Let me start by using a quote from Benjamin Franklin
Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
Last weekend, 29 year old Edward Snowden, a former Booz Allen Hamilton employee who did contract work for the NSA, leaked details about an NSA program called PRISM.
This post isn’t so much about PRISM, many people can write better about PRISM than I do, in addition to that, I feel like we are still speculating over how PRISM is exactly setup.I hope the Guardian will one day come forward with the technical details, many are interested in how this works. Only a small amount of slides got published from that much bigger Powerpoint set about PRISM. There are topics that need to be discussed *as* well and we need your help.
This blogpost is dedicated to the people who spend many hours at night programming open source software alternatives to commercial and terribly privacy invasive platforms like Facebook, Skype and Google. (The irony, i’m writing this on Tumblr)
Those computer programmers are dedicating countless of hours to write free and open source alternatives. Thanks to them you can use Diaspora instead of Facebook, Jitsi instead of Skype and Pidgin instead of proprietary software.
Some of these, like Jitsi and Pidgin-OTR, provide cryptographic capabilities to chat or do a video-call with end-to-end encryption. This basically means that the server the data is passing through is going to have a bad time to decrypt the data.
Now the problem is : often these tools are not so easy to use, as it was shown yet again in the PRISM case when Showden tried to communicate securely with Glenn Greenwald. More on this can be read here.
We need to change this. We need to focus on the usability and user experience of the tools we recommend to the people out there.
We need excellent interface designers, we need better user experience designers to commit their time and effort to open source software so at least the content is encrypted between the various parties speaking, although that will probably set off other alarms, let fix one thing at a time.
One thing we can learn from crypto.cat, the software package needs to be cute and easy in order to encrypt the communication.
There’s a number of projects that could do with your help
I would like to *advise* you to download a piece of software from one of the links I listed and try it out with a friend. How easy was it to setup? Was there any documentation? Was the documentation sufficient to understand how the software works? What do you think of the user interface? How could it be improved? Make a sketch! Contribute!
The tools listed above are no silver bullets to fighting state surveillance.
email: drwhax (@) 2600nl (dot) net