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View Diary: Action diary: "All your informations are belong to us." (23 comments)

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  •  In writing this... (22+ / 0-)

    I'm sure that I missed some obvious, easy tactics or online resources that can improve the distance between online personae and real world identities.  Please chime in with other suggestions that are easily implemented.

    We're resigned to our collective fate because we've been conditioned to believe that this is as good as it gets.

    by Richard Cranium on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 07:28:24 AM PDT

    •  Some ideas: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      oortdust, sockpuppet

      1. Proxies
      2. TOR
      3. Start Startpage-ing rather than Google-ing.

      Tell Congress: DON'T BREAK THE INTERNET! Learn about the OPEN Act.

      by Brown Thrasher on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 10:41:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Keep your physical address out of public records. (4+ / 0-)

      The one thing that's more dangerous than baddies having your personal info via cyberspace, is for them to know where you keep your soft squishy body, particularly when you go on your nightly voyage to dreamland.  

      If you ever end up with a stalker, or for that matter if your local burglars and home invasion robbers like to phone ahead before "going to work," you'll discover how fast life can become hell if your name is linked to your physical address.

      Post Office boxes don't help because they require physical address disclosure which is then a public record open for anyone to view.

      What you need is a "private mailbox," and then an out of date or fictitious physical address for their records.  Look up "private mailboxes" or "mail receiving services" in your local yellow pages.  They will not give out your address except under legal process, and if the address you provided is out of date, even that won't help the Spanish Inquisition find you.

      Once you have a private mailbox, use that as your legal address for all purposes including your driver's license and other ID.  Your address will look like this:

      John Doe
      1234 Main Street #56
      Anytown, State, 98765

      Note the use of the "#" in that address.  You can't say "apartment" or "suite," but you can use the "#," which people will interpret as an apartment number.  (For which reason it's nice to get a lower number.)

      For voter registration, check with your local Democratic Party office.  

      For your landline, delete your physical address from your telco white pages listing.  Unlike having an unlisted number, this costs nothing.  All it should say is your name and telephone number.   From the phone number, a stalker or other baddie can figure out which town you are in, but that's all.  

      For your cellphone, beware the location tracking "services", since those can be queried remotely, giving your stalker a constant update on you, everywhere you go.  Turn off GPS and "location services" and make damn sure they are really turned off.  

      For your email, using your telco or other broadband provider, if they are a regulated local exchange carrier, is safer than using Google's vast surveillance machine.

      None of the above will keep away the Spanish Inquisition, but will keep away criminals intent on victimizing you, ex sweeties who turned bitter, and other nasties and morons who might like to make your life miserable.  

      "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

      by G2geek on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 10:44:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Private Mailboxes RED FLAG! (0+ / 0-)

        Your advice to get a PMB as part of a "protecting you privacy" plan is a good suggestion.

        However:   It appears that the USPS was increasingly losing p.o. box-rental revenue to PMB's.  So they instituted a draconian form that PMB companies have to keep on each of their PMB box-renter/subscribers.  

        http://faq.usps.com/...[c_usps0729]

        This form requires that a PMBC get more information about its customers than the USPS ever requires to rent a P.O. box from the P.O.   Note at the above link that two forms of identification are required to rent a PMB, and one of has to be, of course, a driver's license or government-issued picture ID.   The second one is equally draconian.  A passport ID or similar??!!  

        Worse, the PMBC is required to keep this information on file, available for inspection by the USPS, at all times.   What kind of security do you think most of these mom-and-pop postal centers and UPS Stores have to protect this very valuable identity-theft-rich information about their customers?   It's a form.  Filled out and signed by each customer, and in some cases, actually notarized.

        Also, if the private postal center goes out of business, they are required to keep this information on this form for at least two years after closing the business, or worse, selling it to induhviduals unknown to each customer.    What control do we have over the privacy of our information in this scenario?  None.

        And it appears that the USPS knows how draconian and unreliable and inequitable this invasive treatment of PMB customers is, as opposed to the process of renting a regular USPS P.O. Box.   This is allegedly why they instituted this scurrilous regulation on private mailbox centers, knowing that people who use these services are not going to want to give over this kind of data about themselves.  

        The USPS further declares on the form that if one refuses to submit, then the PMB service store will be under scrutiny.   Also, that the USPS will not deliver any of the USPS mail to the PMB, absent this signed form.    It doesn't make sense, since the USPS doesn't require this kind of draconian info to deliver mail to a P.O. Box.  So their argument that they are helping with "security" of the mail and preventing "criminal activity" with PMB's is specious on its face.

        What can be done about this egregious extension of USPS intrusion into our private lives through PMB interference and snooping?   Not much.  

        I suggest trying this:  only give your driver's license as an ID.  (But your license no. is recorded, so there's possibility for ID theft, right there.)   Make sure your driver's license only has a USPS P.O. Box on it for your address.  (Ours does, although the DMV has our actual physical address on file.)  

