Estimated reading time: 10 minutes
Back when George Orwell wrote his famous novel, 1984, little did anyone realize just how true it might become. Maybe it didn’t happen in 1984, as the book predicted; but we can forgive Orwell for that, considering that he wrote the book all the way back in 1948.
The one thing that Orwell didn’t predict was people inviting the government to spy on them. For that matter, he didn’t say anything about all the corporations we invited to spy on us in one way or another.
Yet as it stands right now, if you fire up your computer, there are likely hundreds of companies following your every move, looking for opportunities to advertise their products to you; and that’s without considering what Facebook, Google, and the other tech giants are doing.
We have to accept the fact that those tech giants are all in bed with the government, in one way or another. I’m not talking about them working with any political party to influence elections; I’m talking about the connections that exist to help law-enforcement agencies track and capture criminals, including terrorists. In doing that, they spy on our every move.
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For that matter, who can forget the revelations that Edward Snowden made about the government spying on us, after he left the employ of the NSA and became a whistle-blower. Every bit of electronic communications on the face of the Earth is captured, recorded, and analyzed for potential risks. Even seemingly innocent words can trigger an investigation, when combined together with other seemingly innocent words.
So, how do we fight back? How do we keep the government from tracking everything we say and everything we do?
Use Burner Phones
One of the simplest things we can do is to use burner phones. These are the inexpensive prepaid phones, which are available at many of the big box stores.
While you still have to provide personal information when setting up the account, nobody is checking to see if that information is accurate. So, with some careful selection of the information you use, it can’t be traced back to you.
The key to making these work is to throw them away and replace them frequently. There’s no saying just how often these should be, as it depends a lot on the information you’re putting out. But should a time of crisis come, accompanied by martial law, I’d change mine frequently.
Turn off GPS and Tracking Programs
Whenever the GPS is turned on, your phone can be tracked. If you have an android phone, just check Google Maps sometime. Use the “hamburger button” to access our timeline. It will show everywhere you’ve been.
There’s a similar function in Apple’s GPS/mapping program. Turn these off too, so that people can’t tell where you are or where you’ve been.
Face to Face Communications
Sometimes the old ways are the best ways. While the NSA (National Security Agency) may record every bit of electronic communications there is, for feeding to their Echelon system, they can’t bug every location there is, recording face to face communications.
If you want to keep the government out of your comms, do them in person. Better yet, do them in person from a location where nobody can get close to you, without you seeing them.
The US Mail is Still Pretty Secure
Speaking of old ways, the US mail is still rather secure, in part because of the vast amounts of junk mail flowing through their system. Even if the government wanted to try and look for individual pieces of mail, the job would be a monumental one to accomplish.
About the only effective way of intercepting mail would be to have your local mail carrier looking at it and that would be illegal. So, I seriously doubt that many mail carriers would be willing to do it.
Always use a VPN (virtual private network)
The VPN was designed to overcome government snooping, as well as corporate espionage. When used, it creates a virtual tunnel for your connection to the internet, isolating you from everyone else. This serves to keep your location secret, as well as keeping people from seeing what you are doing.
While I wouldn’t be surprised if the NSA was able to break into VPNs, that would be time-consuming. They wouldn’t bother putting that much labor into it, unless they were already sniffing around you for a reason. So as long as there isn’t an ongoing investigation aimed at you, it’s probably pretty safe. But once such an investigation would start, you’d have to up your game a bit.
Encrypt Written Communications, when You Can
Encryption is an iffy proposition at best. The people who started the NSA got their start back in World War II, breaking encrypted messages and creating our own encryption codes. The NSA is world-class, along with only a few other national agencies. If there’s a private encryption code or software that their computers can’t break, I’d be surprised.
But that doesn’t mean that encrypting isn’t worthwhile, especially if you’re not doing anything wrong. First, it keeps others out of your communications. Secondly, it can act as a false-flag, piquing the NSA’s curiosity and possibly causing them to take a look at you.
Once they determine that you’re not a terrorist, they’ll pretty much ignore you. That could be useful at some later time when they are looking for gun owners or preppers or whatever you happen to be.
Email from the Local Library
Email is one of the easiest ways of tracking someone’s activity; because we say so much about ourselves and our lives through email. That includes both email that we send out and email that we receive. Even junk mail can tell them something about us. But if they can’t tell whose email it is, the information they gather may not do them any good.
Of course, to make this useful, you’ve got to have a false email account, which doesn’t trace back to your contact information. That’s easier to do from a library computer, as there is no connection to your address, more than your town. You’ll have to lie and put in some false contact information, so make sure you have that information ready to use.
Create Multiple Email Addresses
While you’re creating a false email account, you may as well create several, using a variety of different companies. That way, you can use different accounts for different areas of your life, maintaining some separation between them all. Your interest in guns can be kept from your interest in survival food.
After a while, be sure to close out the accounts, opening new ones to replace them.
Stay Off Social Media
If there’s anything that will tell the world and the government about you, it’s social media. Those platforms are designed for sharing your life with others and most people put way too much information on them.
Once you put that information on there, the social media company owns it and they can share it with whoever they like; that includes the government. All of them have agreements with the FBI and other agencies to share their information.
Just to put a bit more emphasis on this, social media has become a big tool for police investigations. Criminals, just like the rest of us, love to talk about themselves and what they do. That has led many of them to end up in prison.
