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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Big Government Squanders Your Money with Relish & Abandon


Poor Man Survival

Self Reliance tools for independent minded people…


ISSN 2161-5543

A Digest of Urban Survival Resources

 

 

"The trouble with most folks
isn't so much their ignorance,
  as knowing so many things
     that ain't so."

-- Josh Billings

 

 

Big Government Squanders Your Money with Relish & Abandon

 

The EPA Spent $5,000 on a Single Freakin’ Office Chair… plus Hillary told us your taxes will go up again if she gets into office

While Bernie Sanders is busy picking out new furniture for his THIRD HOME (because 23 types of deodorants is an atrocity, but three homes for a politician, that’s socialism, duh), his followers are still pushing for higher taxes.  Because, of course, they’ve yet to feel the tax-induced butthole clench after looking at a real paystub.

Until then, we advise that they look at the EPA to get a small taste of how Big Government manages money.  They don’t manage – they squander your money with relish and abandon!

Over the past decade, says a recent report from transparency advocate Open the Books, the EPA has spent a whopping $92.4 million on office furniture.

“The agency,” Kristie Eshelman writes on the Generation Opportunity blog, “spent $48.4 million on Herman Miller furniture alone. If you’re unfamiliar with the furniture market, that’s about as high-end as you can get. To put it in perspective, one Herman Miller chair cost $4,047. Granted, it was nice chair -- it could swivel and tilt and had adjustable arms -- but mine can do that too. Someone must have given a really good sales pitch.

"Perhaps the only furniture brand more expensive than Herman Miller is Knoll. The EPA just couldn’t resist, shelling out $5 million on Knoll designer furniture.

“And we can’t forget the pencil holder. While the average pencil holder costs $10-20, the EPA was persuaded to $813 on theirs. I just hope it looks better than the half-forgotten one that’s gathering dust in the supply room of our office.”

Some poor American paid for that pencil holder with about a month’s worth of hard work. Tell me again why we need to raise taxes?  That’s what carpetbagger Shillary plans to do [in the best Democratic/Socialist tradition] if she is elected [and she’ll screw us some with another half-baked health plan] and if the American people are foolish enough to entrust her with her with another security clearance…I wonder how much cash they’ll rake in this time selling influence to foreign governments?

 

 

Why American Jobs are Vanishing & We’re in Decline

 

Long ago in the Land of the Free, if you wanted to start a saloon, you rented a space and started serving booze.

 

You didn’t have to go through years of petitioning a bunch of bureaucrats for permits and licenses.

 

If you weren’t qualified or good enough at your job, your reputation would suffer and you’d go out of business.

 

This is the way it used to be for just about every industry and profession.

 

It wasn’t until 1889 that the US Supreme Court ruled in Dent v. West Virginia that states had the right to impose “reasonable” certifications or licenses for various professions.

 

At first, most states only licensed physicians, dentists, and lawyers.

 

In fact, by 1920, only about 30 occupations in the US required any sort of licensing.

 

By the 1950s, about 5% of US workers required a license to perform his/her job.

 

Today that number has risen to 30%, and climbing.

 

Some of our modern examples are completely insane.

 

According to the Brookings Institute, the state of Nevada requires 733 days of training and a $1,500 fee for a license... just to become a tour guide.

 

Over in Michigan, it takes 1,460 days of education to become an athletic trainer.

 

45 other states have license or certification requirements for athletic trainers. All fifty states have licenses for barbers and cosmetologists.

 

36 states require licenses for make-up artists. 34 states license milk samplers. And a mere 33 states license auctioneers.

 

These license requirements continue to grow, along with the overall level of rules and regulations in the Land of the Free.

 

Just this morning the US government published an extra 227 pages of rules, regulations, and proposals.

 

This happens every single business day in America.

 

Last week the government published over 2,000 pages of new rules, many of which border on absurdity.

 

To give you an idea, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service proposed a rule about minimum and maximum diameters of potatoes that are sold in the State of Colorado.

 

Yes I’m serious.

 

This is the sort of madness that government bureaucrats churn out on a daily basis: more rules, more licenses.

 

Needless to say, the more of these rules they create, the more difficult it becomes for people and businesses to produce.

