Very Sincerely, Keith H. Burgess.
Very Sincerely, Keith H. Burgess.
There is plenty of information out there about how to physically move off the grid, but what about going off the grid in the digital world? For many off-gridders, a social media or digital presence is still necessary – to remain plugged into the world around us, at least socially. But as the ease with which the government – and landlords, potential employers, even strangers – can track our movements online increases, so too seems to be the interest in disappearing from the digital world and becoming truly invisible. But how do you vanish from the internet?
Bradley Shear, a lawyer who specialises in social media and privacy, warned that it wouldn’t be easy. He said if you really want to step away from the internet and leave no digital trace, it would mean giving up using all electronic devices.
“[To go the full off-grid route] it’s cash, barters,” Bradley said. “Do not use any electronic device that can lead back to your whereabouts.”
Social media backlog
Bradley suggests deleting your social media accounts, or at least cleaning them up. Social media accounts, more or less, ensure you actively participate in letting the internet learn more about you; Facebook, in particular, is very good at tracking what you do across the rest of the web – even when you aren’t actively using it. The site stores your search information to suggest particular webpages, news of interest and advertisements.
“You have to think about the digital accounts you currently have,” Bradley said. “You have a Facebook, LinkedIn, Amazon, old Myspace? Anything that has your name on it. You want to either delete content from them or delete the accounts altogether.”
Although when you delete your accounts many of the companies will still keep the data you previously gave them, at least it won’t be publicly shared.
Bradley pointed out that Gmail in particular has to go – and you can’t use Google or Yahoo, because these programs all track your access location.
“Every time you access [Gmail], they have your IP address,” he said.
If you want to make sure your activity isn’t tracked across the web, Bradley said to use a virtual private network, or VPN, every time you access the internet, unless you only login from public machines (such as those at a public library or internet café). To search, Bradley suggests using sites such as DuckDuckGo instead of the traditional engines that track you.
If all that sounds too painful to deal with, at the very least consider deleting unnecessary content from your social media accounts. Twitter and Facebook let you download an archive of your data on the platform, in case you’re worried about losing any of those utterly amazing early tweets. And beyond the in-account settings for each service, third-party tools such as TweetDelete allow you to erase years of content automatically. But even that, Bradley said, doesn’t provide perfect results – the government probably already has your tweets on file.
“Using a service that deletes old tweets is helpful,” he said. “However, the Library of Congress is cataloguing every single tweet ever.”
JustDelete.Me provides a good starting point for people who want straightforward links to the deletion pages of a ton of accounts, along with a bit of guidance on how easy or hard it is to delete each one.
For those who can’t stand to go completely off the grid – which is probably most of us – Bradley said one of the most valuable things to do is litter the internet with misinformation about yourself.
“Never have a real birthday,” he said. “Always use a throwaway birthday when signing up for social media accounts or pretty much any other service online. Use a throwaway email. If a site or an app is asking for a bunch of information that you think it doesn’t need from you to provide you with whatever service it is promising, don’t do it. If that personal information is required to use that service, then make up some stuff. You want to provide as many alternative facts as possible.”
Of course, most of us will have already provided a lot of the information to a bunch of sites – so try to change it. On many sites, you can change your birthday, your likes and dislikes, past employment experiences, place of residence and other personal details, although some have a limit on how many times you can alter information (like Facebook).
Bradley said he knows that he’s essentially advising people to ignore the terms of service for these sites, and he’s okay with that.
“Feel free to protect your privacy and violate their terms of service,” he said.
Anyone who’s ever self-Googled knows that there are a ton of “people search” sites out there that promise to host valuable information about individuals. Usually, this information – phone numbers, social media profiles, addresses, anything else available from public records or through data collection on the internet – is sold for a fee (but not always). These companies are known as data brokers, businesses that collect information to sell it to other businesses. Bradley warned that trying to fully disappear from their databases is like “whack-a-mole.”
“Look at the first five to 10 pages of your Google results and see who has your name,” Bradley said. Your information will probably be on sites such as Whitepages, Spokeo and Intelius, for example, and each of these sites should have a way to opt out – but Bradley warned that sometimes the opt-out process can be a scam. If the site requires users to verify their identity before opting out by giving more information or providing a government ID, get out of there.
The second part of keeping your information out of the hands of data brokers involves plugging any digital leaks. If you’ve ever signed up for an account by linking it to a Facebook, Google or Twitter account, you have a leak, and should undo it if possible.
