RSS Feed


Comments RSS

A Private Internet

I have taken a great interest in personal privacy on the Internet.
I have found some things to help accomplish that.  Please comment
if you know of additional resources or techniques.

1) Private email via PGP encryption:  Seems to be most easily
accomplished using the Thunderbird email client with the Enigmail PGP
add-on.  Note, you will need to have PGP or GPG also, installed.  This
is usually true by default on Linux systems, but on Windows you need
to install GPG4Win.
To obtain the Thunderbird mail client program:
To obtain the Enigmail add-on:
Another option is the Claws Mail client which incorporates PGP support
A good article introducing the use of the Thunderbird email client with
the Enigmail add-on.

My public key for  wa5pb19 <at> gmail <dot> com  is:

2) Private surfing using the TOR browser, which is a specialized cut of
Firefox which incorporates the use of internet relays to help keep your
own internet surfing presence anonymous.

3) Private internet searching via the DuckDuckGo search engine.  Which
can also be added as a search provider for the Firefox search bar.

4) Encryption of files using GPG.
A good, brief intro to GPG.
The official GPG documentation.

Some people might ask, "Why? Do you have something to hide?".  To
which I respond, "No. But, why not?  Do we not have a right to privacy?".
However, it must be remembered that if we desire a right to privacy,
we much put effort into keeping our own information private.  If we
release information about ourselves, intentionally or not, it is no
longer private and we arguably lose the reasonable expectation of
privacy afforded by the 4th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The
problem arises when we unwittingly reveal information about ourselves
via the internet and other computing activities.  These resources may
help a person to avoid doing that.


On March 11, 2010, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled, in Rehberg v. Paulk, 598 F.3d 1268, that a person does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in an e-mail once any copy of the communication is delivered to a third party.[80]

On December 14, 2010, in United States v. Warshak, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy in his emails and that the government violated Warshak’s Fourth Amendment rights by compelling his internet service provider to turn over his emails without first obtaining a warrant based upon probable cause.[81]

FOSS Encryption Software

I have been using EncryptionPlus Hard Disk encryption software at work now for encrypting laptops (per corporate security policies) for over six years now.   The product has work reasonably well.  Aside from personal file and email encryption products such as GPG, I was unaware of any FOSS (Free and Open-Source Software) full disk encryption systems similar to what I had been using at work, until a coworker brought TrueCrypt to my attention.   I have read the documentation and it seems perfectly capable for what I need so I am going to give it a try.  My laptop is unencrypting right now and EncryptionPlus will be uninstalled.   What makes me want to try this out is not just that TrueCrypt is FOSS, but also that I could not previously have a Wubi install of Ubuntu on this laptop while it was encrypted with the EPHD product – the Wubi Ubuntu would not boot.   Once this finishes unencrypting and EPHD is gone, I will once again do a Wubi install of Ubuntu and then try TrueCrypt and see if every thing works.   I will let the blogosphere know how this progresses!

Update — did the operation as described above. Wubi still did not work, but that now makes sense to me and I don’t think that could have worked. However, TrueCrypt itself is working wonderfully! I really like this product. I did a full disk encryption on a 75GB disk and it took much less than two hours. Also, the documentation for the software if very thorough. It is amazing that such a good system is FOSS!

Final Update — I could not be more pleased with TrueCrypt. I will highly recommend it to all my geek friends! :-)