 

So it wasn’t exactly a big surprise when the US Labor Department released statistics a few days ago showing that, for the third straight quarter in a row, productivity in the Land of the Free declined.   Obama’s White House has churned out red tape like Frito Lay churns out snack chips and it costs us jobs and higher prices and is choking the lifeblood out of our national productivity and international competitiveness.

 

Hillary promises more of the same – Obama 2.0

 
 


A few simple ways to fight back…

 

1. Agorism: “Agorism,” says Wikipedia, “is a libertarian social philosophy that advocates creating a society in which all relations between people are voluntary exchanges by means of counter-economics, thus engaging in a manner with aspects of peaceful revolution. It was first proposed by libertarian philosopher Samuel Edward Konkin III in 1975, with contributions partly by J. Neil Schulman.”

Taking part in agorism is easy. Simple trade with others freely and without government interference. Use cash or other untraceable forms of payment.

In short, support your local black markets. Because, of course, a “black market” is a free market.

2. Jury Nullification- Jury nullification is truly one way the power can be returned to the people. Problem is, few know what it is. And those who try to inform the masses out in public or in the courtroom are often locked in cages.

In short, jury nullifiers have the ability to refuse to charge someone for a victimless crime, no matter the law.

We’ll be talking more about jury nullification in future episodes. In the meantime, learn more about jury nullification here.

3. Private Security: Yesterday, we talked about how you can keep yourself protected when you’re on the move.

Today, we invite you to take it a step further. Take self-defense classes. Bone up on the latest research. (Target Focus Training and ex-CIA Officer Jason Hanson’s latest book are both good starts.) Eat healthy. Stay in shape. As you know, when it comes down to it, the only thing between you and a victim is your level of awareness and preparedness.

4. Homeschooling: Public schools have failed our children. Not only that, but they’re filling their heads with all kinds of crazy nonsense.

More and more, I’m meeting people who are catching onto this and homeschooling their kids. Not only is this a good idea, it’s also a great opportunity for educators to catch this trend and make it a business.

You could create courses for homeschoolers, offer to teach kids in your community and even, if you’re feeling froggy, open up your own micro-school.

We need liberty-minded educators for our kids. Do you fit the bill?

5. Become a servant to your fellow human: Be self-sufficient and cut all ties with the public sector. This one’s pretty self-explanatory. But most people don’t truly understand why entrepreneurship is so great -- and it’s not about making money.

Sure, making money is nice. It gives you freedom to do things you wouldn’t be able to do otherwise. But what make entrepreneurship great, really, is it’s about becoming a servant to mankind.

 

 

 

Yours for another revolution,

Bruce ‘the Poor Man’

Additional Resources


The Anatomy of a Breakdown

The Prepper’s Blueprint: The Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Through Any Disaster

Prepper’s Home Defense: Security Strategies to Protect Your Family by Any Means Necessary

Contact! A Tactical Manual for Post Collapse Survival


As I’ve said for the past 25 years “We don’t need another election, We need another revolution!”

 



Arm Up System-Defense Without Regulation
PM’s Guide to Home Defense


It is a crazy world out there with plenty of violence and everyone knows you that under most circumstances, police usually arrive after the fact. Your rights to defend yourself are often under attack, even for non-lethal self-defense tools…Includes book and 3 bonus CD ROMS

http://www.bonanza.com/listings/Guide-to-Home-Defense-Arm-Up-System-Defense-W-out-Regulation-Bonuses/370808566

 

{Note:  We also offer a Three Set CD-ROM-only version at a lesser price for those with limited budgets]

 


Support our efforts by shopping my storefront…


 

 


A Smoking Frog Feature, Shallow Planet Production

 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

How the Government Swindles, Fleeces & Cheats its Citizens


 

Poor Man Survival

Self Reliance tools for independent minded people…


ISSN 2161-5543

A Digest of Urban Survival Resources

 

Whatever power you give politicians and bureaucrats to use against other people will eventually be used by future politicians and bureaucrats against you…Michael Boldin

 
 


The Swindle of the American Citizen…by its Own Government

   The abuses of the system against the little guy by government at all levels continue to pile up…on last night’s Detroit news for instance we saw how spotters were being used for tow companies to grab vehicles from hospital parking lots – EVEN when they had permits!  Within minutes cars were towed and owners were forced to pay extortion style rates in the $400 range [twice or more the rate of other states] to get their vehicles back and local cities sanctioned this theft as they were getting a cut of the action!

