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  1. mark delmege

    Fair enough, also clear your cookies as often as possible. But really the only privacy you have these days is between your ears. The tweaks above are useful up to a point but/and your puter leaks like a sieve – as does your phone and all other electronic devices. When the ‘serviceS’ are vacuuming up everything you don’t have a chance in hell – and if they really want to target you THE WILL GET YOU whatever you do. Don’t assume Tor or encryption protect you either. There are probably backdoors in every piece of software on your machine anyway.

  2. Annie B

    @ Rob Marsh ….

    Thank you so very much for all this information. …. I had a little go at Google, ( they are associated with the Android Smartphone ) … on another post – that being – ” Metadata retention laws: eroding democracy, increasing risk, and otherwise pointless ” … which I have no doubt you have seen and read.

    But my post was no where near as comprehensive as this is. …. good onya and thanks.

    I use Google Chrome, it suits me to do so, but have previously disabled and unticked / ticked most of what you have mentioned above, except for “Do not track” which I have now done. However, Google alleges there, that ‘some sites’ will not respond to this. I think that is a small problem – as many sites will ‘sneak’ in with the new ads. that are designed to avoid the issue of the old ‘pop-up blocker’ … ( an IE initiative ), no matter which browser one uses.

    I have tried several of them …… some reasonable – ( Opera – very complicated, Mozilla Firefox – er – no ) …. and IE is most often a disaster !! although they have added many safety features.

    Good post this – and I hope a lot of people take note of it all.


    @ Mark – I clear my cookies – the whole box and dice every time I exit on-line. … But you are right – there are back-doors to just about everything – which is precisely what gives me the irrits about computerisation. …. Gawd – even my LG Smart TV is loaded with potential baddies. I have NOT and will not – activate that to my Wifi.

    However, what Rob has posted is good advice, and a start to somehow stop some of this rubbish happening.

  3. John Driggers

    Following these steps will not do much to protect you from metadata surveillance without the use of a VPN.

  4. CMMC

    Its a steep learning curve but you need to get geeky here.

    Use a Hosts file to block adservers tracking you, Windows, Android, Linux

    Android phones need to be ‘Rooted’ to change system files, get Towelroot, install SuperSu and Busybox.

    Use a Firewall, preferably with Linux IP Tables. Windows, Android

    Don’t use Apple products.

    [EDIT] Hi CMMC, Rob here, can you expand on the above points? Thanks mate 🙂

  5. CMMC

    BTW, Radio Shack has gone bankrupt. You may remember the little electronic gadget stores in the ’70s.

    They were infamous for asking you to write down your address and phone number, even if you just bought a battery.

    That huge database is being stalked by Big Market Research, even though Radio Shack always promised that your information would not be shared.

    New York Attorney General is trying to stop the sale of the data.

  6. James Harris

    I’d recommend using a VPN service as far up in your network as possible.

    I’ve setup a Windows Server box with a VPN ( always running and all Internet access MUST go through it.

    Also great for appearing from different countries, plus no logs on their end.

    [EDIT] Hi James, Rob here, can you expand on the above in some more detail? Thanks 🙂

  7. James Fitzgerald

    Are applications such as “Ghostery” of any real use?

  8. CMMC

    Stay away from Ghostery, it is made by Evidon, an online marketing corporation.

    Stay away from all gimmicky things that promise to ensure your privacy, they are most likely to be malware of some kind.

  9. Joseph Tomas

    I have never used Chrome. I use Firefox and VPN ixquick through Netherlands

  10. Rob Marsh

    CMMC, I’ve found Ghostery to be useful if you disable the option in setup that allows the app to collect and distribute your information, do you know if this is legitimate or merely cosmetic?

    [EDIT] To address the comments around the usefulness of this information, please do not take my word as gospel on any of this information, I’m an amateur when it comes to online privacy and this information was gathered from reading sites such as PRISMbreak. Please research these options in depth, and if you find anything that would nullify the effectiveness of any of the apps I’ve listed, I’ll add it to the post.

    By pooling our knowledge on the subject we can establish something of real worth to those interested in excercising their right to privacy in Australia. Thankyou.

  11. Harquebus

    Use a DNS server other than your ISP’s.

    Network settings -> Connections -> Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) -> properties.
    Change preferred and alternate DNS.

    IP addresses for opendns name server.

    There are others as well.

  12. mark delmege

    You might get away with an anonymous login with a use once only device in a wifi hot zone. If you are careful.

