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The Fourth Amendment Enforcement Locker

Some things you just have to do for yourself

IT'S A SAD BUT SIMPLE TRUTH: Our current governments here in America have no respect for our rights, and this is not going to change in any broad way due to the election of Donald Trump, or any other electoral outcome.

Our forefathers put things like the Fourth Amendment in place because they knew that future American governments would want to violate our rights to privacy, and would endlessly invent pretexts for doing so. This is because violating our rights to privacy serves the natural interests of those in power to subjugate, abuse and exploit those not in power.

Changing the names of those in power offers no protection from privacy violations, the tendency toward which arises with the assumption of office even if it was not present beforehand. It is in recognition of this corruption dynamic that Thomas Jefferson admonished us,

"[L]et no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."

SO IN LIGHT OF THIS ANNOYING but inescapable dynamic of corruption, it falls to each of us to enforce our privacy rights. We must still pursue the imposition of respect for the law through judicial action and the ballot. But we must act independently as well.

Independent security means each of us taking steps to blunt or entirely foil illegal general privacy violations and Fourth-Amendment-violations from any quarter, by way of changes in our own behavior. Happily, a great deal can be done without too much trouble or effort.

Since the Snowden heroism especially, a number of virtuous people and organizations have stepped up to help individual Americans (and others) pull effective liberty shields about themselves. These shields secure privacy from unwarranted invasion as intended by the Founders and Framers, and as is enshrined in the fundamental law of the land.

As a preliminary step before we get to the shields on offer, I urge each of you to gain a clear understanding of the real meaning and intent of the Fourth Amendment, which is laid out in this document. Please read it carefully. As will be seen, the real prescriptions and proscriptions of this critically-important Constitutional provision are quite different from what the state wants us all to imagine.

Done reading? Ok...

Listed below are some of those shields which I have found to be simple to implement and, as far as I can tell, effective in function. Each is named and briefly discussed, and links to where to get each are provided. I urge each of you to adopt these measures, and to share this page around.

PRETTY GOOD PRIVACY. Don't be fooled by the name. PgP can be really, really good digital privacy, darn near impenetrable. A decently chosen passphrase when setting up this system on your digital platforms can mean that the only way of getting past that shield would require the dedication of enormous resources and time to the task, taxing the limits of even large governments. I use the MS Windows-compatible, user-friendly software called GpG4win, which is one of the versions offered free of charge at GnuPG.

ENIGMAIL. This is the add-on for Thunderbird that applies the aforementioned PGP software to emails (for those using T-bird as their email client). Simple to use-- indeed, once in place Enigmail operates almost entirely in the background when exchanging email with others set up for PGP encryption. Get it here. Those using other email clients will have to locate similar customized applications appropriate for those other programs. Any email client for which no PGP-implementing software can be found should be dropped like a hot rock. (BTW, find my public key and fingerprint here.)

SIGNAL. Ed Snowden recommends this free end-to-end phonecall- text- and image-encryption software for smart-phones. Credentials don't get much better than that. Signal is a piece of cake to implement and has a very helpful mini-app within that facilitates sharing the program around with everyone in your contact list. (Like all communication-related encryption procedures, it only gives you the protection when communicating with others using the same tools.) Get Signal for i-phones and Android phones here.

TOR. The TOR browser is an online anonymity tool allowing for footprint-free internet use. Do your browsing in the TOR interface and you become a virtual cyberwraith. (TOR is theoretically crackable, but it takes a lot to accomplish.) Very easy to install and use; get TOR here.

DUCKDUCKGO. If you must continue to use conventional insecure (or asecure) browsers, at least use a search engine with them that doesn't deliberately track you as you go. Find DuckDuckGo here.

LAVABIT. The heroic Ladar Levison has just re-launched this seriously privacy-oriented email server. Get details here.

SO, THERE YOU HAVE MY LITTLE COLLECTION of privacy-shielding tools. Doubtless there are many others out there, but this is a pretty good batch for addressing most people's needs.

I may add to this list over the course of time, so check back now and then, and as I said above, please share this page around as comprehensively as possible. The rights of each of us are more secure when more of us secure our rights. Even corrupt states take note of which way the wind is blowing, and while even the flap of a butterfly's wing stirs the air and can lead to bigger things, a few million American men and women slamming shut the doors to their stuff is a lot more noticeable.

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NOTE: Please do not ask me how to download, install, configure or use these tools. If uncertain about any of these issues, refer to the help files, FAQs and documentation provided by their creators.

 

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Peter Hendrickson

232 Oriole St.

Commerce Twp., MI  48382