Archive Monthly Archives: February 2016

Let Not One Bad Apple Ruin The Bunch

February 20, 2016

Apple has drawn a line in the sand, so to speak.

It is debatable as to what that line means and signifies, but there is a line nonetheless.

Earlier this week, Apple released a letter to its customers, explaining that the FBI is asking them to create a new kind of phone with a backdoor. A backdoor meaning it would give them a portal for surveilling "terrorists."

This all came about in the wake of the San Bernardino terrorist investigation. There are details in this story still emerging by the hour, but one thing is definite: Apple has made a loud public statement opposing the very idea of stripping out essential aspects of its product that protect its customers privacy.

The FBI is using terrorism as an opportunity to get a foothold to something they've had trouble doing for a while. And making it a big public matter could be an effective strategy because there are still many Americans that all too willing to trade their liberty for safety.

Keep this in mind. Many people claim to be open to the FBI having remote access to their phones/computers, as long as it helps to protect them from "terrorists." The problem begins to pick up speed though when we develop a better understanding of their tactics and strategies. What they collect today from an innocent citizen could be used against that citizen 5-10 years from now.

If sometime down the road you do something that crosses them, they will use everything they can to make a case against you. Even if it was something that you said or wrote, privately, years ago. And they were able to do that because we granted them access to our private communications.

That is what it could look like. And you won't believe how the definition of "terrorist" could stretch. What if you were considered a "terrorist" if you supported an Independent or Libertarian candidate for President, and not a Republican or Democrat? What if you wrote on your Facebook page that you didn't agree with something the President said on TV? Could that make you a "terrorist" or a "threat" to national security? Stranger things have happened.

In summary, the FBI is proposing (trying to force Apple) to create a new kind of vulnerable phone that affects all of us. Even if you didn't care about NSA or FBI tracking and potentially building a case against you for the future, understand this- if you understood the phone the FBI wants Apple to create, you just wouldn't want it. I honestly believe that.

And remember, we're living in the physical world- nothing is 100% secure. Life comes with a degree of risk, and there's nothing any of us can do about that. But we should assume, demand, some "inalienable" right to protect ourselves, which includes our private thoughts. And "private thoughts" that we share are shared with the confidence that they will remain with those intended parties.

The bottom line is, in America, we have rights. As an American citizen, I have rights. Civil rights and constitutional rights. You, the government, your job is to protect my rights. Do not create legislation and policy that violate my rights.

I don't want to interfere with anyone else's "right" to live in fear and complacency, but I stand with Apple.


The Only Fact You Need To Know If You Use The Internet

February 12, 2016

Regarding safety and sovereignty, there are many things to be aware of when using the internet. Right now, I'm going to point out the one right at the top.

And it's second to none. By far.

Not to say there aren't many important facts and matters that can't be over-emphasized, but this one you can't avoid, at any cost.

Additionally, this fact will only be strengthened going into the future. Just as it has solidified itself into significance as the internet as gained wider use, it will continue into the future.

That fact put simply is this:

"There is no way to guarantee your security online."

I don't care what anybody says. Everything has a crack. It might take the most sophisticated hacker(s) to spot and penetrate it, but if they want to, they will.

Admittedly, that is just the simple fact.

So what is Clear Your Tracks about then? If there is no guaranteed way to ensure my safety and ability to "clear my tracks," then what's the point?

First, there are the basic points of interest. Like staying up to date on the ways to keep your girlfriend from knowing, that even though you're 38 years old, you still like to watch Justin Bieber videos on YouTube. And how to keep a curious kid from checking your Google history to see what presents you've been researching for their birthday or Christmas.

You can guarantee those abilities.

What can't be guaranteed, is that your Gmail account won't be sold out by Google to a third party. Or that Facebook won't be monitoring your activity for your opinion on "hot topics," then hand it over to the government. Email, social media, and anything you think is, or should be private, is at best, not really. Not from everyone.

Your online activity is as secure as the platform provider allows it to be. Remember when you checked the box, agreeing to the Terms of Use, the conditions, and the Privacy Policy? That's where you, for instance, signed away your Freedom of Speech. Just as an NFL player does when he signs up with the NFL. He's no longer a citizen with rights. He's a player with separate rules and privileges. What he can say to a referee on the street with no issue, he could be fined $25,000 for if he says it to him on the field, in uniform. He signed away that right to free speech when he signed his contract with the NFL and agreed not to call the referee such a name. And when you break that rule, you are subject to another whole judge and jury...

And when you leave the "field," and those rules, you have the "streets" which are synonymous with the wild, wild west. You have HACKERS. And you're an international citizen. Somebody can mug you on the streets of the internet, but you can't yell out for a cop at that point. They just don't deal with most of the offenses online. Your bank account gets hacked? It's not like your wallet being stolen.

THAT is where Clear Your Tracks comes in. It's about each of us being informed of the facts of the digital world we are living in, and being well disposed to protect and ensure our safety and the safety of those we care about most. 

We can definitely do a LOT when it comes to that.