  13. townsvilleblog

    Privacy has been dead for 40 years, no body has any these days

  14. Johnnydadda

    Discussion around this subject in Europe argue that 6 months retention should be the maximum. The reason for the two years is for the possibility of a compromise to the https hash allowing spies to backward decript URLs of pages visited over that period.

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation is a good place the get https everywhere if you mistrust Google.

    For the really paranoid, pre 2008 computers are not known to have backdoors built into the hardware.

  15. Roswell

    Thanks for this. By the way, why Google Chrome?

    [EDIT] Hi, this is Rob, the computer I’m using for some reason formatted the page so an ad was sitting on top of the comment box.

    Roswell, in answer to your question, it’s what I’ve been using this year and it’s what the majority of people I know use, just trying to cover a broader range of people. Ideally you should use a more secure browser, but as most people don’t I figured I’d just address the most popular one. 🙂

  16. David

    I suggest Firefox as preferred search engine, they have a easy opt out for data collection. I have been using Ghostery for years and as suggested earlier, disable the collect and distribute in preferences, is very easy

  17. stephentardrew

    Quite frankly I don’t give a shit any more because this lot do not scare me. Fear is our nemesis and if we think we can subvert the multi-billion dollar investment in controlling information we are kidding ourselves. We need to be fearless and face up to this draconian invasion of privacy. Too many back doors and too much collection of meta-data. They may frighten the sheeple but by hell they do not frighten me one iota. In fact it will just make me all the more belligerent. It’s those who don’t fear them that are going to change the paradigm so lets not go into hiding. It’s time to stand up and voice our opinions loud and clear. Fair enough do what you can to protect yourselves but be under no illusion the way things are going there will be very little we can hide. Flood them with left wing progressive over the top socialist hyperbola and see who has more to fear.

    I don’t give a damn if they invade my privacy because they are just a bunch of undemocratic spivs doing the dirty work for of the one percent. Gandhi would not have turned and walked away and neither should we.

    I am fed up with these bastards as we watch the planet bleed while the marginalised and poor go to hell in a hand basket just to feed the coffers of the absurdly opulent.

    Just remember in time we will be proven right and then it will it be time to take the helm.

  18. Peter Gibson

    Don’t use the Tor browser on your computer system. Use Tails . This is a Linux distro using Tor that runs from a cd/dvd, and ensures that there are no leaks or tracking from your computer. Also, nothing (backdoors, trojans, etc) can be saved or installed on the disk. For extra security, you can use a vpn with Tails. If your computer is forensically analysed at a later stage, there will be nothing to show. You could also use Tails at an Internet cafe, but be aware of security cameras. Make sure you use the latest version of Tails, as it is continually being upgraded to cover new risks.

  19. Rob Marsh

    “We need to be fearless and face up to this draconian invasion of privacy.”

    That’s exactly what I’m advocating. The only thing we have to fear is self-censorship. We still have the freedoms of speech, association, religion and movement. We need to make a statement that we count these rights as fundamental, and we can do so by exercising them to the fullest extent.

    Ed Snowden, who probably knows more about this subject than just about anyone on earth, recommends that everyone become sophisticated in protecting their privacy at home, and I have to agree with him. By learning to anonymise and encrypt our online behaviour, we are effectively undermining dragnet surveillance, and the more people that get on board with this, the less economically viable the project becomes.

    “Just remember in time we will be proven right and then it will it be time to take the helm.”

    By the time we’re proven right, I hope there’ll be no helm to take. The lesser the ability that any individual has to “take the helm”, the freer we’ll all be.

    Thanks for your input my friend 🙂

  20. maggiesummers

    Still looking for a good VPN – tried a couple for free and didn’t think much of them. Can’t remember now who I tried. For Chrome Extensions tried Spotflux Lite but it was a waste of time – too many glitches. I’ve looked through the free VPN’s but there’s always a big compromise so will probably have to pay for a VPN service that will adequately protect my interests.

    I don’t have anything to hide but I object strenuously to having my privacy invaded without my consent or permission. This is the most diabolical bill and amounts to an obliteration of our basic rights. I am furious that the lacklustre excuse for a Labor Party allowed this bill through the Senate. Appalled.

  21. Peter Gibson

    @maggiesummers – Try EarthVPN US$3.99 month. Based in Cyprus.

