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Personal Electronic & Digital Privacy in our modern Age:
Knowledge and Empowerment.


Some governments, corporations and people casually attempt to undermine
our rights by trying to prohibit us the right of anonymity under pretense of
the most social engineered sentence of our modern society:

"If you have nothing to hide, surveillance won't bother you."
 

One may argue that surveillance devices and cameras are ubiquitous and widespread, they track our credit cards, our mobile devices and all of that...How can you expect privacy in this "Brave New World" that we live in?

The answer is: You Can't; but that doesn't mean that you need to carry around a device that is designed with security flaws that allow the NSA and other entities to use it as a surveillance device against you, at your own expense. Right now: you have the option to pay cash, to leave your cell phone and mobile device at home, and go someplace where there are no surveillance cameras.

The point here is:

 Don't contribute to "Big Brother" AKA The Surveillance State, by using your own money to purchase and use a device that is poorly designed when it comes to personal privacy. The NSA and other agencies will still track you passively, so far and as deep as their budget and infrastructure allows them. "The Surveillance State" can not afford to put microphones and cameras everywhere you go; but they can quite easily, and quite inexpensively spy on you, and all the people around you through the "shiny, happy, little devices" that you voluntarily carry nearly everywhere with you, almost every single day of your adult life. Your cell phone has "Big Brother" on the "other end" 24-7-365 don't ever forget that!



Tesla Motor vehicles: The top upcoming threat to electronic privacy due to built in,
 non-removable, always on, wireless internet connectivity.


Tesla Motor vehicles: The top upcoming threat to electronic privacy due to built in, non-removable, always on, wireless internet connectivity.

All of Tesla's vehicles contain an always on internet connection that can not be physically removed from the vehicle.
 Sources close to Tesla claim this permanent internet connectivity: which allows for real-time, detailed surveillance
 of the vehicle, is for driver safety, and to ensure that the vehicle is functioning properly at all times.
We see this as
the #1 upcoming threat to privacy in the 21st. century.


As one can expect; other auto manufacturers will eventually follow Tesla's lead and there will come a day soon when
 purchasing a vehicle without built in internet connectivity will be impossible. Don't expect the United States Government
to enact legislation anytime soon to prevent this. Instead, vote with your wallet and purchase vehicles and other electronic
devices that are designed in a manner consistent with individual safety and privacy.


Don't just accept the loss of your privacy to the invasive devices being built into vehicles by
manufacturers.  Many times, manufacturers are just following perceived consumer trends like the
perception that consumers desire the latest gadgets sacrificing privacy for "new toys". Other times they build these
 unwanted gadgets into their vehicles, because their competitors are doing it; and they don't want to be left behind

You can change this trend if you voice your concerns when purchasing a new car.

 Pictures detailing removal of Vehicle Bluetooth® components by new car dealer at customer's request.

Bluetooth Components removed by Honda Dealer for Free! At request of customer, for privacy reasons.

Bluetooth components removed free by dealer at request of customer for privacy reasons

An acquaintance of ours (we wish to respect their privacy so we will refer to them here as "Pat") was recently shopping for a new car. Pat wanted to do something that was environmentally responsible and purchase an Electric car. There has been a lot of Hype regarding Tesla's new cars; so Pat decided to start the shopping there.

Pat recently heard that Tesla motors was building a non-removable internet connection into their new vehicles. apparently they are making it appear to the general public that the built in, non-removable, always on internet connection is for "safety" so that the vehicles' systems can be monitored in real time to ensure their safe functioning. We don't buy it, and we don't think you should buy it either. (figuratively or literally).

While its true that you can't do much about the NSA surveillance or malicious hackers while using internet connected devices, you can lower your exposure by employing common sense, and purchasing products that are well designed from a security standpoint.

A device that has non removable internet connectivity, does not reduce your exposure, it obviously increases it and should be avoided at all costs.

