How To Keep Things Private While Being Monitored: A Field Guide

11 Jun

Hi Friend,

Are you feeling down at the NSA leaks? Has facebook’s privacy policy withered your brain? Wanna move to Hong Kong?

Have no fear, for I come bearing gifts. You see, your dystopian nightmare of having every private detail of your life monitored is already a reality for large segments of the population right here in America! From McCarthyism, to Japanese internment, from Sodomy Laws to the NYPD’s monitoring of innocent Muslim’s in New York city, we’ve all gone through hell so you don’t have to.

The Field Guide to Keeping Things Private:

1) If someone asks you your name, you DON’T HAVE TO GIVE IT TO THEM. This is the basic to the foundation of a long and private life. Just because a field marked “first name” and “last name” presents itself, it does not mean you have to offer it up. The pen name is your friend, and it isn’t just for authors anymore. None of your social bookmarks should have your actual first and last names.

2) Google yourself. Do you see your name listed on websites, linkedin profiles, facebook pages? Then scrub them out. If you must absolutely use your first and last name then make sure there are others who share your name for plausible deniability.

3) Conduct sensitive business in person and use texting codespeak. You know, like every stoner has done for the last 40 years.

4) Normalize the thing you are hiding. A big G man comes to my house to blackmail me because I’m gay? Guess what! So is your uncle. Bugger off.

5) Stop attracting attention to yourself. Learn to blend in when in public. Lots of us call this “passing.” It has all sorts of connotations, both negative and positive, among a variety of populations because we have a variety of experiences with people butting into our lives.

6) Have a support network. I’ll be honest with you, I like civilization, I can’t just fall off the grid, so if the G-men come to take you away and if you, like me, love using tech, then be sure to know enough people who would give a crap if you went missing.

7) Have fun.


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