  22. Bill Morris

    Very well put stephentardrew, If they invade my privacy all they are going to see is the truth, and me, with all my flaws. Seems to me that this is what most people are scared of, or what they are ashamed of, forget it, this is about seriously dangerous people, like Adrian Bayley, and illegal activity.

  23. Michael Taylor

    It has now passed the Senate. Must say I’m extremely disappointed.

  24. stephentardrew

    Michael you are the master of understatement.

  25. Rob Marsh

    Hi all, can I get some recommendations for free and low cost VPNs? There’s been an overwhelming response to the effect that using a VPN is the best method to achieve good privacy and I’d like to cover it here 🙂

  26. Annie B

    While there is much great info. here – to blow the mind of this mini-techie geek ( VERY mini ) …. I also have to agree totally with stephentardrew, Rob Marsh and Bill Morris … and their observations.

    I said similar myself, on another post here – ( “At the Mercy of the State” ) …. but not quite as forcefully as stephen..

    That was ::

    ” Considering the fact that tracking of all kinds has been
    going on for a long time, I tend to believe the ‘release’ of all
    this ‘important’ information by the mob that rule at this time,
    was ( now adding – “is” ) intended largely to dumb-down further,
    the Australians who are indeed afraid and to try and make
    more people buckle.”

    For us to be afraid is precisely what the powers that be, want. …. Let’s not give them that satisfaction.

    Meantime, we should all do as much as we can to protect ourselves from intrusion into our private lives, no matter what device we have in our homes ( and there’s loads of computerisation these days – as we all know ). When first we had any computer product, all were advised to instal a good Anti-Virus programme. ….. that was then, this is now. …. But the same rules apply.

    And to have this form of threat delivered by a Government, to all peoples of this country, is utterly appalling, beyond comprehension, and downright bad – in the worst way that ‘bad’ is.

    Technology has gone to crazy lengths, and there seems no end to it. …. Maybe it will all implode one day, disappear into its’ own self-made vortex – and we will be back scrambling to make laborious written statements about everything that happens ? if anyone in the next 20 years knows how to write properly, that is ? ……..

    But I doubt that would be. …. Technology is here to stay, and we have to be very wary of it all. …… On the alert – for sure, but at the same time, unafraid.

  27. James Harris

    Hi Rob,

    Well, a VPN service basically provides a secure connection to another location. A good VPN service can’t be intercepted due to the technologies involved, and there are several options for no logs, no info VPN’s.

    A few examples include: – Using myself and works great thus far, no slow downs while using AU location – Good reviews thus far – IT mate using this one hasn’t had any issues

    Now, some more details.

    The above options all provide no logging/tracking, and will actively try to stop law enforcement from trying to get any logs (which don’t exist).

    Most VPN providers have a downloadable client which you download, which is quite easy to use. Just log in, select where in the world you wish to appear from, them BAM! un-monitored internet.

    The other main benefit is that you appear from a random pool of IP addresses NOT related t your ISP when you visit websites, making it harder to track who you are.

    Being an IT technician myself, I’ve taken the VPN thing to cover all Internet in the house (protecting all devices) but having it for yourself on a single PC works just as well.

    Hope this helps people.

  28. mark delmege

    Time for a Dieudonné salute up to the armpits for Tony and Bill

  29. CommonA

    I would like to point out that a lot of people have already been using VPNs (mainly to watch US-only TV shows over the net… than to protect privacy… technology at it’s finest)… but if Telco/ISP logs are kept, it should be possible to figure out who was connected to which VPN service at any point in time (they are just packets over the network like any other traffic), perhaps even match that to the outbound traffic from the VPN provider?… the contents of the messages may or may not be able to be decrypted, but I have a feeling that is not the point…. ie Citizen-A was connected to VPN-B which was then used to do X on Server-C, they should be able to join those dots… they have their person of interest now, VPN-logs or not… it is a public network after-all.

    Moral of the story, just don’t do anything you don’t want to be questioned over.

  30. diannaart

    Why did Labor let this further tightening up of public surveillance go through? I get why authoritarians like Abbott & Co would – but Labor?

    I guess this means Labor is not moving back to its heartland anytime soon.

  31. maggiesummers

    Am now trialling CyberGhost5 – free version. So far so good – bit slow and laggy at times but otherwise I’m thinking it could be worth an upgrade in the near future.

  32. Harquebus

    I wouldn’t be surprised if some of these VPN’s turned out to be honeypots. Why spy when you can get them to just hand over everything and also, get them to pay for it.

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