and start over. Here's a quick primer on how to do it.

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Thanks to Edward James Snowden, now know a lot more about what little privacy we have left. We know, for example, that the NSA is tapping our phones, reading our email, tracking our Web history, sniffing our WiFi networks, and riffling through our bank accounts. It knows we’ve been searching for cat photos, Skyping strangers in exotic locales, buying Furbies on eBay, and ogling videos of pole dancers.

Or at least the NSA could know these things, if it chose to, at the click of a button. And if it did choose to, you probably wouldn’t know about it until a black bag was thrown over your head and you were tossed into some third-world hellhole next to Julian Assange and the Prisoner of Zenda.

A tad dramatic? Perhaps. But even to a privacy cynic, the news over the past two weeks about metadata sniffing, PRISM, and Boundless Informant has been profoundly unsettling.

So let’s say you want to get the NSA off your tail. You’ve already ditched your smartphone for a cheap burner you bought at a Scotchman store and you’re wearing dark glasses and a fake beard. You’ve gone so deeply undercover that strangers routinely mistake you for Joaquin Phoenix.

That’s great, but your work is just beginning. You also need to abandon your digital footprint and start over.

Fortunately, a site called PRISM Break has served up a long list of alternatives to traditional – and mostly likely tapped – digital services. Here’s a summary to going dark. I call it the FEBCOSS method, because, well, I needed an acronym and that’s the best one I could come up with.

Fahgeddabout Facebook. Or any of the other popular public social networks. If you must share your innermost thoughts and pictures of adorable kittens with the world, use a decentralized social network like Diaspora, Friendica, or Movim.

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