Wednesday, November 21, 2012

How To Get Around Electronic Surveillance

First, an aside: I just stumbled on a little bit in this article http://disquietreservations.blogspot.com/2012/11/ending-financial-and-information-siege.html

likening the FedGov to an abusive alcoholic in an abusive relationship.
Just like my article of a few days ago on how the gov is like a drug addict.  That article's getting hits.
I wonder if my brain wave is inspiring people?  Did it inspire the author of that article?  (if so, thanks, but please send a link my way!)


So my new point is this: the gov is also a cyberstalker.  Did you know there is a bill before the Senate right now that would make it legal for 20 federal agencies to read your email without getting a warrant? (call your Senator and object to it!)

Meanwhile, people need a way to communicate privately. A workaround. But since the gov is typically several years ahead of what technology is available to people, that's not likely that people would pull it off with superior technology.

However, we can do a lot that is low tech.

If it ever came to real tyranny, and you were in a resistance where you really had to be a secret squirrel, you can transmit radio messages intermittently and sparingly.  They can't triangulate on someone who broadcasts from a different location at random times for only a few seconds or so each time.  Then use codes rather than ciphers.  Not good for screeds, but good for short messages.  You can break up a long message into short ones with breaks between, and change frequencies in the middle of it, by prior arrangement.

Face the music: I am reminded of truck drivers who broadcast short segments of music on their CB radios out of boredom.  They're not supposed to do that, but that would be a great prearranged signal for someone to use, as it would be indistinguishable from the truck drivers messing around.  Just use something the drivers would probably not use.  Like Sinatra.  Don't pick "Bad to the Bone", they probably all use that.

Instead of using electronics at all, if it's locals you need to communicate with, leave paper messages at a dead drop.  This is just a public place that you hide messages in for your friends - a hollow fence post, under a rock, in a crack in a building, stuck to gum under a chair in a cafe, under the trash bag in a trash can, etc.  You can even glue/cement a thumb drive somewhere if you want to get electronic about it.

Eat your words: If you write your message on a stick of gum, eating the evidence could be tasty.  Protesters in Yemen made their signs out of pita bread, so they could eat them after the protest.  Let them eat fortune cookies!

Smoke 'em: You could put a message in the filter of a cigarette, and have your friend bum one off you, smoking the surveillance (so to speak).  If they pocket the filter after, or only burn part of the cigarette, people will think they're just not littering, or saving it for later. I can see a network of fake street bums, bumming smokes off each other to spread some message across town.  Maybe the ones with the messages could have dollar signs on them like in Atlas Shrugged.  That would be cute.

If you could agree on a pictogram system, you could post artwork or objects in plain view and it would be a secret message. Waffle House has a sort of pictogram system worked out with packets of jelly and butter - each configuration of things placed on a plate in a certain way means a different dish to prepare.  If Waffle House can do it, so can anyone.

And you can gum the spies up: flood them with FUD. (Fucked Up Data).  Make them spend resources cracking your grocery list and transcriptions of HP Lovecraft stories.  Make up something that looks like a coded message like "The sparrow flies at dawn" and post it somewhere.

If you are going to use dead drops, FUD goes like this: make a bunch of fake ones and then be a little obvious so that anyone tailing you will see you putting a fake message in.  You could even have a friend watching to see who tries to get your fake message out of the fake dead drop. This would be a good way to burn a spy.

Happy tradecrafting!

1 comment:

Graybeard said...

This is quite good, and something more of us need to think about.

But one addition: Leahy is apparently backing away from what he said as recently as yesterday: according to C/NET news