In the wake of the NSA surveillance scandal a lot of my friends keep asking how I get around the walls and watchers that the internet has installed all around us in Web 2.0 land. There are no surefire ways to be completely anonymous, and most of the time I’m not, but there are definitely ways to mediate who knows what about your personal preferences and search habits. Here is a comprehensive guide to bypassing the people who want to watch you.
“There’s a search box and they own it and we put our dreams in it and they eat them,” said Columbia Law professor Eben Moglen in a lecture called “Freedom of Thought Requires Free Media” at the 2012 re:publica conference in Berlin. His was not a new revelation, even then.
“It’s not like libraries are over-funded!” said Soledad O’Brien, master of ceremonies for the 12th annual fundraising gala for the Brooklyn Public Library on Thursday. “It’s not like, ‘Trim the fat off those libraries!’ Those are cuts that are going to be very much felt.”
Over the last weekend of the presidential election, the now ubiquitous Shepard Fairey-designed poster of a sacrosanct Barack Obama dotted the windows of shops and homes throughout Brooklyn. At the Gate, in Park Slope, the word “hope” below the senator’s smiling countenance had been amended to Slope.
“I’ve often heard people say it doesn’t matter who you vote for, they’re all the same,” said Jimmy Ellis, a 56-year-old MoveOn.Org member and host of a calling party Thursday night for Barack Obama in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. “But now, since the election in 2000, I think we can see really clearly, even if you don’t have your perfect candidate, it makes a difference who gets into office.”
Last week, I was invited for beers in the comfy backyard of a gorgeous brownstone in the Slope and we got to talking about what life is like in Brooklyn’s utopian paradise.