The government has turned into a mafia-like enterprise which is why so many of us are angry at the pay-to-play enterprise the Clinton’s have been running for years making them the wealthiest former presidential family in history.  Every fricking thing in this nation now requires some kind of permit or fee, keeping hoards of government workers employed at do-nothing jobs.

In the state of MI for example, my wife and I already had CCW permits from two other states but MI doesn’t have reciprocity and wanted another $100 plus the additional training fees and FBI background check - the same damned thing we had already paid for…”Do you use a different FBI I asked?  No, we just want the money, the State Cop told me…”

The government has become a con game, designed to fleece its citizens…

Have you lost that loving feeling? If so, the United States federal government might just be able to help.

 

Before you swipe right on Tinder or update that eHarmony account, consider instead taking a quick trip out of the country.

 

Because on your way back home into the Land of the Free, US Customs and Border Protection will have agents standing by ready with heaps of government stimulus.

 

It happened to a Jane Doe (the name has been withheld to protect what little remains of her dignity), a 54-year old US citizen who had recently been on a trip to Mexico. [A nation where I will no longer spend my money].

 

As she was returning home via the Cordova Bridge border crossing in El Paso, she was randomly selected for extra special screening and escorted to a private area.

 

I’ve been there. It’s not fun. They don’t tell you anything, and they don’t say why.

 

They act very aggressively and start barking orders at you as if you’re already a prison inmate.

 

Quite frequently you can sit there wasting away for hours. Fortunately for me, nothing particularly sinister ever happened. For Ms. Doe, it was quite the opposite.

 

According to the published case files, she was frisked, and then ordered to squat so that a drug-sniffing dog could check out her nether regions.

 

Apparently the dog liked what he smelled, because Ms. Doe was then taken to yet another room, ordered to pull down her pants, and crouch.

 

At that point an agent from Customs and Border Protection “inspected her anus with a flashlight.”

 

She was then ordered to lean backwards in a crouched position, after which another agent inserted a speculum into her vagina to search for drugs.

 

Another agent then “parted Ms. Doe’s vulva with her hand, pressed her fingers into Ms. Doe’s vagina, and visually examined her genitalia with a flashlight.”

 

They then took her to a hospital for a further 6 hours of involuntary testing, which included forcing her to have a bowel movement as they all watched, plus X-rays, CT scans, and more.

 

I know what you’re thinking-- they probably found a treasure trove of cocaine and methamphetamine shoved deep inside Ms. Doe’s womanhood.

 

Except they didn’t.

 

Ms. Doe was “brutally probed against her will” for hours and hours without judicial oversight, due process, or even reasonable suspicion. And they found nothing.

 

Here’s the really disgusting part: at the end of this ordeal, they released her without charge... with one catch.

 

They told her that if she signed a consent form, retroactively giving her permission to be abused and violated, that the government would pay for all the tests and various medical expenses.

 

But if she didn’t sign the consent form, she’d have to pay for them all herself.

 

Ms. Doe refused to sign, and the United States government sent her a bill for more than $5,000, essentially demanding that she pay for her own sexual assault.

 

Emotionally shattered she went home feeling like a rape victim. She sued.

 

And, as the pitiful justice system in the Land of the Free is far from swift, it took over three years for the case to gain any traction.

 

Finally, as of a few days ago, the case has been settled. And the US government agreed to pay Ms. Doe $475,000.

 

But as you can imagine, there were strings attached, specifically that the settlement should “not be taken as an admission of liability or fault.”

 

I guess it’s Ms. Doe’s fault. She must have been asking for it. It’s like a classic rape story from the 1950s. Absolutely appalling.

 

But just think about what this means--

 

Gun-toting government thugs are running around committing sexual assault on US citizens so they can continue waging a costly and utterly ridiculous war on plants.

 

Apparently doing so is quite typical. So typical, in fact, that they have a consent form ready to be signed by their gang rape victims in the hopes of keeping it quiet.

 

And even if it doesn’t stay quiet and one of the victims goes public, the government refuses to admit its own culpability and pays them off with taxpayer funds.

 

Just think about that: YOUR tax money is going to pay off the US government’s sexual assault victims.

 

This is so disgusting, so vile... I would ask you just one simple question: have you reached your breaking point yet?

 

 

[Love Liberty?  See How your State is Doing Right Here Courtesy the CATO Inst.]