We had several lengthy online discussions in various online venues:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/08/27/1234150/-Open-Letters-to-Tesla-Motors-Senator-Ted-Cruz#

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/08/29/1234728/-Elon-Musk-and-Tesla-Motors-the-new-Tech-Messiah

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/08/25/1233815/-Why-Tesla-Is-Not-Enough

http://www.forbes.com/sites/netapp/2013/08/27/tesla-motors-stock-zooms/?utm_source=alertscalledoutcomment&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20130828

and lastly one on Tesla's online web forum:

http://www.teslamotors.com/forum/forums/tesla-safety-concerns-hacking-lack-privacy-due-internet-connectivity-open-letters

Where we discussed this issue with some individuals who appeared to have a very high level of knowledge about Tesla motors products and design. We suspect some of these individuals were employees of Tesla, but due to the nature of online conversation; there is no easy way for us (lacking the NSA's capabilities) to prove it.

These individuals on Tesla's web forum convinced Pat to look elsewhere for a new car, mostly ridiculing Pat's concerns about the built in, always on internet connection in Tesla vehicles. So look for another vehicle manufacturer is exactly what Pat did.

After some more searching on the web, Pat discovered that Honda has several alternative energy vehicles.

http://automobiles.honda.com/alternative-fuel-vehicles/

Honda is an established automobile manufacturer, with an enormous amount of experience in building and servicing automobiles.

Pat had previously owned a Honda, had no problems with it after several years of ownership, and therefore decided to purchase another one, and ignored all of the recent hype over Tesla motors.

The only problem was that the Honda that Pat wanted to buy, had a built in Bluetooth® connection; while this is not as bad as having a built in internet connection; it still bothered Pat, because of the built in microphone capable of recording a whisper and the ability to transmit that whisper via a short range digital radio signal at 2.4 to 2.485 GHz (which by the way; is higher than the radio frequency used in a Microwave Oven).

Reluctantly, Pat finally went to the local Honda dealership to get an "in person" look at the vehicles that Honda offers; not expecting to purchase a vehicle that same day, but still open to the idea.

Pat expressed these concerns with the very helpful Honda sales staff, who said that removing the Bluetooth® module and microphone from any Honda vehicle Pat intended to purchase was not a problem, and in fact their Honda Service Department had done so before for other customers. Furthermore, the Honda dealership would remove the Bluetooth® module and microphone for Free!! This work order also specified that Pat could witness its removal.

Still skeptical; Pat, BEFORE signing any financing & sales contracts, insisted on signing a work order contract for the free removal of the Bluetooth® module and microphone. The Honda dealership performed this service promptly after the vehicle was purchased, even allowed Pat's friend to witness (but not video tape) the removal of the Bluetooth® module and microphone. The whole removal process took one Honda technician about 1 hour to perform with basic, non specialized hand tools such as screwdrivers, open end wrenches, and socket wrench.

We applaud Honda Motor Corporation for the respect for their customers' privacy, the attention to detail exhibited by their sales and service staff, and the superior quality and reliability of their automobiles. (bow)
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Here is an interesting article from the New York Times that explains how the NSA pressures U.S. based companies into sharing their encryption keys, and building "back doors" into computer hardware and software. This makes us wonder if Tesla Motors and it's CEO Elon Musk have been asked by the NSA to cooperate with these surveillance programs. It's certainly plausible, considering the other documented cases reported by U.S. based technology companies:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/06/us/nsa-foils-much-internet-encryption.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

More interesting info: Read the NSA's guidelines for it's own employees' use of Bluetooth® devices


Director of National Intelligence, James R. Clapper Says There Are Positives Coming Out of Snowden Case

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2/4/2014 Update:

More evidence that massive NSA surveillance programs targeting innocent citizens does very little for national security:

Spy Caught En Route to Iran with Highly Classified U.S. Military Documents

This was obviously a guy who SHOULD have been under NSA surveillance, but apparently the NSA was too
busy collecting info on Millions of us; Innocent American Citizens.

