It’s easy to feel hopeless about privacy these days.
Here are some ways to keep those communications private. While these tips were designed for journalists and confidential sources, they’re just as useful for protecting any private communications, such as a conversation between family members, or a confidential business dealing.
Some tactics are more difficult than others, but the good news is that not all of them require technical skills. The key is to figure out your communication strategy. First, decide if you are trying to hide WHO you are talking to (metadata) or WHAT you are talking about (content), or BOTH.
In each case, there are both high-tech and low-tech ways to evade surveillance.
If you are trying to mask WHO you are talking to, consider three tactics that I call ACE — which stands for “Add Noise, Cloak or Evade.”
- Add noise means fuzzing the metadata by adding false connections or false content to the communications.
A high-tech way to add noise online is to use Tor Web browser which bounces your Internet traffic around to a bunch of locations so that the website you arrive at doesn’t know where you are coming from.
You could also add noise in a low-tech way. If, for instance, you are a journalist calling a source in the mayor’s office, you could also call everyone in the office, too. That protects the source from being the only one with a record of a call with you. (However, you should talk for a short time and set up another means of communications to avoid creating a data trail of a long conversation).