 



 


 

 

PART II – How Vile our Government Has Become Against its Own Citizenry

 


The year was 1986.

 

Top Gun was the #1 movie in America.

 

Halley’s Comet was visible with the naked eye.

 

Microsoft went public, instantly making Bill Gates one of the wealthiest people in the world.

 

And the US government took in $93.7 million through a little known authority called “Civil Asset Forfeiture”.

 

As you’re likely aware, Civil Asset Forfeiture is a legal process that allows the government to seize assets from private citizens without any due process or judicial oversight.

 

People can be deprived of their private property without ever having been even charged with a crime, let alone never having actually committed one.

 

The horror stories of its abuse are endless.

 

People who have never done anything wrong have had their life’s savings, homes, and business assets confiscated without so much as a warrant.

 

This constitutes theft, plain and simple.

 

And like most government initiatives, it started small.

 

Again, the statistics from 1986 show $93.7 million worth of cash and property was seized by the government.

 

By 2014, that figure had grown 4,667% to a whopping $4.5 billion.

 

And we learned in 2015 that the government stole so much private property from its citizens that the total amount exceeded the value of all property stolen by every thief and felon in America combined.

 

It reminds me of that sign Ron Paul used to keep on his desk during his tenure in Congress: “Don’t steal. The government hates competition.”

 

The public also learned about all the extraordinary incentives for state, local, and federal police agencies to steal from private citizens.

 

The entire idea behind Civil Asset Forfeiture is that they can confiscate your property, then put the burden on YOU to prove that you didn’t do anything wrong in order to get your property back.

 

So much for innocent until proven guilty.

 

It’s such an astonishing scam: how is someone supposed to be able to afford to prove his/her innocence after their financial resources have been confiscated?

 

Moreover, it turns out that these agencies are all sharing the wealth among themselves.

 

The US Department of Justice routinely doles out hundreds of millions of dollars of these stolen funds to local police in a corrupt sort of ‘proft sharing’ arrangement.

 

DOJ statistics show that between 2000 and 2013, federal “equitable sharing payments” to state and local law enforcement more than tripled, totaling an incredible $4.7 billion.

 

There are some sickening stories of police departments using this money to buy things like margarita machines, trips to Hawaii, concert tickets, and more.

 

Again, this is money that was stolen from private citizens without a warrant or any due process whatsoever.

 

24-year old Charles Clarke, for example, had $11,000 in physical cash on him when he was traveling through Cincinnati airport.

 

Clarke didn’t have a bank account; he had been saving money for his entire life, including his disabled mother’s VA pension from her time in the military.

 

He ordinarily kept the cash at home but was traveling with it because he and his mother were moving apartments.

 

Local officials at the airport saw the money, and, despite it being perfectly legal to carry physical cash, they thought it was suspicious and confiscated it.

 

His entire life’s savings was stolen by the government in an instant. And he hadn’t done anything wrong or charged with a crime.

 

There are countless more stories like Clarke’s.

 

But it turns out that was all just Phase 1 when Civil Asset Forfeiture was a type of ‘passive’ theft.

 

Law enforcement agencies would seize funds and assets as a target of opportunity, like Clarke’s money at the airport, or a cop who spots a few thousand dollars in cash at a routine traffic stop.

 

These are the normal stories.

 

But now we find out that federal agencies, led by the DEA, are now actively stalking Americans to figure out what they can seize.

 

Like sophisticated thieves who case a jewelry store before robbing it, the DEA has been trolling Americans’ travel records looking for ‘suspicious’ activity.

 

I’m not talking about past travel. I’m talking about upcoming travel.

 

Anytime you book a flight, airlines create a code called a PNR, or Passenger Name Record, with all of your travel details and personal information.

 

And what a surprise-- the federal government has gotten its hands on this data.

 

So now it seems the DEA is combing through PNRs looking for suspicious activity like last minute, one-way tickets.

 

Because apparently only slimy low-lifes who carry treasure troves of illicitly acquired cash buy last minute one-way tickets.

 

This is amazing: you’d think that, with the obvious public backlash against Civil Asset Forfeiture over the past two years that the government would tone down the practice.

 

On the contrary, they’re taking it to the next level.

 

So now instead of passively waiting to steal from citizens as the opportunities arise, they’re actively casing our travel itineraries looking for potential targets.

 

This is truly banana republic stuff.