How did this guy get a Security Clearance?....dumb-asses!

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Bluetooth® already used for passive tracking and surveillance on U.S. roads without notifying the general public.


Its not just cars and phones that are making privacy an "Endangered Species", now it's wearable devices: http://stopthecyborgs.org/

It's pretty obvious that: Social Media has become an intelligence gathering tool, especially after Facebook's former security head Max Kelly, goes on to get a job with the NSA

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1/15/2014 Update to Tesla Privacy & Safety Concerns:

http://www.technologyreview.com/view/523621/tesla-motors-over-the-air-repairs-are-the-way-forward/

This recent news about Tesla Motors applying an "Over-the-Air" software fix, further proves our point about Tesla vehicles being potentially susceptible to malicious internet borne hacking.

Whatever encryption that Tesla claims "protects" it's vehicles from malicious hacking via the internet, does not diminish the facts here:

If the Tesla Vehicle can be prevented from operating in a dangerous or life threatening manner by the mere application of an online "software upgrade", then it is logically confirmed: The vehicle is vulnerable to being made to operate in a dangerous or life threatening manner by the mere application of internet borne malicious code (a computer virus downloaded from the internet).

It should be abundantly clear to any intelligent person: It is not a question of "IF" Telsa vehicles can be hacked, it is only a question of "WHEN".

Please note Mr. Musk: We are not against electric cars, or viable alternative energy. We are against your vehicles because of their built in internet connection that can not be removed or shut off. If you want to change something for the better, and improve the lives of us "common folk": devote a few million dollars to researching, developing, and deploying a Hydrogen / Electric Hybrid energy storage system for automobiles. With the intention of eliminating our dependence on "Big Oil" and other centralized, corporate dominated means of energy production. Oh... and leave out the internet connection in all your vehicles... Peace, Bro!






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Interesting story about: computer hackers able to gain control over modern vehicles, especially those with internet connectivity and automatic parallel parking


See a trend here? The more automated and computerized we make any device, the more vulnerable to hacking and surveillance it becomes.

We as consumers of these digital products need to think long and hard about the privacy and safety implications of owning all these shiny new gadgets. We need to balance our enthusiasm for new technology with pragmatism. We need to ask ourselves: Is this new feature or technology worth sacrificing my safety and privacy? How can this new feature be used against me by computer hackers, or by my government in the future?

We are not saying, nor do we believe that the government is building a surveillance state, but the more we as consumers embrace this intrusive technology that continues to whittle away at our privacy, the easier it will be to construct a surveillance state, should our government have that ultimate intention.

In this regard we should borrow an old axiom from the intelligence community used to evaluate threats:
"Intentions mean nothing, capabilities mean everything"

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Be responsible with with your stuff, remember where the heck you put your keys, and you will never need this tiny, but powerful Orwellian Threat to your privacy: the "Tile"

We rank the "Tile" as the #2 upcoming threat to personal privacy (Our #1 ranking for upcoming threat to personal privacy is: Non removable internet connections in an automobile like the Tesla)

Tile - a new passive surveillance device that can allow NSA tracking via other people's cell phones

Tile App, Now you don't even need to carry a mobile phone for the NSA to track your movements. Tile uses an always-on Bluetooth® transmitter that communicates to any nearby Bluetooth® enabled device.

The Tile device with sealed, self contained battery is specifically designed to use nearby cell phones and mobile devices as a radio repeaters to get this thing's location transmitted to the network and subsequently into NSA's data stream, and it has no on/off switch. Pretty small and easy to sew into a backpack or jacket, or simply drop into a pocket, or attach to the undercarriage of a car with double sided tape.


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     Satellite Navigation Systems (Global Positioning System) - GPS:  its not as bad as you think when it it comes to privacy.


