It would appear as though the tinfoil hat-wearing were vindicated today, as news broke of the true scale of the U.S. government’s surveillance of its citizens’ online activities, conducted primarily through the NSA and seemingly beyond the realm of the law.
If the reports are to be believed, metadata about virtually every aspect of individuals’ lives - phone records and geographic data, emails, web application login times and locations, credit card transactions - are being aggregated and subjected to ‘big data’ analysis.
The potential for abuse, especially in light of the recent IRS scandal and AP leak investigation, appears unlimited.
Knowing this, what steps can ordinary individuals take to safeguard themselves against the collection, and exposure, of such sensitive personal information?
I would start with greater adoption of PGP for emails, open source alternatives to web applications, and the use of VPNs. Are there any other (or better) steps that can be taken to minimize one’s exposure to the surveillance dragnet?