 

This trend serves as an obvious reminder: when you live in a place with such a corrupt system of justice, does it really make sense to keep 100% of your wealth and life’s savings within their easy reach?

 

The fact is that any court, police department, or government agency can seize your assets in an instant: your cash, car, bank account, business, and even your home.

 

Simon Black

Founder, SovereignMan.com

 

 

 
 
 


Our Government:  Out of Control Gangsters

Do you own a dog? You could face six months in federal prison If you walk it on federal lands on a leash longer than six feet in length.

Do you have a bank account? If you deposit or withdraw more than $10,000 in cash over multiple transactions, you could be imprisoned for up to five years. You could also lose every penny in the account, under the theory it “facilitated” your crime.

Do you have foreign investments? If you neglect to tell Uncle Sam about them, you could face draconian penalties. Forget to file just one form? You could face a $10,000 penalty per account per year.

There’s no requirement that you know any of these crimes exist for you to be found guilty of violating them. After all, “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.”

Given that fact, you might think that Uncle Sam would make it easy to understand exactly what’s legal and what’s not. Think again.

In 1790, the first set of federal criminal laws contained a grand total of 20 crimes. Since then, the number of federal crimes listed has grown like a cancer. No one knows how many federal crimes exist, although a 1998 study from the American Bar Association concluded the total was likely “much higher” than 3,000.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s a little-known and poorly understood process that federal agencies undertake to literally make law. In some cases, if you violate an “administrative law” a federal agency creates out of thin air, you can be imprisoned. Indeed, the number of federal regulations carrying criminal penalties may be as high as 300,000.

And don’t forget about state and local laws. In Arizona, you face 25 years imprisonment for cutting down a cactus. In Mississippi, it is illegal for a male to be sexually aroused in a public place. In Pennsylvania, a woman was arrested for swearing at a clogged toilet.

It’s no wonder the US has the world’s largest prison population. More people rot in local, county, state, and federal prisons in the US than in all other developed countries combined. Over 2.2 million Americans currently live in some type of jail.

Given these facts, you could be forgiven for thinking that Congress might put the brakes on penning new federal criminal law. Unfortunately, that’s not happening. Indeed, the pace of federal “criminalization” is accelerating. A 2008 study concluded that since the start of 2000, Congress created at least 452 new crimes. That’s more than one a week.

Since then, I see no indication that this growth has slowed. For instance, last year, I learned of a new requirement for US persons with certain international investments to report them to the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Until 2014, you needed to file this form only if the BEA “invited” you to do so. But in November 2014, the BEA issued final regulations making it mandatory to file this form – and imposing civil and criminal penalties if you don’t.

When was the last time you received an official notification from the BEA inviting you to file this form? I’ve never received one – I only learned about this requirement when my accountant warned me about it.

Anyone can inadvertently run afoul of America’s far-reaching network of criminal laws. Depositing or withdrawing lawfully-earned funds from your own bank account is hardly what most people would consider a criminal offense. Neither is walking a dog with a seven-foot leash.

Fortunately, America is nearly unique in criminalizing so many offenses. The world prison population rate, based on United Nations estimates, is 144 per 100,000. By comparison, it’s 698 per 100,000 in the US – nearly five times as high. “Getting out of Dodge” can provide some real relief from the American cancer of criminalization.

But if you have any interest in setting up a second home overseas, don’t wait until some inadvertent slipup results in an arrest and possible felony conviction. Once you have a criminal record, you’ll find it much more difficult to acquire legal residence anywhere else.

There couldn’t be a better time than now to begin, while the coast is clear.

Mark Nestmann
Nestmann.com

SIDEBAR:

DEA Targets Innocent Americans—Accessing Their Travel Data and Seizing Cash
Uncle Scam Fleecing its citizens – again, and again and again
https://www.yahoo.com/…/31f2c1d4-…/dea-targets-innocent.html
 
 

Part IV

Absolutely everything you do on the Internet is being tracked and recorded. Everything.

Not only do we know that the NSA wants access to every crevice of your digital footprint, we also know, as a result of a massive leak, a Milan-based company called Hacking Team -- which only offers its services to governments -- sold hacking software to the CIA, FBI, DEA and the U.S. Army.