GPS devices by themselves do NOT constitute a real Time threat to your privacy, because GPS technology only involves one way communication from the GPS satellites to your GPS unit. Your GPS unit as a stand alone device is only a receiver, it CAN NOT; by it's self transmit your location, direction and speed of travel. Do keep in mind though: these GPS devices keep DETAILED FILES of your whereabouts, direction of travel and speed of travel, all of it; time stamped for easy tracking.

We like the Garmin Nuvi® 52, it is a fine GPS receiver unit, easy to use, works well, and most importantly does NOT have Bluetooth® built into it.


Garmin Nuvi® 52 - FrontGarmin Nuvi® 52 Back

https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/on-the-road/automotive/new-2013/nuvi-52/prod120975.html

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     Here is where the Real Privacy Threat is regarding GPS (Sat Nav):


Although GPS technology by itself, (not built into your car or mobile device)but merely as a stand alone unit such as a Garmin Nuvi® is pretty safe regarding privacy. However, do not buy a Garmin or any other brand of GPS unit that has Bluetooth® or FM transmitter, or any other wireless transmission protocol. The danger in having a Garmin or other GPS device with Bluetooth® or other transmitter built in is: now with a transmitter, this device is capable of being accessed remotely, thus both malicious hacking and real time surveillance now become possible.

Another very important issue regarding Garmin GPS: Map updates, You must connect your Garmin via as USB cable to an internet connected computer in order download and install new map updates to your device.
In doing so, your Garmin can now be accessed by the NSA while it is connected to your computer and the internet. The process of downloading the new maps, takes nearly an hour, even with the fastest internet connection; so it's safe to assume that during this file transfer, the NSA is able to get copies of all your travel information.

We recently (September, 2013) contacted Garmin and asked them if there was a way to download and install the map updates without connecting our Garmin to the internet via a USB cable to our computer; they said NO, and there are no plans for it in the future.

We further inquired how we could get map updates without internet connectivity. There is a way: you must call Garmin and ask to purchase the map updates on SD card for about $79 (USD), apparently you must provide them with your unit's serial number and other personal information.

This alternate method of updating maps, is not listed on Garmin's website, and they will not tell you about it unless you ask. We later asked them directly if they provided our travel data to NSA; they never answered the question directly, but instead referred us to their privacy policy:
https://fly.garmin.com/fly-garmin/legal/privacy.jsp

In our opinion: The best way to update your Garmin's maps without compromising your privacy, is to simply buy a newer model when it is released.

However, don't pay extra for the model that comes with lifetime maps that you must compromise your privacy  and security in order to download and install.

Garmin makes several models of GPS unit, usually you can tell very quickly by the model number suffix "LM"  if the unit includes lifetime maps for example the Garmin Nuvi® 52 and the Garmin Nuvi® 52LM which is about $20 (USD) more expensive.

One more thing about GPS: ALWAYS avoid purchasing vehicles with built in navigation systems. Aside from the navigation system becoming outdated before the rest of the vehicle; privacy is greatly sacrificed with a GPS system that is integrated into a vehicle. It is much easier to make a device the size of a mobile phone "disappear", than it is to rip out the wiring and components of your vehicle to conceal your travel information; should "Big Brother" come a calling.

Read more about GPS privacy issues here: http://forums.gpsreview.net/viewtopic.php?t=28300

    Cell Phones by far; Are the Number One present day threat to personal privacy

Cell phones are almost indispensable today. About 50% of the adult population now carry cell phones, most of those, smart phones, which contain cameras, internet connectivity, text messaging, GPS and enormous memory capacity.

The very nature of how a cell phone operates make it an inherent tracking device: Each phone has a unique digital serial number and electronic signature that is transmitted nearly constantly to the cell network, for identification for billing purposes.

The phone automatically accesses several cell towers and selects the one with the best reception, in doing so; the user's position is triangulated via signal strength detection, within perhaps 200 feet (less in urban areas with more cell towers). So even without built in GPS, a cell phone is a pretty useful tool for tracking people.