Don’t Shop from Your Computer
Shopping from your computer probably gets more dogs sniffing at your trail that anything else. Every major retail company and some that aren’t so major, uses data mining as a means of seeking customers and sales opportunities. I can’t believe that the NSA doesn’t do something similar.
One danger here is that seemingly innocent things can end up carrying a nefarious significance to government agencies, when they are put together. Remember the Boston Marathon bombing? I can just about guarantee that anyone shopping for both a backpack and a pressure cooker in the months following that was quietly investigated by the FBI, as they sought out potential repeats of that crime.
Besides the risk of attracting attention, buying online can tell retailers and government agencies all too much about you. If you’re buying freeze-dried food and backpacking gear, they can surmise that you’re either a backpacker or a prepper.
If you buy a lot of that food, they’ll narrow that down to you being a prepper. Or how about guns? Let’s say that you buy a gun privately, so that there isn’t any record of it; but you buy ammunition and accessories for it online.
Not only will they know that you have a gun, but they’ll be able to tell you what caliber and maybe even what make it is. Likewise, building a “ghost gun” from parts bought online is about as secret as sending a letter to the ATF, letting them know about it.
Many preppers and others who like to maintain their privacy, have turned to DuckDuckGo as their preferred search engine. Unlike the other search engine companies out there, DuckDuckGo maintains your privacy.
Their search engine prevents trackers, provides privacy and keeps you from getting all those “personalized ads” that plague the rest of the internet.
Disconnect Your WebCam
It has been known for a number of years that webcams can be activated remotely by the government, allowing them to spy on you in the privacy of your own home, even without a search warrant. The easy solution for that problem is to disconnect the webcam from the computer. If you can’t do that, then cover it with a sticky note, so that the image doesn’t come through.
Don’t forget that if they can pick up video, they can probably pick up audio as well. If you can’t disconnect your microphone, such as on a laptop, try turning the microphone off from the computer’s control panel. If that doesn’t work, cover the microphone with something that will block sound.
Plan Routes to Avoid Cameras
We must take into account that it isn’t just our online and phone activity that the government might take interest in. If they’re actively investigating one of us, they’ll use everything at their disposal. That includes traffic cameras and security cameras, almost all of which are now tied into the internet. Those cameras give them the ability to see you and what you are doing.
The technology for traffic cams has increased by leaps and bounds in the last couple of decades. Whereas they used to struggle to get license plates, now they can not only read the license plates form a block away, but read the title of a paperback book that you might be holding. Keep in mind that if the camera can see you, then they can probably identify you with facial recognition software.
There are a couple of websites online, where people log cameras that they have discovered, especially traffic cameras. One such location is PhotoEnforced.com. But that’s not the only one. Some areas of the country, especially big cities, have more detailed websites for just their city.
Infrared LED Hat Band
Speaking of those cameras, it is possible to defeat them, without having to go through the trouble of masks, costumes and makeup. All you need is to build a hatband with infrared LEDs on it; the brighter the better. Put it on a hat and get into the habit of wearing it.
The infrared won’t bother people you interact with, but it will be picked up, extremely bright, by those traffic and security cameras, effectively blocking out your face. All they’ll see is a bright light. While that might arouse suspicion, they won’t know who to be suspicious of.
That’s Not All
These 14 ideas are probably some of the most important ones out there; but don’t take this list as being all there is to say about the subject. There are other ways you can hide out from the government and probably other ways they are spying on us. This is a growing area and will continue to grow in the future.
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anyone have a good link for a Infrared LED Hat Band?s
Duckduckgo is not private. They sell your info to Microsoft.
James Patrick says
As SusieQ mentioned, USPS takes a photo of every piece of flat mail. You can sign up to see your own at
No warrant is needed for agencies to see the outside of any mail.
On the matter of paper mail sent through the post office, leave off the return address. Most of our mail is just paying bills and using the self-addressed envelopes provided by the company, whether electric company, water, gas, credit-card, mortgage, whatever, so you know it’s going to get there.
As for smartphones, young people may not realize this, but there really was life before smartphones, and in some ways it was better. I carry a little not-so-smart phone only for emergencies, and it goes months at a time without even getting turned on. I even keep the battery out of it and separate in a baggie in my pocket, because before I started doing that, it turned itself on a couple of times without my permission. Obviously now they can’t track me by my phone. I just use land-line phones, and my PC which has a wired internet connection, not even WiFi. I’m not missing a thing.
I also drive a 1988 vehicle that has no wireless communication.
On a different note, to Urban Survival Site: Please make the font _black_, color code 000000! Here in this box I’m typing in, it’s so light I can hardly see it. Stop trying to “soften” it! Gray writing dramatically reduces my reading speed _and_ comprehension!
I don’t like cities that use cameras at traffic intersections. They can issue traffic tickets without police personally seeing you break the traffic laws. So, I avoid any city that uses them. I refuse to go into Montgmery, AL because the damn things hang off every power poles and city lighting along main traffic routes, and side roads. My town can’t afford those miserable things, so I do all my shopping there without fear that a traffic ticket wiill show up in the mail in case I unknowingly make a mistake. You should be able to face your accuser, and a camera is not a human being you are able to face.
Do Some more research on the subject of cameras they are illegal in giving you a “Ticket, don’t let them fool you. There illegal !
Youre wrong about the US mail. When they replaced workers with machines over 20 years ago, automation, the machine read and record each piece of mail that goes through. It’s sent to a data bank and postal inspectors keep it forever on file. It can be accessed any time they choose. I retired from the post office and you’d be surprised at the info they have readily accessible.