The other thing to think about is your phone – and what permissions you have given your apps.
“Most apps ask for way too much information,” Bradley said. “If you want to keep your phone, go ahead and delete every single app you don’t actually need.”
Of course, even doing all of these things won’t completely disappear most of us from the internet – particularly those who are older or have been using it for all our lives so have an extensive digital trail. So, the question becomes: Can you really disappear from the internet?
Bradley said it doesn’t matter if it’s futile or not – it’s important to try as much as you can, and do it properly, as if it’s going to work.
“You might not get perfect results, but it’s always worth the effort to try.”
The Benefits of Social Media in Prepping Highlander “Survival & Tech Preps” Listen in player below! In past shows I have talked about the dangers of social media and the internet. This episode I will flip the switch and talk about the benefits of social media in prepping. We often see the dangers of the … Continue reading The Benefits of Social Media in Prepping
SAN FRANCISCO – Facebook users likely know that the social media company is trying each day to make money off of them, but they may not realize that it also is categorizing their political views – and that it may have them classified all wrong.
It is all part of Facebook’s effort to target specific ads to specific customers. The company keeps track of which websites and posts you click, like and share, and then puts you in one of three broad categories: conservative, moderate or liberal – with descriptors (such as “very”) added.
If you’re curious how Facebook has you categorized, then follow these steps:
From there, you can tweak your preferences, which will impact the ads you see. The main “preferences” page also lists your other interests – at least what Facebook thinks are your interests.
As The New York Times reported, political candidates and companies can target audiences based on their political views. Donald Trump is running Facebook ads aimed at moderates, the newspaper said.
What is your reaction to Facebook classifying its audience? Share your thoughts in the section below:
Giant tech companies like Facebook and Google could determine the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, simply by deciding what information the voters see.
It may seem like science fiction, but the possibility has been raised by multiple experts and media outlets in recent months – most recently in The Guardian newspaper this week.
The idea is somewhat simple: Americans spend an incredible amount of time on social media and the Internet, and any change in the algorithm of Facebook or Google could sway their opinions.
“America’s next president could be eased into office not just by TV ads or speeches, but by Google’s secret decisions, and no one—except for me and perhaps a few other obscure researchers—would know how this was accomplished,” Robert Epstein, senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, wrote in a Politico column last year.
Research by Epstein and Ronald E. Robertson indicates that something called the Search Engine Manipulation Effect, or SME, could determine the outcome of elections.
“Google’s search algorithm can easily shift the voting preferences of undecided voters by 20% or more – up to 80% in some demographic groups – with virtually no one knowing they are being manipulated,” Epstein wrote.
How it Works
When you type a request into a search engine like Google, an algorithm program determines the results. Likewise, a Facebook algorithm determines what you see in your timeline.
For example, the Google algorithm could be set to show mostly positive news about a candidate such as Hillary Clinton. Likewise, the algorithm could be set to show only negative news about Donald Trump or Ted Cruz.
Epstein and Robertson say they have demonstrated that his effect is real in experiments.
“Our new research leaves little doubt about whether Google has the ability to control voters,” Epstein wrote. “In laboratory and online experiments conducted in the United States, we were able to boost the proportion of people who favored any candidate by between 37 and 63 percent after just one search session. The impact of viewing biased rankings repeatedly over a period of weeks or months would undoubtedly be larger.”
The effect already may have determined the outcome of a 2014 election in India.
“Given how powerful this effect is, it’s possible that Google decided the winner of the Indian election,” Epstein wrote. “ Google’s own daily data on election-related search activity (subsequently removed from the Internet, but not before my colleagues and I downloaded the pages) showed that Narendra Modi, the ultimate winner, outscored his rivals in search activity by more than 25 percent for sixty-one consecutive days before the final votes were cast.”
Facebook Employees Raise Possibility
On March 4 of this year, Facebook employees voted on a question to ask their boss, Mark Zuckerberg. The question: “What responsibility does Facebook have to help prevent President Trump in 2017?” The question was reported by Gizmodo, and was apparently the fifth-most popular question posed to Zuckerberg.
“Facebook can promote or block any material that it wants,” UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh told Gizmodo. “Facebook has the same First Amendment right as The New York Times. They can completely block Trump if they want. They can block him or promote him.”
