How do individuals avoid NSA global network monitoring?

The massive surveillance data center built by NSA in Utah desert can screen and analyze most global network traffic from location, audio and video files, emails, social network and other digital documents. Of course, the organization that’s able to track our digital trail is not only NSA, at this privacy streaking era, all kinds of government agencies and commercial companies can master our words, conducts all the time. As a ordinary netizen, is there a reliable self-protective method?

Earlier this week, “Washington Post” has given five pieces of personal information security advice for escaping from NSA surveillance, including using Tor to surf the Internet, using Silent Circle to call. In fact, the Internet personal privacy problems are not limited to the NSA surveillance, in the past several years, the Chinese Internet companies user accounts massive disclosure and the threats to personal privacy and finance from Android phones’ malicious apps make customer privacy self-protective measures imperative.

At the age of anti-virus software is all free and invalid, everyone should understand the skills about personal privacy protection.

1. Use Firefox encryption plugin Tor to anonymously browse

To use Tor for anonymous browsing can prevent website browsing data from intercepted, so all kinds of insatiable Internet companies do not know what kind of ads should be pushed to you, NSA will also don’t know whom you are communication with. The whistleblower Snowden of NSA was photographed using Tor on the Internet.

Tor is a free Firefox anonymous browsing plugin, which’s able to encrypt network traffic data and can be used with Firefox browser on PC, Mac and Linux platforms. And encryption is at the expense of some of the browser’s speed.

It is noteworthy that Tor is not foolproof, for example in 2011 the hackers attacked Dutch certification authority NigiNotar, and created a lot of Facebook, Google, Skype and Tor fake digital certificates, the purpose was to monitor the Iranian Internet users. Similarly, according to Arstechnica reports, papers of USENIX Conference, the researchers also found that there are loopholes in Tor, which can be used to identify Bittorrent user’s identity.

2.  Use OTR app to encrypt chat

Snowden used a type of unknown OTR chat app when accepting the interview with the Guardian, this application can encrypt chat data, many free client support OTR, including Cryptocat and Adium of Mac OSX and IM+ for Android smart phone and iPhone.

3.  Use Silent Circle to encrypt voice and email, etc.

Silent Circle is a US native brand new personal communication encryption service, Silen Circle company announced that its four services would cut price while the NSA monitoring action burst, and these services include mobile phone voice encryption, text messaging encryption, VoIP voice and video call encryption and email encryption. This company claimed through an independent audit it ensured the services provided have no back door.

It is noteworthy that both the communicating parties must be users of Silent Circle if using Silent Circle encryption service. For those high-end business users who worry about information leakage, Silent Circle’s encryption service is very attractive.

4. Android mobile phone users use Redphone to encrypt calls and SMS

Android users are lucky, WhisperSystems company’s open-source software Redphone and TextSecure can provide security call and SMS encryption function. Similarly, both communicating parties must install Redphone clients. Thereinto TextSecure is used to encrypt text messages.

Redphone and TextSecure currently both have passed third-party audit to ensure that there is no back door.

5. Use PGP to encrypt data

PGP and the open source GPG that’s similar to PGP can be used to encrypt data and e-mail, these two software programs need a little bit knowledge to use, Snowden even had to make a teaching video for the Guardian reporter Greenwald.

6. Turn off phone, remove the battery

This approach sounds a bit radical, but this behavior when you don’t use mobile phone can prevent phone leaking your location information to mobile base station nearby. ACLU chief scientist Christopher Soghoian told the “Washington Post”: “laws of physics tell us that you cannot hide your location information to mobile operators.”

7. Stop using Windows and Mac OS operating systems

I believe that changing operating systems is a difficult decision, but considering that Microsoft has officially acknowledged having submitted global users data to NSA, the backdoor of operating system has become a real and serious problem. If you want to escape from “Matrix” and acquire free network user identity, you need to consider various versions of Linux including Ubuntu.

For ordinary computer users, information security including communication information and information placed in computer should be both considered. You need to try methods above to improve your information of communication security level, and for the information in computer, you can use third party tool file encryption program to set password to your folders.