Whilst I’d be very surprised if anyone reading this isn’t already aware of it, this Monday the 16th of February it will become illegal to elicit or attempt to elicit information about the armed forces, security forces or constabulary that is useful or likely to be useful to people committing or preparing an act of terrorism. Counter-Terrorism Act 2008.
Given the horrendously broad scope this wording allows and the well documented dislike our police force have for people taking their photo’s or in fact any photo’s at all (whilst being increasingly keen on taking ours), this had been widely interpreted as being likely to cause grave difficulties for photographers of all kinds. So the National Union of Journalists have organized an event in association with Mark Thomas. Note this is not a demo it’s just a media event, because demo’s also aren’t popular, so “No riots, no army, no fighting, no slogans”.
Lots of people have written many articles on how to use the internet in more or less anonymous fashions. So I suspect that this isn’t going to add anything new but will perhaps add a new slant or at least group things in a different fashion that may make more sense for some people than other articles have.
The obvious first step as many people have said is to make sure that whatever operating system you’re running is kept up to date and that you have a firewall and it’s locked down as much as possible. All of which is well and good and stops people getting directly onto your machine, but if they’ve got that level of interest in you you’ve probably got bigger problems to worry about (or you’re reading this a few years after I wrote it). At the moment the powers that be are mainly concentrating on traffic analysis. That’s what monitoring what web sites you visit and who you email actually is, they’re looking for patterns in the traffic people generate to see who’s talking to who and if there’s more traffic just after or before specific events. So at this stage in the game disguising your traffic is a good thing to do, and that’s where it pays to be generous.
Part 1 – A handful of beads
The internet has been and is still widely touted as a huge bastion of freedom, a virtual wild west, new and uncharted lands not to mention numerous other metaphors aimed to convince us that it can herald in a utopia of untold freedoms. Now of course none of that was ever true, the apparent freedoms all relied on expensive equipment paid for and managed by businesses and bits of government of varying sizes. The freedoms existed because what was going on was largely unnoticed and not understood by those that might want to stop it.