How To Avoid Data Surveillance Programs

How To Avoid Data Surveillance Programs

Probably you’ve heard about the NSA surveillance program PRISMXKeyscore and the GCHQ’s Tempora. If you did not, you should start looking up for information, because we have bad news, you are being tracked down.

Basically, these are clandestine-mass-electronic-top-secret-data-mining programs, operated by the National Security Agency and other governments agencies such as the Britsh Government Communications Headquarters.

Talking about PRISM, on 2007 the NSA has been given “special permissions” that authorizes it to monitor the phone, email, and other communications of U.S. citizens for up to a week without obtaining a warrant. PRISM plans were revealed by the ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden who told the guardian’s journalists that enterprises such as Yahoo!, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook among others, were (well, they actually are) collaborating with this surveillance program, tracking down on people’s conversations, what kind of apps they use, what websites they usually visit, etc.

Ok, that was a short introduction to this article. There are several programs you can use to stop this companies and governments on hunting and tracking you down. The following is a list of them.

Note: Follow these recommendations at your own risk, we are not responsible for any damage caused by this review.

Operating Systems

If you are here, you’re probably using linux or any unix-based OS. Anyway you should be aware that, as stated before, Apple, Google and Microsoft are part of PRISM, so we strongly recommend avoiding their proprietary OS (Google Chrome OS/Android – Windows/Windows Phone – Apple OS X/iOS , the alternatives are Linux and/or BSD.

Note: We recommend almost any Linux OS, we say almost because there are reports that Canonical’s Ubuntu contains Amazon ads and data leaks. It is supposed that Ubuntu’s spyware is currently contained in the Unity desktop environment. Ubuntu derivatives using alternative desktop environments (Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Kubuntu) should be theoretically safe, although they may still contain non-free software.

When using cellphones, a good alternative to Android is CyanogenMod or Replicant. Sadly, If you have iOS or Windows Phone there are no open-source alternatives for these.

Web Browsers

Chrome (or Chromium), Internet Explorer and Safari are not recommended, instead you should use Mozilla Firefox or the Tor Browser Bundle.

When using Mozilla Firefox, we strongly recommend using add-ons such as AdblockEdge, Disconnect and HTTPS Everywhere.

For web search YaCy is a promising project that offers fully decentralized peer-to-peer search. The more people who start using it, the better the results will become.
Others web search pages that don’t keep logs of what you usually search are DuckDuckGo and StartPage, this search engines provide you with anonymous Google search and image results through a free proxy.

DNS Providers

Google Public DNS permanently logs your ISP and location information, your IP address is also stored for 24 hours. Here are some alternatives.public DNS resolver is now online!

CloudDNS: CloudDNS is an Australian based security focused DNS provider. Though their public website is under construction, the public DNS resolver ir fully functional.

OpenNIC: Automatically indicates your nearests DNS servers.

There are several other things you can do to avoid spyware/trackware and surveillance programs. Of course there are not 100% effective tools, but these should help. There’s also a community web page that’s always up to date, for further information you can go to Prism Break.

12 Comments on this Post

  1. LinuxSytesNet

    “zafari browser” – whoa you just created a new browser, also Tor isn’t safe at all because I remember read somewhere that Tor has been compromised.

  2. Very Useful.. Thanks gattes.

  3. It definitely should have been a typo. It has been corrected now. Thanks.

  4. Note this is confusing denunciation Anonymous. Ubuntu alongside Google? Paranoia! A recommended Mint full spyware!

  5. Yup, just a typo, my bad.
    Tor and Firefox are much safier than Safari as Apple has been recognised as one of the subsidiaries of the PRISM program, remember that FF has an open community and you can create your own programs. Tor has been compromised probably because there are certain thing that you should not look up for (like the lower levels of internet or some .onion pages), I think there is nothing to compare between Safari and FF or Tor.

    Opera is not definitely a safer option either, you should get into prism-break and look up for it.

  6. LinuxSytesNet

    Running firefox that is 90% sponsored by google isn’t good idea, thanks Miguel I didn’t knew that Opera is part of the PRISM, so the alternatives are limited, but I still prefer rekonq – it fits perfectly on my xfce + kwin setup.

  7. Leon Miklosik

    Google does not sponsor Firefox. Google is a client of Mozilla, not the sponsor. Google pays Mozilla for using the Google search engine in the search box.
    Firefox is open source and secure.

  8. LinuxSytesNet

    Both browsers are open source (chromium, while chrome is build from chromium and firefox). Next time do a query to some search engine:

  9. 2briancox

    Yes, Chromium is open source. But you can’t easily install Chromium on Windows or Mac. Linux makes it easy because of Software Repositories. But finding a means of installing it is combersome and slow on Windows.
    And it is VERY important to note that, while Chromium is Open Source and generally FOSS, CHROME is certainly not! Forget about the F in FOSS if you use Chrome, because Chrome sends every keypress you type into the address/search bar directly to Google. Typing Backspace key doesn’t undo this, because Google just sees the keypress + the delete keypress. That’s called spying and that certainly is not FOSS.

  10. LinuxSytesNet

    Google made their Chrome EULA less creepy, you are talking about the days back in 2009 – 2010.

  11. Is there any problem in particular with Opera — aside from the fact that it’s proprietary?

    My understanding is that Opera has a pretty good reputation.
    A reputation that has been maintained for quite a few years, now.

    I’d certainly trust Opera more than Chrome.

    Unless there’s something I should know about, I figure to keep it around as my chief “back-up” browser, after Firefox/Iceweasel.

  12. 2briancox

    I am talking about right now. They never stopped this behavior. It can be turned off if you know how. But by default it is turned on with Chrome. It’s not about their EULA.

    The creepiness reduction you are talking about was closer to the initial release of Chrome where they stopped trying to claim that everything you did in their browser was copyrighted by Google. But that was in their EULA. What I’m talking about is in the default function of the software.

Leave a Comment