With this software, the agencies have been able to access virtually anyone’s emails, photos, listen to and record conversations and even control the camera on nearly any device. Moreover, according to the leaks, many agencies also purchased what’s called “Remote Control Systems,” allowing them to take control of the target’s computer screen.

Point blank: Big Brother is here. And he’s been up and at ‘em for a while. Government agencies, alongside the NSA, help track absolutely everything you do on the Internet. Everything.

Earlier in the year, we suggested using The Onion Router (TOR) as one way to anonymize your online presence. Although TOR’s still a valuable tool and will certainly make the snoop’s job more difficult, it isn’t 100% infallible.

TOR works by running traffic through a variety of servers around the world (fellow TOR users) while encrypting the original identification and location of each bit of information.

But, as the FBI discovered this year, there are ways to deanonymize the more careless -- and heinous -- users running information through the TOR servers.

[Sidenote: Keep in mind that the biggest reason the FBI has been targeting TOR so heavily as of late is because it works. But, of course, it’s true that it does have its weaknesses. And understanding those weaknesses is crucial for keeping your private information safe. As always, do your own due diligence.]

But, as we’ve seen, if you’re using privacy tools strictly to do disgusting things online, you’re on your own and, sooner or later, in one way or another, you’ll pay for your dastardly deeds. You’re warned.

In other news, MIT is working on a superior version to TOR called RIFFLE, which will, they claim, have fewer vulnerabilities than the TOR network. So keep your eyes peeled on its developments, too.

The absolute basics of keeping yourself private, of course, should already be covered. You must always 1.) use strong passwords, 2.) use 2FA (2-factor authentication) whenever possible and 3.) don’t click on any links or attachments from sites or people you don’t trust or know.

If you’re already practicing these three things, you’re on your way. Now, you just need to go the extra mile and take a few extra steps to turn your laptop into a digital fortress.

We’re in the process of checking out Globus, an all-in-one browser/Virtual Private Network (VPN) which encrypts all of your data as you go. More on whether or not it passes the privacy litmus test in future episodes.

First, courtesy of ExtremeTech, here are 18 different ways to protect your private information online.

Tor is a vital tool for political dissidents and whistleblowers to anonymously share information, and you can just as easily use it to help protect your privacy.

Without a doubt, the easiest way to get started is by downloading the Tor Browser Bundle. This customized branch of Firefox automatically connects to the Tor network, and includes some of the privacy-enhancing browser extensions discussed later in this post. This package has everything you need to use Tor successfully, but you’ll also need to change your web surfing behavior to retain as much anonymity as possible. You need to make sure to abide by the Tor warnings, and remember that this isn’t a magic bullet for internet privacy.

It still has weaknesses. For more information, we have an entire post dedicated to installing and using Tor.

VPN

If you’re very serious about maintaining your anonymity, consider investing in a VPN solution like TorGuard or Private Internet Access. These services essentially allow you to disguise your traffic. Your real IP address will be hidden from the world, and your traffic will remain indecipherable to nosy ISPs or governments.

Even if your government is actively on the lookout for VPN traffic, you can still benefit from so-called “stealth VPNs.” TorGuard offers its stealth VPN service at no additional cost, and it will make government detection and interference much harder to accomplish. For those of you being held hostage by your government, VPNs are by far the best bet for bypassing censorship and snooping.

DNS leak testing

Even if you’re using a privacy service (like a VPN) to hide your IP address, it’s still possible to give away clues to your identity via your DNS traffic. Thankfully, it’s easy to detect if your configuration is leaking your DNS information. Simply head over to DNSLeakTest.com, and run the extended test.

If the results show the third-party DNS service you’re using (like TorGuard), you’re set. If your ISP’s DNS info shows up, you have a DNS leak. Follow the steps listed on the “How to fix a DNS leak” page, and then test yourself again to make sure everything is working as intended.

Virtual machines

Keep in mind, your browser isn’t the only vector for third parties to invade your privacy. PDFs and other seemingly harmless files can serve as homing beacons, and potentially alert government entities when you’re viewing planted contraband. To prevent any sort of unintended breach of privacy, you should open suspect files inside of a virtual machine.

Load up your favorite Linux distribution inside of VirtualBox, configure it to your liking, and then save a snapshot of your VM. Next, download your desired file (using the protections illuminated in this article), and then shut off your virtual machine’s access to the Internet. Once you’re sure that the VM is cut off completely from the network, you can now open the file safely. Read what you need to read, make notes, and then shut down the virtual machine. Next time you need to view a file inside a VM, you’ll have your snapshot ready to go.