The social network did carry out an experiment to see how it could impact voting in 2010. The idea was to get more people to vote in a congressional election and it apparently worked, according to a University of California-San Diego paper. Facebook has 1.59 billion users around the world.
What is your reaction? Do you think Facebook and Google could sway an election? Share your thoughts in the section below:
After receiving criticism from content owners, Facebook is offering new tools that will identify and remove unauthorized video content that is uploaded without the owner’s permission. YouTube’s video-sharing business has been going on for a decade, while it’s only been a year since Facebook allowed users to share videos on their news feeds. Facebook isContinue reading>
|Jungle Run at the Big Run Ranch|
It sounds like they could live forever in their cozy secret squirrel location. If an intruder came they could defend their location with their armory. For me it sounds like borderline hoarding and they are not prepared for anything other than becoming a supply house for an intruder because they are a soft target. If you prepare yourself with purpose and maintain a flexible but firm preparedness philosophy you will be better off with very limited “Prepping” supplies and a shitload of training.
|Don’t be this guy|
|Do you even prep, Bro?|
|A chicken for no reason|
When the group all arrived we did our hugs and handshakes and then we got down to business. Lance went over the range safety rules and safety procedures, showing us the location of the medical kits and the information necessary to call for EMS in the event of an injury. Lance has clearly done his homework on how to run a safe range, it felt good knowing that the person running the range to the time to educate himself on proper range procedures.
|Lance shooting steel.|
We began our first course of fire with some basic pistol shooting drills to reinforce the basics of the SAFE series. Once our fundamentals were solid and we were warmed up we started to do some drawing from the holster drills and Getting off the X type drills. Being from Massachusetts where drawing from a holster is mostly banned at ranges these drills were a breath of fresh air to me, drawing in my living room with snap caps just isn’t the same as drawing and firing live rounds. We did variations on these drills for quite some time and moved onto strong hand only firing and reloading drills in which we would rack the slide off of our holsters or belts to get the pistol back into action. We moved on to shooting some Vtactargets in which Lance would call out a color and number and we would close on the target and shoot the designated number of rounds into each called target. I did almost all of my training with rifles in the military so pistol shooting is far and wide my weakest skill-set. I struggled a bit on these exercises, but anytime that I needed assistance or when Lance would see that I was getting sloppy he would be right over to reinforce the fundamentals in a manner which translated directly into hits right on target. Over the next few days we did some shoot and move drills with everything from a KRISS Super-V to some nice custom Ar-15 rifles in which he hid some of my favorite targets, the Ivan!
|Me shooting the KRISS|
It wouldn’t be an ORSclass without some serious PT involved, so we did a great deal of hill climbing and pull-ups because you only fight as hard as your body is capable. Lance setup 4 steel targets ranging from a sniper’s paradise target to some really challenging gong targets at distances of 15yds – 320yds. Lance was able to make our long days on the range seems like mere minutes when in reality we were spending upwards of 10 hours a day honing our skills in defensive shooting and long distance shooting.
We ended our last range day with a competition, a modified version of H.O.R.S.E. we would take turns calling the most difficult shot possible and it was no surprise Lance tied for first, I surprised myself and got second place but there was no better ending to one of the most memorable training experiences I have ever had in my life. Enough can’t be said to the level of approachable professionalism Lance has integrated into his company’s philosophy of training. I cannot wait to go back and get some more rounds down range, if you are looking to get some training in I highly suggest reaching out to ORS, you will thank me after and tell him KERsent you.
|Lance (right) and I|
The point of being prepared, not a prepper, is that you are prepared for a multitude of scenarios. Will you be able to prepare for everything? No, that is just stupid. But what you can do is be flexible and be willing to adapt to your surroundings and the situations that may arise.
|Range time is key for consistency|
The key to success is going to be having a diverse group of people who can work together, and are willing to teach their skills to others in the group. You almost always see in apocalypse movies two types of people; you have the “gun nut” and they survive solely by that gun. Let’s face reality here, how does the gun get you medical care or food? How does the gun do anything besides provide security and meat? You then have the “complainer”, everyone hates this person. The only thing this person brings to your group is certain death to everyone but themselves, they manage to put everyone in constant danger and do nothing to help. If you need an example watch Saving Private Ryan and take note on how many people die directly due to Cpl. Upham and his poor decisions or pure inaction when his comrades needed him most.