Add GPS to a phone, and now your position is able to be tracked and monitored by the network to within 10 feet. Add a camera and a hands free microphone which can both be turned on without the user's knowledge, and now you have a mobile surveillance device carried around by half the adult population; a real time, global awareness program monitored by the NSA and other agencies.

But wait! there's more.... use ANY Bluetooth® device within 50 feet of a cell phone, and the cell phone can act as a radio signal repeater, with the capability of picking up ANY Bluetooth® data signal and repeating that signal to the cell network where it becomes part of NSA's data stream. This scenario is totally possible and within the operating capabilities of all smart phones capable of linking to Bluetooth® devices.


6/5/2015 update: Additional info about Bluetooth, IBeacons, Fitness Monitors and other wearable devices.
http://www.net-security.org/secworld.php?id=18422

Additionally, due to the speed and complexity of the operating system of a smart phone and the speed of the cellular/ data network, it could be done without the knowledge of the user; heck, you wouldn't even notice a drop in internet speed, or any indication whatsoever that this was happening.

Do you really need or want a smart phone? If your answer is NO and you tried shopping for a basic, no frills, voice only cell phone, you have probably run into this scenario:

When you go shopping for a new phone, most stores don't even display the simple cell phones anymore. If you ask, they may have a basic phone in the back storeroom without internet connectivity, cameras and other non essential gadgets.

The reason you have to ask the salesperson a phone store to see a basic model, and the reason these simple phones are not on display is because the phone companies have no interest in selling you such a basic phone. They make a lot more money by selling you a phone that is internet capable because the real money for the phone company is in selling you a data plan, which most people will exceed, not just basic voice phone service.

We found a really basic phone it has only basic voice, no data, no text messaging, no frills or gadget. Although it is still a cell phone, and will still serve as a de-facto tracking device, it is the least of all evils when it comes to cell phones; it generates as little "Digital Exhaust" as is currently possible. The only thing we don't like about it when it comes to privacy, is there is no way to disconnect the battery to ensure that it is not tracking you when it is turned off. Although, this is a fairly simple modification with some basic electronics knowledge and probably $3.00 worth of electronics parts from Radio Shack

"Johns Phone's" from John Doe Amsterdam(which probably has the most horribly designed corporate website we have ever seen), but which is available here in the United States on Amazon for $120.00
http://www.amazon.com/Johns-Phone-Business-Black-Simplest/dp/B004TF10FG

John's Phone Comes in several colors, and is probably the most simple basic phone you can get.

John's Phone, a basic, no frills mobile phone, the least of the evils for cell phones when it comes to personal privacy

Not the most well made phone available, but probably the best you can get from a privacy standpoint.
It might be an interesting modification for those who have the technical skills; to take one of these phones and build it into a ruggedized case such as pelican® 0955 Sport Wallet

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Apple's fingerprint technology:
We would avoid that like the plague, not only is being compelled to use your fingerprints for identification every time you want to use your phone a bad idea for obvious reasons; it has another implication that most people have not even thought of yet:

Apple's fingerprint technology uses skin resistance measurement, the same way that a polygraph (lie detector) does. After you use the phone enough of times Apple and the NSA can start to build a profile on you and begin to ascertain your emotional state every time you unlock your phone. For example: if on several occasions a certain skin resistance reading precedes you writing an angry e-mail or text message, they then could know what your emotional state is, with pretty high certainty, without you even typing or speaking a word.

Maybe advertisers will use this "emotional state" information to flash you advertisements when you are emotionally compromised and in a vulnerable state and more likely to be taken advantage of by the advertising. Maybe law enforcement will use this "emotional state" information as circumstantial evidence, trying to pin a crime on you that happened in proximity to you and your phone. The questioning might go something like this: "We know you were at the party where so-and-so got shot; you were feeling pretty angry at that time, as evidenced by the skin resistance reading from your iphone; nobody else's iphone registered them being angry at that party at the time of the shooting; you are now under arrest; you have the right to remain silent...."
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11/6/14 Update:   Notes regarding NFC signal Blocking

(Near Field Communication - as used in Apple Pay and other point of sale wireless payment systems)

Blocking of NFC signals by The Dead Zone Bag™ and other Faraday type products:

It depends on the frequency, but generally no. We tested Dead Zone Bags™ with
passports and commonly used RF proxy access cards; they do not work
for the low frequencies used on these devices.

