How To Almost Completely Erase Your Digital Footprint

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Although its almost impossible to completely wipe out your entire digital footprint as if you’ve never had access to the internet, but you can get close. If you’d like to make an attempt to completely remove yourself from the internet, we’ve got a few tips and tricks that could help you along the way. 

To go the full off-the-grid route, “it’s cash, barters,” Bradley Shear, a lawyer specializing in social media told The Washington Post. “Do not use any electronic device that can lead back to your whereabouts.”  Which leads us to the first item to consider.

The first thing you want to do is the hardest for some, but its the most obvious. You need to quit appearing online.  Stop posting on Facebook or Twitter and no longer use search engines.  All of those will track your location and Internet usage leaving behind your digital footprint. Of course, just not using the internet isn’t quite enough if you’d like yourself completely gone in full-off-the-grid fashion.

The next step would be deleting your online accounts. Every single one of them. Having a social media account is, more or less, ensuring your active participation in letting the Internet learn more about you. Facebook, in particular, knows a lot about you and is very good at tracking what you do across the rest of the Web, even when you’re not actively using it. If you need help deleting your accounts, consider JustDelete.Me, which provides tips and links to remove accounts.  But you can’t just remove your accounts and expect that it’s done and over with. You will also need to remove any and all information and content that is posted about you by others.  This can get a little trickier, but you could consider trying Abine’s DeleteMe, which for a fee can assist in removing your personal contact information and your photos and will provide you with a regular report and updates.

Next, you want to search for yourself on the Internet.  This will help you discover if there are any old accounts (does anyone even remember MySpace?) that you may have forgotten you had just lingering around. If you happen to come across an account you cannot delete, just start falsifying the information.  Change the name on the account to whatever you want it to be, that’s different than yours, obviously. Change the city and state and leave the gender “unselected” if possible.  The less information you put in, the less you have to falsify.

You are also going to want to unsubscribe from all of those mailing lists you’ve accidentally signed up for during your Internet travels. That’s usually pretty easy to do.  Go into your junk folder and open up the advertisements.  Scroll to the bottom of the email and click the tiny word “unsubscribe.”  When it directs you to, make sure you choose to no longer receive ANY email that you’d consider “junk.”  Afterall, that’s why it was in that folder, to begin with anyway, right?

If you still need the Internet for work, you may have to stop here.  Having removed social media and cleaning up your email will go a long way in minimizing your online trail.  But for those who wish to continue on and “go dark,” your next step would be deleting search engine results. Google has a URL removal tool that could help. The next step would be contacting webmasters of websites you have no control over.  Be kind, and let them know you’d like your information and comments removed.  Be prepared to be told by some that all public information should remain public, in which case, you may be out of luck.  You’ll also need patience.  Not every single webmaster will get back to you in a timely manner.

Once you’ve completed everything listed above, you should consider removing your information from data clearinghouses.  Many companies track your online behavior and sell that data to others.  Intelius, Spokeo, and People Finders are a few examples of such data clearinghouses. In order to remove your information from these, however, will take up a lot of your time.  You’ll need to make a lot of phone calls and fill out tons of paperwork.  A paid service called DeleteMe could be considered if you’ve got some extra cash laying around.  For all others, you will need time and patience and determination to get through this step.

Once you feel you’ve gotten yourself removed from data clearinghouses, you should contact the phone company and be sure to make your phone number unlisted.

The last step would be to delete your email. “Every time you access it, they have your IP address,” Shear said.  This is last simply because, during the completion of the previous steps, an email address is likely going to be required at some point.

If you’ve decided you cannot completely “go dark” as far an internet use is concerned, consider protecting your data and information by using an encrypted email service such as ProtonMail. And if you want your activity not to be tracked across the Web, you would have to essentially use a virtual private network, or VPN, every time you access the Internet unless you exclusively access the Internet from public machines (such as those at a public library). For searching online, you can use sites such as DuckDuckGo instead of Google or Yahoo, or any other search engine that tracks you. Also, consider Signal, a text and phone-call encryption app that comes with a recommendation from Edward Snowden himself.

Although it seems it may be futile to attempt to “go dark,” you just might be successful. Best of luck to those who have the desire to disappear from the Internet, because you’ll need it, and all the patience you can muster.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

The Hack-Proof Email Service That NSA Doesn’t Want You To Use

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The Hack-Proof Email Service That NSA Doesn’t Want You To Use

Image source: Pixabay.com

Technology is already confusing, but sometimes it can just get downright daunting.

