In her article ‘Good luck citizens, we’re on our own‘ Sally Baxter warned that:
Deep end or shallow, Australia’s data retention laws are a reminder that if you’re going to swim in the publishing pool at least know where the hidden objects lie.
Sally also noted that it wasn’t until the 11th hour that journalists started showing some concern, but predictably, on how the new laws would impact them and them only. “But what about lawyers? What about doctors? For that matter, what about ordinary Australians?”
Well there is none, but there are ways to swim around those hidden objects.
Many AIMN readers have asked ‘how?’, either in the general topic discussion or in letters to The AIMN.
AIMN reader Harquebus has come up with the answer. Some might find it ‘technically challenging’ but at least it’s good to know there is a way.
Over to Harquebus . . .
I would like to share with you just a few things that you can do or use to avoid online surveillance and to access blocked sites. And yes, it’s all legal!
Tails (see below) is something that I have nicknamed, ‘Stick it to George Brandis’.
1) Tails is a live operating system that you can start on almost any computer from a DVD, USB stick, or SD card. It aims at preserving your privacy and anonymity, and helps you as:
- you can use the Internet anonymously and circumvent censorship;
- all connections to the Internet are forced to go through the Tor network;
- it leaves no trace on the computer you are using unless you ask it explicitly;
- uses state-of-the-art cryptographic tools to encrypt your files, emails and instant messaging.
For more information visit tails.boum.org.
2) Change your dns settings either on your computer or router to something other than your ISP’s default.
I use openDNS IP addresses: 220.127.116.11 and 18.104.22.168. There are others. Google also operates a free dns server.
3) Use a proxy server or VPN (Virtual Private Network). I use free proxy servers and find that they work quite well in getting around geoblocks and accessing banned sites. Also good for downloading multiple files in parallel from data lockers.
* * * * *
Data retention was never about combating terrorism anyway, it is all about copyright protection.
It is true what was said to us at Computer Science School. “Those who try to control the internet do not understand it.” — University Lecturer.
People who are worried about governments hacking into their computers (which does happen) may wish to visit the “Resist Surveillance” website, which I have also found very useful).
Note: DNS was the only choice until “Namecoin”. “For the first time, there is a viable alternative” wrote The Telegraph in their article ‘The coming digital anarchy‘. For those interested, here are a few pertinent quotes from the article:
“This crypto-currency is based on Bitcoin, but instead of acting like money it acts like internet addresses. It has claimed the .bit domain as its own and anybody with Namecoin can use it to reserve an address”.
“Bitmessage aims to do the same thing for email. It’s entirely safe, secure and anonymous, with no central point for storage for snooping agencies to target”.
“No treasury can print more Bitcoins and inflate away the value of your savings, or recklessly lend them out for years to people with no chance of meeting repayments, eventually bringing the whole system crashing down. The rules of Bitcoin are set in digital stone”.
“Critics who say Bitcoin is nothing but zeros and ones in a computer file and therefore can’t hold value miss the point that their bank balance is, similarly, nothing but a number on a computer”.
“There is a growing mood that nobody can be trusted with our money or our data”.
For assistance or more information, please contact me (via The AIMN). I am only too willing to help stick it to George Brandis some more.