Generic Discussion About Why, No Help Needed
I'm not a techie, but I have used Linux for 12 years, and I still use XP (dual boot XP and Mepis). I have been interested in encryption and Internet security in general for a while, and I take reasonable steps without things like proxies and stuff to maintain an "excellently" secure system, as far as normal end users go (which isn't saying much), but I also know it's inadequate and illusory from a real security perspective. Think of me as one of the most fit couch potatoes when I want to at least be in shape even if I'll never be a personal trainer.
For years I digitally signed my emails and USENET posts, but it just annoyed most people, and I stopped. I have never used encrypted emails because no one else I communicate with does. I used to give explicit permission for all cookies, but it got to be a real hassle. I hate having ads customized to my local area.
I am going to try Incognito within XP, if I can manage it, to keep my browsing anonymous, but, while all my computer activity is innocuous, I do not want businesses or governments monitoring, tracking, or otherwise sticking their noses into my life anymore than I want them to set up surveillance in my home or monitor my phone calls or spending habits.
I would like to take it a step further, but how does one do that when no one else he knows gives a crap? Is there a point in using pidgin on Incognito, say, if the other end isn't encrypted? How about email when no one else you know has a key or would ever get one?
Other than the browsing, how does one go about living the kind of digital life enabled by Incognito when few others do? How do I get "into the life," so to speak, when no one else I know is?
If you use Google and allow them to keep a cookie on your computer, I'd recommend the Firefox extension CustomizeGoogle because it has the option to anonymize your Google cookie UID (which doesn't disable your access to any Google services but does help prevent them from building a profile of you) and to not send an cookies to Google Analytics/Urchin. I've never heard of Incognito so I don't know if it offers those options or works with anything other than XP, but I do know that this extension works on any platform Firefox will run on. If you're really paranoid, you could install another extension (I forget its name) which periodically submits false search requests to throw Google or other search engines off your trail.
As for instant messages, maybe convince your friends to use a program which has other features they care about and just 'happens' to use encryption, such as Skype.
Whether you care about your own privacy or not, you're still responsible and liable for it. So, you just keep on doing what your doing- stay on top of your game and know what the vulnerabilities are and avoid them.
If you have the opportunity to inform people, go for it but like anything else, you can bring a horse to water, but you can't make him drink.
My daughter has had her own PGP keys for almost a year now (she's 7) and she's just now starting to get it. I sent her an email from President Obama from my mail server and she flipped out. Then she got mad at me when I told her I tricked her and showed her how to do it. Then we went over PGP again, the signatures, and verifying with fake emails again and the light bulb went off (so satisfying).
So maybe one is saved. That's my success story.
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