In fact, any claims that a Faraday cage based product blocks
lower frequencies (lower than 100 mhz.) is very likely fraudulent.

NFC has a very limited effective range; usually about the same
distance as the antenna is long; so in a cell phone, about 6 inches is
the max effective range, although it may be possible to intercept or
hack the signal up to 35 feet.

NFC is something to be worried about regarding privacy, especially if
you come within 20 feet of other users of NFC equipped cell phones and
other devices. (see Bluetooth Repeater) There is no effective way to block it with a product
that is not made from several inches of solid lead; and you should
consider not using a device equipped with this technology if you value
your privacy.

The extremely fast connection times associated with NFC means that a signal could be effectively transmitted and received from a moving vehicle near an automated toll booth, or even a light pole equipped with a NFC reader. Not much information can be transmitted in that short time, but certainly enough meta data to establish the identity of the device's owner, thus establishing a time stamp of when that individual passed a certain location.

2/12/14 Update:    Secure Computers & software

Segregating your Online & OFFLINE computing activities for enhanced information security.

Rule # 1. NOTHING that is connected to the internet is secure.

Even the United States Government, Department of Defense; that spends more money than the combined Gross Domestic Product of several small countries; on internet security infrastructure; can not protect it's internet connected computers from hackers 100% of the time.

What makes you think that your $800 piece of crap computer with "Gortons internet security suite" or "McLaffee Internet Security Suite Plus" is going to protect your information from any hacker with enough skills?

Now granted, you probably don't have information that foreign governments would literally kill for, on your computer; but if keeping what information you do have, PRIVATE is important to you (for whatever reason, or for simply the principle of the matter), then consider the following:

2/23/15 Update: 

Rule #1: Anything on put on a computer, "air gapped" or not is potentially the "property" of the NSA:

NSA has reportedly compromised the firmware of all the top brands of hard drives and built in flaws that allow hacking at the disk controller level. See: Your hard drives were RIDDLED with NSA SPYWARE for YEARS

USB sticks and other storage media can contain malware, that can "steal" information from "air gapped" machines and transfer it to any machine that storage media is connected to. See: Air gaps: Happy gas for infosec or a noble but inert idea?

Rule #2: Any information on a cell phone "belongs" to the NSA. Also very likely: as does any conversation held within "hearing" of a cell phone's microphone, or anything in view of a cell phone's camera.

NSA and GCHQ (Britain's equivalent spy agency) have reportedly stolen the encryption codes used on every SIM card, used on every cell phone in the world. (This means essentially all phones; as SIM cards contain phone identification information, and are built in to all phones, even if the SIM card is not the removable variety) see: The Great SIM Heist

Conclusion: If you really want to keep something private; don't put it on a computerized device or cell phone, don't discuss it within "hearing" of a computerized device or cell phone, and don't let it happen in front of the camera of one of these devices. Do with this knowledge as you please, but a word to the wise: the NSA has the capability to take in, and store all of this information indefinitely. So if you wouldn't say or do something in front of a Federal Agent, don't say or do it in front of a computerized device or cell phone.

"If you are able to read this text today, in 2015 or later, without the aid of reading glasses, your generation will live to see the day when the data gleaned from your personal electronic devices will be used as evidence against you in any local or U.S. Criminal Court, without a warrant, or much less your consent, the same as if you had said or done the deed in question; right in front of a law enforcement officer."


Start assessing how you use the your Computers & Computer Applications.

To each his (or her) own: figure out what programs and applications absolutely need internet access and which DO NOT!