Blocking location data

In recent years, many sites have begun using location data to offer specific services, and serve targeted advertisements. Mapping applications obviously have legitimate reasons for gathering location data, but that same technique can be used to help identify who you are. Any legitimate browser should offer the ability to toggle on and off location data, and I recommend leaving it off completely. At the very least, demand that websites prompt you for access before gathering the data.

That said, IP-based geolocation data is incredibly trivial to acquire, so remain vigilant. If you’re browsing the Web without a proxy or a VPN, you’re effectively broadcasting your IP to every server you come across, and that information can be used against you. It’s not necessarily something you have to worry about constantly, but it’s worth keeping that fact in the back of your mind if you’re criticizing your local dictator or blowing a whistle on the NSA.

Do not track

The “Do not track” HTTP header is an optional message that browsers can send to Web servers. You can easily enable it in your browser’s settings, but it’s rather limited in scope. For this to work at all, the Web server needs to be configured to respect this flag. There is absolutely no requirement of any kind that any website needs to obey this setting, so don’t expect widespread protection from trackers.

Still, you don’t have much to lose. The only potential issue here is that it’s an additional datapoint for browser fingerprinting. But if enough people are using it, that shouldn’t be a real issue.

Plug-in management

Even if your browser is configured properly to hide your identifying information, plug-ins can still be used to endanger your anonymity. If you’re serious about remaining anonymous, you should avoid running plug-ins altogether. Unfortunately, that can leave a number of popular websites completely unusable. To solve this problem, I recommend a hybrid approach.

First of all, you need to configure your browser to require your approval to run any plug-in. Chrome and Firefox offer this functionality by default, and extensions offer this capability in other browsers. Next, you need to make sure you’re running sandboxed plug-ins.

While this is mostly considered a security issue, a rogue plug-in could certainly be used to gather your personal information by an organization like the NSA. Chrome can be configured to completely disallow un-sandboxed plug-ins, but it can be trickier with some other browsers. Windows users can opt to run their browsers inside of an application called Sandboxie, so even less sophisticated browsers can receive similar benefits.

JavaScript blocking

JavaScript is an incredibly powerful language, but it also has the capability of leaking out identifying information. By design, it can deliver detailed information to any Web server about your setup. What plug-ins do you have enabled? What size screen are you using? Those small pieces of information can add up, and make tracking your usage profile easier for advertisers and governments. Worse, unpatched JavaScript exploits could potentially be used to trick your browser into giving up even more identifying information.

If you want to be truly anonymous, you’re going to need to disable JavaScript. Of course, that’s easier said than done. Many websites rely on JavaScript for core functionality, so you’d be effectively knee-capping your Web browser. Thankfully, there is a way to have your cake and eat it too. By using a browser extension like NoScript or scriptno, you can personally manage which domains are given permission to run JavaScript in your browser. This way, you can whitelist domains and webpages that you trust, but you can bypass all of the baggage that comes along with running any ol’ JavaScript that comes along on the web.

Ghostery browser extension

If you’re serious about protecting your privacy, consider installing Ghostery in Firefox, Chrome, Opera, IE, or Safari. This adorable little browser extension allows you to block trackers from all over the web in one place. Better yet, it displays just exactly which tracking services are being used on your favorite websites, and allows you to dynamically enable or disable tracking as you see fit. It’s simple to use, and extremely customizable. If you hate the idea of being spied on by advertisers, this is exactly the extension you’re looking for.

Privacy Badger browser extension

If you’re looking for a “set it and forget it” method of blocking trackers online, try out the EFF’s Privacy Badger add-on. Available for Chrome and Firefox, this browser extension monitors when sites try to track your browsing habits, and automatically thwarts future tracking attempts.

While this add-on is built using the Ad-Block Plus codebase, this isn’t really an ad-blocking tool.

Instead, the EFF is only interested in blocking snoops. Best of all, the list of blocked content automatically improves the more you browse — no need to fiddle with filters by hand.

HTTPS Everywhere browser extension

In spite of the infamous Heartbleed vulnerability, SSL is still your best bet for keeping your Web traffic safe from prying eyes. If you want to keep nosy packet sniffers out of your business, your Web traffic should always be going through SSL connections. Sadly, not every website supports SSL. Even worse, many websites that do support SSL still default to unencrypted connections -- and the Electronic Frontier Foundation wants to change that.

