With all the uproar over US government’s PRISM surveillance program, it is very likely that your trust on the silicon valley biggies over protection of your online private data is increasingly waning. While there is very little you can do about your vast data that is already yielded to the PRISM, you can protect further opening up of your privacy to the programme by a couple of tools.
For The Ignorant : What is PRISM after all?
If you were living in severe social isolation for the last two weeks, here is the deal about PRISM. PRISM is a national security electronic surveillance program operated by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) since 2007. PRISM is a collaboration between the FBI, NSA and every other top tech giant you ever know of.
While stated as surveillance for tracking foreign nationals on the American soil for preventing acts of terrorism, the practical stretch of the program is widely believed to be far worse and covering every type of data you have online with these giants. Worse, the same companies almost unilaterally denied being involved in PRISM voluntarily before making the data requests by the NSA public. Here is a slide from the Edward Snowden (ex CIA) operator’s leak which lead to the huge public outcry worldwide.
Learn about the alternatives with Prism Break
Apologies for reminding you of a tool that rings a similar name to one of the best shows on television, prism break offers you a very comprehensive list of alternatives that you can look up to for escaping the PRSIM surveillance machinery.
Interestingly, the list of alternatives also acknowledge any known drawbacks concerning privacy and the solutions for these are also mentioned, which is extremely welcome. Also, the site itself is open source and available to all those who are willing to contribute.
For all the people motivated to protect themselves from PRISM, this website should serve as the perfect starting point. Note that many of the services mentioned in the site are really not well known outside a particular niche, but they definitely do the job of respecting your privacy online.
Firefox is the Browser You Should Use
If you are already wary of the behemoth surveillance (which you should be by now), chances are high that you are using Mozilla Firefox instead of Google Chrome for the obvious reasons. Mozilla itself is championing the Anti-PRISM movement with the likes of Reddit and 4Chan. Here are few tips to further boost your privacy with Firefox
- Use Ghostery and NoScripts for Firefox for enhanced privacy, to get rid of web sites tracking you and running scripts in the background without your knowledge.
- Make sure you have enabled Do Not Track option in Firefox.
- If possible, use Firefox on Linux instead of Mac OS X and Windows. Linux Mint is a good starting point for beginners.
If you particularly like to be alerted when you visit sites involved in PRISM, then this handy little addon can more than serve the purpose for you. Dark Side of The Prism addon for Firefox not only flashes a black prism but also plays a track from Plink Floyd’s Dark Side of the moon everytime you visit a website which is actively taking part in the PRISM.
While the add-on’s intentions are certainly noble, the sound being played everytime you visit a sight can be pretty annoying as there is no way to turn it off. For now you can use NoScripts addon for now to tweak the behaviour