Privacy and traveling

Hmmmm…I didn’t update since my 40th birthday. Now it’s only a few months until 41.

Ok, here’s what’s happened.

Starting with this: Sara and I eloped in Vegas in June.  It was a nice way to celebrate our relationship and how we feel about each other. It’s caused some issues with a others and I’m trying to work those issues out. I’m happy with it though and feel at ease with myself in a way I can’t put into words. Most people who say they got married would be all gushing and whatnot. However, I don’t see marriage the same way as a lot of people I know. To me, it’s just another neat thing I’ve done with someone I love and doesn’t change how we relate or affect how I feel. I love who I love regardless of titles, papers or promises.

Super serious privacy stuff now:

I’m in London right now – arrived 15 hours ago. I’m very jetlagged and a little bit drunk from going out at 2 in the afternoon my time, 10 pm London time.

As I was waiting to take off from SFO, I saw the potentially ISIS attacks happening live on the news in the bar.

As a security researcher, here are my thoughts going forward based on recent events.
The attacks on Paris, Beirut and Baghdad will probably result in continuing justification for more anti-privacy legislation for the general public. This is a low hanging fruit that governments pick to combat terrorism. However, people who plan to do harm know how to protect themselves (with encryption and non-digital communication) and will generally continue to be unaffected no matter how much surveillance is in effect. France is currently legally allowed to tap phones and email communications without warrants, but that didn’t help stop what just happened.
While people often say they have “nothing to hide”, it’s important for everyone to continue encrypting all data and communications as much as possible to make it difficult for agencies and people who think total surveillance is the way to make it all better. Hopefully, this difficulty will make them look to better legal avenues for predicting and combating malicious activity.
Some things you can do:

  • Use a VPN if on public internet or when out of the country.
  • Use full disk encryption on your phone and laptop.
  • Consider apps to increase security, such as Signal, an iphone and android app that will
  • Encrypt your texts and phone calls.
  • Use https everywhere to increase security for non-secure websites (a plugin from the Electronic Frontier Foundation).
  • If traveling, completely power down all devices before going through any security checkpoints.

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