        Only use the PMB as a physical delivery address.  Have all mail sent to the P.O. Box.   That way the USPS can't say that they have any jurisdiction over your use of the PMB, since you are not using their service to deliver mail to the PMB.   Only give the PMB address as your physical address, where ever an address is required, but be aware, more local .gov's are getting hip to which addresses are PMB's.

        It's impossible to become invisible in today's world, unless you go completely non-digital, move, and don't ever pay any way but by cash.   Even then, it's still nearly impossible to erase yourself.  (We had the damn "American Community Survey" (under the Census Dept.) come after us when they had a blank at our address on our street.  They had to know who lives here.   When we answered with the P.O. Box, they had the USPS threaten us with no-service if we didn't give our actual current address.  Damn them.)

        So...just be aware of the downsides now of using PMB's.   Try never to give valuable ID info to these little strip-mall shops, as part of the USPS intrusive reach.   Your data is not safe.

        •  more difficult but not impossible. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sockpuppet

          It has become more difficult, but it's not impossible.

          For example one can create a "roommate" or two at a PMB and very often these will fly under the radar.

          You can become someone else's "roommate" at a PMB the same way.

          If you use a Post Office box, your physical address will be in a record that is available for ANYONE to view on request: and stalkers WILL do it.  

          I've got slightly special circumstances, having helped send a violent felon (a stalker, how'd you guess?:-) to prison years ago and gotten a court order to confidentialize my address information.  Helping catch baddies is always a good thing and it turns out to have "fringe benefits."  

          Never lie to the police.  My PMB is on my driver's license.  When I've gotten stopped by the police:

          Officer: "Is this where you live?"
          Me: "No sir, I helped send (name of perp) to prison for (charge convicted of) and got my address confidentialized under court order.  I hope you'll keep this out of any public record for my own safety, but I live at (physical address)."
          Officer:  "You're OK." (or words to that effect).

          For me (YMMV), it's not government that I'm worried about, it's criminals and also the rising tide of private information collectors out there.  

          If someone is a political dissident and living in a place where local government is sufficiently corrupt that extralegal/illegal retaliation is likely, there's nothing short of US Marshals that can protect them from that, so they should probably move to a safe jurisdiction.  

          Unfortunately there is not a simple "algorithm" for protecting physical address privacy, and many of the details of methods are best left unpublished but can be figured out by someone who wants to give it some thought.  

          "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

          by G2geek on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 05:47:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The USPS is a private corporation now (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            G2geek

            It's not "government", so I wanna know how in hell they get away with making these edicts and proclamations about how and where else we can receive our mail, than what they can track us to.

            I'm not concerned so much about the .gov having my personal info, either.   It's the amount of info required to be kept onhand by the PMBS mom and pop strip-mall store.    

            I understand about the stalking.  Been there, too.  Previous hazardous law-enforcement duty, myself.

            •  USPS is a regulated monopoly.... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              sockpuppet

              ... like the telcos back in the days of Ma Bell.  So certain rules about it can be operationalized as laws or as power to regulate, just as Ma Bell used to have rules about not connecting your own extension phones.

              The PMBS moms & pops are often very much aware of the issues around protecting privacy.  They have a trade association with newsletters, so you could even write an article for that newsletter and help educate PMB store owners.  Since you were in LE, you have that whole background to draw upon.

              Speaking of which, one of the things I found after I got my address confidentialized and started using a PMB, was that I was more likely to get involved and help catch baddies.

              After the stalker case, and my PMB, I helped catch a strong-arm robber (by finding him in a BART (subway) station), and a burglar (by hearing him break into an adjacent office after hours).

              The way I thought of it, they can't find out where I live so it's safe to go looking for the suspect or make the phone call.

              That was majorly empowering.  And I'll bet a lot more people would get involved if they knew they were safe from retaliation.  

              Then a few years ago I got involved in a volunteer effort against extremist groups with violent activities, and started doing OSI and writing FIE reports that got channeled to FBI.  The feedback I got was that the info was highly useful, and one of the cases ended up before a federal grand jury  And the baddies will never find out where I live.  

              The way I figure it, anyone who doesn't have a criminal record (plus or minus victimless misdemeanors, maybe after five years of no further incidents) should be eligible to get their address confidentialized by default.  For example you file a document with the local PD that lists your physical address (in case of emergencies or arrest warrants), and your PMB or Post Office Box (with new regs to prevent USPS releasing the info to the general public), and then your mailbox becomes your legal address including for voting.

              That plus ubiquitous camera-phones, would make neighborhood watch more effective, with no more cowboys and no more dead teenagers.

              Needless to say I'm interested in hearing more about what sort of hazardous duty LE you were involved in, but if you can't tell, I'm not asking.  

              "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

              by G2geek on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 09:10:41 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  That's a lot of good info, G2g (0+ / 0-)

                Thanks!  

                Very interesting reading about all the public services you do, under cover, so to speak.   Inspiring!

                My LE has to do with a sheriff's office.  Can't say where or what the duty was.   Maybe we'll chat sometime in 3/D. ;)

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