Keeping Your Data Safe From the NSA

After another week of seemingly never ending revelations about government snooping into our phone calls and Web activities—you guys in Europe can stop snickering; you aren't immune either—many of us are wondering how we can regain a modicum of privacy. Realistically, if the NSA, GCHQ, or your particular country's alphabet agency decide you are of interest for some reason there is probably little you can do. But if you're an “ordinary” citizen, there may be some hope.

Why care? After all, “you have nothing to hide.” Of course, Irreal readers surely know better than that. In the U.S., particularly, everyone is a criminal with something to hide as Alex Tabarrok explains. Again, those of you in Europe have reason for concern too as Corrie Doctorow demonstrates in his recent Guardian article. On the downside, taking steps to protect yourself might make you pop up on some spook's radar. On the other hand, if large numbers of us start encrypting everything maybe we can overload their systems. It will certainly be more effective than 【Meta+xspook.

So what can you do? MSN Money has a helpful article on how to secure your communications. The article covers your phone, credit cards, Dropbox, social network, and Web browsing. You probably shouldn't consider it the last word on these matters but it does serve as a good starting point with suggestions for apps to help you claw back some privacy.

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