The HTTPS Everywhere browser extension, provided for free by the EFF, forces SSL connections on countless websites. Chrome, Firefox, and Opera users can all take advantage of this wonderful extension, and keep important Web traffic private and secure.

Disable WebRTC

Did you know that your browser can leak some of your network information to any web server that asks for it? If your browser has WebRTC enabled, your internal IP can be accessed by any given website, and it can potentially reveal your real IP address while using a VPN.

If you’re using Firefox, you can go into about:config, and set media.peerconnection.enabled to “false.”

Alternately, you can use this add-on as a simple toggle. If you’re using Chrome (and its derivatives), the situation is more complicated. Installing the WebRTC Block add-on will help hide your real IP address if you’re using a VPN, but it doesn’t work if you’re using a proxy. Sadly, Google simply doesn’t allow the desktop version of Chrome to turn off WebRTC completely.

BetterPrivacy browser extension

Even if you’re blocking traditional cookies, some sites can still track you using LSOs (Local Shared Objects) -- commonly known as “Flash cookies.” If you never use Flash, these won’t be a problem, but that can be incredibly difficult to pull off for some of us.

Of course, you could configure Flash to block all LSOs, but that would break some Flash content. Thankfully, there is a simple plug-in for Firefox called BetterPrivacy that allows you to granularly manage your LSOs just as you would with normal cookies.

Panopticlick

How easy is it for web servers to identify your browser fingerprint? It all depends on how you’ve configured it, really. To see just how unique your fingerprint is, head on over to Panopticlick.

This handy little tool, owned and operated by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, quickly tells you just exactly what your browser is broadcasting to the world. The more information given away, the easier it will be to identify you. And if you want to improve your Panopticlick score, take a moment to read Peter Eckersley’s article on the matter, and adjust your configurations as you see fit.

Use different email accounts

When you sign-up for user accounts across the web, using a different email address for each site is a good way to throw unscrupulous third-parties off of your trail. If you’re merely creating a throwaway account on a whim, consider using disposable email accounts from sites like Mailinator or YopMail.

Anybody can access those inboxes, though, so use discretion.

If you actually want to maintain legitimate accounts on sites like Facebook or Twitter, you can create numerous free email accounts, and then configure email forwarding to funnel all of the messages into a single inbox. It’s a lot of additional work, but it also offers the benefit of being able to easily detect which sites are selling your information to spammers.

Stop Microsoft from storing your WiFi passwords

Windows 10’s WiFi Sense feature tracks your private WiFi passwords, sends them to Microsoft’s servers, and then shares them with your friends when they come to visit. While this could certainly come in handy, it’s potentially a huge security risk if Microsoft’s database is ever compromised. If you want to turn off this functionality, check out this article written by our own Joel Hruska.

Justified paranoia

You might not think you have anything to hide, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy the benefits of online privacy. Some of these recommendations are a real hassle to live with — I’m well aware. It’s a lot easier to shove your fingers in your ears, and pretend like the NSA and your ISP aren’t watching every move you make. But what you browse is your business, and your business alone. Now is the time to stand up for yourself, and take back your privacy.

[Ed. note: This article originally appeared on ExtremeTech’s website right here at this link.]

 


Yours for better living,

Bruce ‘the Poor Man’

 

Parting thought…

If unrest and violence are spiking this dramatically in places like Milwaukee and Chicago now, what are things going to be like when economic conditions start getting really, really bad in this nation?

During the months and years ahead, we are all going to see things that we never thought we would see happen in America.

In a world gone crazy, people are going to need hope, and that is why hope is going to become a larger and larger part of my message.

Hal Lindsey once said that we “can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air…but only for one second without hope.”

 

 


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Additional Resources

The Anatomy of a Breakdown

The Prepper’s Blueprint: The Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Through Any Disaster

Prepper’s Home Defense: Security Strategies to Protect Your Family by Any Means Necessary

Contact! A Tactical Manual for Post Collapse Survival

20 Very Cool Especially Useful DIY Survival Hacks From DIY Ready: Looking for some cool DIY projects that can help you when SHTF? Wants to learn a new skill in the process? These 20 Diy Projects For Survival will have you prepared for anything and then some.


 

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