Especially these days, between the little microphones in TVs and the GPS in our smartphones, it’s easy to feel like there’s just no possibility of getting a little privacy. However, I’d have to disagree on two points.

First, Hollywood’s portrayal of tech/spy agencies is bogus. (Consider those rooms that are full of intimidating computers, making it look like their in-house hacking staff has your profile on screen as we speak — and they’re sending a strike team to reprimand you for that Facebook comment). In reality, their jobs are probably quite a bit less theatrical.

Secondly, these agencies are by no means omniscient, as they depend on the very same technologies that they attempt to exploit. Sure, they might have access to supercomputers, but even those still can’t crack a good encryption or open a bitcoin wallet without the password. You can, in fact, communicate private and confidential information over email, and the NSA couldn’t even touch it if they wanted to. There are many ways to accomplish this, but in my opinion, ProtonMail is the best by far.

ProtonMail: The Swiss Email Account

To its most basic definition, ProtonMail is a service that provides a secure server which houses email inboxes that run by default on ironclad end-to-end encryption and account anonymity. Because the system was designed in such a way that the email was encrypted by the sender’s device and only decrypted by the recipient’s device, even ProtonMail couldn’t see what the email said. Why? Because it’s Greek to them. Their servers are flowing with private, secure emails consisting of encrypted mumbo-jumbo. Sure, the NSA could try to break in … but that would be pointless. And that’s not all …

Founded in 2013, ProtonMail is based in Switzerland. Yes, the country that enjoys a good belly laugh whenever they receive a subpoena from other nations to snoop around.

Features & Other Goodies

But just because ProtonMail is based in Switzerland doesn’t mean you have to be super-rich in order to open an account. It’s free (and open source). And let’s not forget …

  • Protonmail offers totally anonymous accounts.
  • Its security capabilities are years ahead of the NSA.
  • It was created and built by an international group of scientists.
  • Its servers are housed under “1,000 meters of solid rock.”
  • Email accounts are easy to use with a gorgeously modern design.

On their own About page, they share their reasons behind the creation of this privacy fortress in the mountains of Europe:

“We are scientists, engineers, and developers drawn together by a shared vision of protecting civil liberties online. This is why we created ProtonMail, an easy to use secure email service with built-in end-to-end encryption and state of the art security features. Our goal is to build an internet that respects privacy and is secure against cyberattacks.”

Yeah, But Really?

February 2017 was an eventful month for the technologically savvy and privacy conscious, as Wikileaks dumped another motherlode affectionately known as Vault7. What did we learn? Well, lots. But in relation to the topic of ProtonMail, we learned that U.S. spy agencies would still have never been able to penetrate the big PM (nor other end-to-end communication services, like Whatsapp). And unless they use a keylogger — basically cheating by peeking at what buttons your fingers are pushing — they’re just plain old out of luck.

According to Warwick Ashford in Computer Weekly, “After an in-depth analysis, we can confirm that none of the [WikiLeaks] disclosures indicate any compromise of the core cryptography that underpins ProtonMail and other popular encrypted services.”

What Have I to Hide?

Services like ProtonMail are invaluable for individuals who work overseas in hostile zones with tyrant regimes — not to mention, it’s perfect for private investigators, journalists, whistleblowers and getting around monitors from within non-government organizations. It’s also good for people who don’t want Google (or any other company) marketing to them through their emails. There are actually quite a few reasons to encrypt your comms, but fortunate for us, there’s ProtonMail.

Have you ever used ProtonMail? What are your thoughts on email encryption? Share them in the section below:

5 Things You Better Get Off The Internet Before The Grid Goes Down

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5 Things You Better Get Off The Internet Before The Grid Goes Down

Image source: Pixabay.com

We rely on the Internet for nearly everything in life, but in the wake of a natural disaster or large-scale collapse of the power grid, it is possible that the Internet could become inaccessible.

Even a few days without it could cripple American society’s ability to manage money, practice commerce, and communicate.

Because of that, it is a good idea to reduce your dependence on the Internet by moving more of your needs offline.