Obviously, e-mail and web browsing and other web applications need internet access.

But does your photo editing and video editing software need to be online? What about your collection of Pictures from your recent vacation in North Korea or Cuba, or pictures from that latest Tea Party Rally or Republican fund raiser? Does that stuff really need to be stored on a computer that can be compromised? What about your MP3 collection of Hanson, Wham!, Barry Manilow, and other great music you may keep on your Computer? Do you want everyone to know what you listen to? (Note: every media player on the market, free and paid has an always on call home function that via your internet connection: tells it's "master" what music and video you watched, when, and how many times you listed to it or watched a particular file....Think about that!)


Don't purchase software that can not be installed, registered, and activated offline, or from a different computer.

Many software manufacturers are now designing their software so that it can be installed, licensed and registered on computers without an internet connection. Normally, in addition to a serial number for the application, they e-mail you a program, usually a small EXE file that generates a unique hardware ID for your computer (probably based on your OS serial number / product key), you send them the hardware ID and they send you back a registration code that will activate the software for use on that particular computer only. Thereby they ensure you are not installing their software on multiple computers without paying for additional licenses, and you ensure that their software is not spying on you and calling home to it's "master" via your internet connection.

For example:

Acronis, makers Acronis True Image : a really good file and O/S system backup application, has an excellent offline license activation system

http://www.acronis.com/activation/


Another excellent offline software activation system is provided by
AVS4You, makers of an excellent suite of Media Conversion Software
http://www.avs4you.com/guides/How-to-activate-the-AVS4YOU-software.aspx

They don't actually list the offline activation option on their website, but if you e-mail them and tell them your computer does not have internet access you can download their offline activation HID generator and they will e-mail you back an activation file to use on the offline computer.

What is all the worry about regarding computer information security?

Our security concerns revolve around security vulnerabilities that were allegedly, intentionally built into all of Microsoft's operating systems, and all widely used Encryption Software produced by American based manufacturers.

Recently revealed anecdotal evidence from multiple sources suggest and allege that such security vulnerabilities were implanted at the behest the U.S. government through the NSA, into all of Microsoft's products, and all widely used Encryption tools produced by American based companies.

Obviously, "John Q. Public" does not posses any information that would be of great importance to NSA; however; such inherent vulnerabilities in the computer's operating system and encryption programs could be exploited by other groups and individuals with financial interests and result in a theft of financially advantageous information which may be held on the computer, or information that could be used for blackmail or other nefarious purposes.

This is why keeping a separate computer or computers that are never, ever connected to the internet, is an essential part of information security.

Concerns about radio transceiver devices built into USB flash drives, USB cables and other USB accessories that are capable of surreptitiously transmitting data to an attacker; from a computer that is NOT connected to the internet are also legitimate; but unlike internet based spying, spying via a radio transceiver device requires close physical proximity to the target, possibly 500 meters or less. (however, it is highly likely that any internet connected, Bluetooth enabled device or a Smartphone could act as a repeater for radio signals transmitted by a low power device that could be hidden in a USB appliance, rendering it's effective range infinite via the internet.

http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013/12/inside-the-nsas-leaked-catalog-of-surveillance-magic/

If radio transmitters embedded in USB cables and other computer appliances is a concern for you,  Gnarly Wraps Hose & Cable Protectors layered with Stainless Steel Fabric are designed to fit over cables and provide protection from abrasion & cutting primarily, but can be ordered with the stainless steel fabric integrated into them.

This integrated Stainless steel mesh fabric (if properly grounded) will greatly reduce the effective range of radio transmissions that may emanate from from the cables due to inherent RF leakage (naturally common to many types of cables), as well as RF from possible hidden transmitters, which may actively transmit signals.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/15/us/nsa-effort-pries-open-computers-not-connected-to-internet.html?_r=0
This could be a possible counter measure to NSA's "specially designed USB Spy Cable" (code named Cottonmouth)

We speculate that this cable has more than one layer of "shielding" with the external layer being a "fake" un-grounded metallic layer designed to appear as shielding, but not grounded, and instead functions as the antenna of the transceiver.

