A bit of optimism under the hood of total control

    Just a few years ago it seemed: who might need information about my private life that I leave on the Internet? Indeed, most of the correspondence is meaningless chatter, hardly representing great value to the interlocutors, to say nothing of the special services. And who feels bad that Google knows almost everything about my tastes and passions? It is annoying, of course, to get half the life of an advertisement for diapers, once accidentally visiting a site about babies. But you can live.

    The problems of the "little man"

    But gradually the picture somehow darkened. It turned out that not only world leaders can not write by email or say anything personal on the phone. The average citizen should also be afraid of too provocative statements - once his words, photos or just the fact of visiting "unwanted" sites can play a trick on him. Think about whether you want to tell all your teenage interests to superiors, business partners, or children?

    Say, as soon as Elmira Abdrazakova won the title of the First Beauty of Russia last year, her photos immediately surfaced, in which the then-minor beauty was “caught” in a nightclub with a glass and a cigarette. For "violations of the sports regime," she was almost deprived of the crown. In addition, ill-wishers attacked Elvira's accounts on social networks, and poured mud on her for mixed Russian-Tatar origin. It is unlikely that the girl thought about the consequences, sharing information and photos on the network. But at least she herself posted information on social networks.

    Big Brother is omnipresent

    The 2008 law is known to allow the NSA (US National Security Agency) to monitor terror-related messages. In the mid-2000s, the NSA launched the PRISM program, which collects data from the email, Internet, and telephone communications of millions of users around the world. As the Washington Post assures, the NSA records EVERY “unidentified” call from abroad. In addition, a scandal erupted not so long ago: according to the Guardian , the NSA introduced chips to intercept information from all routers that are collected in the United States and exported around the world.

    That is, the powers of special services are not limited by anything. And not only in America. In German Bavaria, hackers broke into a spyware program created by the police. The application collected data from personal computers, including image, sound and texts. Just an online search, without a warrant or charge. After interfering with the Angela scandal, Markel found that there were five viruses in the German police service. They checked mail and photographs, sent to the police more than 30,000 screenshots of computer screens, and have access to passwords and bank accounts of German citizens. What is most unpleasant, all the collected information was also sent to servers in the United States.

    "Slivers" of the war of special services with terrorists

    In America, after the revelations of Snowden, public opinion was divided. One part of the citizens is outraged by the interference with their privacy. In their understanding, freedom is precisely freedom, and not a short leash from the special services. I want to go to dubious sites - I go. And it’s only up to me to decide when and how to protect my family and children from harmful influence - let the special services take care of their “stigma in the cannon”.

    Especially, of course, Europeans were indignant. Because they do not want to share the confidentiality of their information with the American NSA, no matter what they threaten there. Yes, and there was no verified data that the metadata collection program protected someone from something. Only hints. Another part of society is afraid of terror, the red plague, the brown plague, and generally everything in the world, and is sure that “it’s better to figure it out”, what needs to be checked, and also “there is no smoke without fire”. However, if at first freedom-loving citizens were in the minority, then gradually their regiment arrives - as public awareness of the activities of special services grows.

    In July 2013, the Pew Research Center announced that most Americans are concerned that counter-terrorism measures violate their civil liberties. And in 2004, when such information began to be collected, most of the respondents were more likely satisfied with how much the government was doing for their safety.

    In addition, in 2014, the global press freedom index, annually calculated by the conservative Freedom House, plummeted in the United States. Yes, and President Obama, who actively criticizes restrictions on civil rights and freedom of speech around the world (as opposed to America, the stronghold of democracy), has in fact filed twice as many lawsuits with the media regarding alleged leakage of classified information than all previous administrations combined.



    What is there to do?

    Some states are trying to fight “bad” network espionage by law. Thus, the Legal Committee of the House of Representatives of the US Congress supported the ban on mass wiretapping of Americans and the collection of NSA telephone metadata. If the document is approved, then listening and using special services of information from the databases will be possible only with a court order, and only as part of the ongoing investigation.

    Russian lawmakers are proposing bills prohibiting the purchase of network equipment abroad, as well as the creation of their own "global local" network - for domestic use. Concerned about privacy issues, users prefer not to wait for help from above, but to use special software (Tor, I2P).

    We do tooA program to anonymize Internet traffic , called Hola. By the principle of action, Hola is similar to Tor, but it is aimed at non-specialists - just a list of connections by country, and you can choose which site is used for which connection.

    Our solution is not 100% "bulletproof", of course. As Tor is not, in general with the "silver bullets" the situation is tense. Perhaps it is not the concrete ideal algorithm or program that will benefit, but the diversification of solutions — the more ways of anonymizing, the more difficult it is to compromise a significant part of users.

    And what software do you use to protect your data from Big Brother? After all, there are definitely guys on Habr who care about network privacy.

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