Here’s five areas to get your started:

1. Banking. Out of convenience, most Americans do at least a portion of their banking online. There’s no harm in using an online account to manage some of your bill payments and financial transactions. Just don’t rely on it to maintain your records. Monthly or quarterly, download a paper statement from your bank, print it, and file it away. Additionally, make sure you have paper records for all of the accounts you hold. Do the same thing for any stocks or important records of assets; record them on paper. Better still, do most of your bank transactions in person, at a local bank; you’ll have greater security and get better customer service.

2. Maps. Relying on GPS or Google Maps to tell you how to get around your local area is foolishness. Purchase or download updated local maps and keep them where they can be easily referenced or found in case of emergency. GPS won’t be a reliable source of navigation if the power grid is compromised.

3. Reference materials. Whether you read books on a Kindle or tablet, follow websites relevant to your interests, or just get the news delivered digitally, it is important to keep a paper trail for the information you’ll need in the future.

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You may not always be able to Google your way to an answer. Buy reference books relevant to setting up and maintaining a homestead, including home improvement encyclopedias and farming manuals. Printing information from often-referenced websites and filing it appropriately will ensure you’ll have the knowledge at your fingertips long after you can’t get it online. Best of all, develop your skills now so you will not need as many reference materials to accomplish tasks around the homestead.

5 Things You Better Get Off The Internet Before The Grid Goes Down

Image source: Pixabay.com

4. Email. Discussing plans and making decisions by email has become commonplace. Create a personal file of email correspondence for each family member and for your business activities. When agreements are solidified by email, print the message and file it accordingly. In addition to backing up your knowledge of what was decided, the written correspondence is an important record in your family. Just as our prior generations preserved old letters, so we must preserve meaningful emails in order to tell the story of our families.

5. Contacts. Many people scarcely know their phone numbers, let alone those of their families and other close contacts. Maintain an address book containing all the contact information and locations of anyone you care about, as well as resourceful peers and acquaintances.

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Knowing where to find someone important to you is the first step to reconnecting, and you don’t want to be left high and dry by an inability to access your contacts.

Bonus – Unplug These, Too

Photos. Of course, this is a little sentimental, but there’s more to life than practicality. Don’t simply store precious family heirlooms “in the cloud.” Kids today are being raised with very few printed photos documenting their lives. What a shame if all of those digital photos were lost! Create a photo album for each member of your family, or a family album documenting your lives together. The small investment of time and money could reap rewards for the rest of your life and become an important piece of your family’s heritage.

Entertainment. Learn to amuse yourself without surfing the web, clicking through Facebook, or playing online games. Part of being resourceful is being able to find and create entertainment with ready supplies — paper and pencil, card, and dice games are a great way to connect with your family and have a great time without plugging in. Invest in a book of activities and start gathering around the table more often, and you won’t miss the Internet so much in times of outage.

What would you add to this list? Share your tips in the section below:

Are You Prepared For A Downed Grid? Read More Here.

Video: James Comey Vs. Hillary Clinton In Viral Must-Watch Montage (It’s 90 Seconds You Won’t Regret)

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FBI Director James Comey may not have recommended any charges for Hillary Clinton, but he undercut just about everything she had said about her use of a private email server. This video (below) of Comey vs. Clinton is going viral:

 

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BREAKING: FBI Recommends No Charges Against Hillary Clinton In Email Scandal

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FBI Recommends No Charges Against Hillary Clinton In Email Scandal

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FBI Director James Comey said this morning that his agency is not recommending criminal charges against Hillary Clinton for using a personal email server to store classified information, although he acknowledged Clinton was “extremely careless” in handing top-secret information.

Out of about 30,000 emails, 110 contained classified data, Comey said.

The Department of Justice will make the final decision.

“Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case. Prosecutors necessarily weigh a number of factors before deciding whether to bring charges,” Comey said.

Comey added that Clinton and her colleagues “were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.”

“For example, seven e-mail chains concern matters that were classified at the Top Secret/Special Access Program level when they were sent and received,” he said. “These chains involved Secretary Clinton both sending e-mails about those matters and receiving e-mails from others about the same matters.”

“None of these e-mails should have been on any kind of unclassified system, but their presence is especially concerning because all of these e-mails were housed on unclassified personal servers not even supported by full-time security staff, like those found at Departments and Agencies of the U.S. Government—or even with a commercial service like Gmail,” Comey said.

This story will be updated