The "real" shielding for the cable may be contained below the "fake" shielding and separated by a non conductive layer, so both the "real" shielding works to prevent RF interference from affecting the "normal" overt operation of the USB cable, while the outer "fake" shielding serves the covert operation of the cable,  allowing it to send and receive RF signals at far greater distances than would be possible if they attempted to conceal a miniature antenna in the plug end, where presumably the rest of the electronics for the covert transceiver would reside.

If you use a KVM switch to link Online and Offline computers, take heed:

If you are going to set up multiple computers and connect them to a shared Keyboard, Monitor and Mouse, don't use a KVM switch with USB and/or DVI ports; especially if it utilizes "hot keys" to switch from one computer to another.

For example: You have your "Dirty" internet connected computer connected to a digital KVM switch that uses USB for mouse and keyboard. You have your "Clean" offline computer which is not hooked up to the internet, using USB for mouse and keyboard, and also hooked up to the same digital KVM switch. THIS IS AN INSECURE SETUP !!!

Don't do it, and expect that your "clean" offline computer will stay segregated from from the internet. Two problems here: 1. USB sends data both ways and 2. your KVM switch is controlled by your computer which can be compromised. So now you have a USB data link between these two computers that you can not physically control.

The Secure Solution:

It may be "Ancient and Clunky" but it still works and it's secure if used properly.
You may have to shop for new computers with a mother boards that still have ps2 mouse and keyboard ports, but if information security is important to you; this is what you need.

A Mechanical KVM switch contains an old style, rotary knob switch that PHYSICALLY disconnects electrical  outputs on one computer from the monitor, keyboard, mouse BEFORE physically connecting to another computer, so there is NEVER any possible data link between one computer and another.

There is no circuitry, no board, no chips, and transistors inside the box of this KVM switch, just a "Clunky, Old School" switch and a bunch of soldered wires.

Mechanical, Analog, ps2 & vga, 4 port


Inside manual KVM switch
inside of manual kvm siwtch view 2
A 4 port Mechanical, analog KVM switch with ps2 mouse & keyboard ports
and VGA analog video, inside views showing lack of circuit boards,
chips and other logic devices.

4 way version Available from  http://www.cablesnmor.com/ps2-switch-box.aspx

Also available in 2 way version:
http://www.amazon.com/C2G-Cables-03364-2-Port-Manual/dp/B0000AQR8F/ref=zg_bs_13983771_13


Funny video:
(but scary when you consider: what patriotism, or the lack of it may lead to in our Modern American Society) Internal Patriot Discovery

     "Stepping out of the grid" - Islands of privacy


If privacy, and occasionally "stepping out of the grid" is important to you consider the following: Many Cell phones made today, have non removable batteries and therefore continue to transmit radio signals that communicate with cellular network antennas, located on towers, buildings and other tall structures.

Shutting off your phone does not prevent it from sending your location information and other real time data to the phone company / NSA. The only way to truly prevent your phone from broadcasting this information in real time is to remove your phone's power source: both the batteries and the charger. If you are unable to do this because of the design of your phone: you need a Dead Zone Bag™ Signal Blocking system for mobile devices.

Concerned about your Privacy in the digital age? Supporthttp://epic.org/
EPIC is a public interest research center in Washington, D.C. It was established in 1994 to focus public attention on emerging civil liberties issues and to protect privacy, the First Amendment, and constitutional values.

American Home & Habitat Inc. is a proud supporter of EPIC: Electronic Privacy Information Center


This web page entitled "Personal Digital Privacy and Wireless Network Devices in a Vehicle" and
all of it's content constitutes Social Media please see our Social Media Disclaimer


Bluetooth® is a registered trademark of Bluetooth SIG, Inc.
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In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act. - George Orwell 1984

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