The US Federal Government has an incredible history of breaking codes and cracking encryption. They have an even greater ability to store an archive all communications, even if they’re seemingly unimportant, so they can analyze them later when suddenly they’re potentially important. They use massive data centers and wire taps supported by every major telecom and technology company in existence today.
Most people already know what I’ve stated thus far. I’m restating it to make a point in the context of modern events.
If you’ve been buried under a rock, I’m referring to the Bundy Ranch standoff.
An SD Original Contribution:
Its possibly just the tip of the iceberg of a second American Revolution. Heavily armed BLM rangers closed off a massive area of Nevada land, tased protesters who were demanding to know why heavy machinery was being utilized for cattle corralling (turns out they were destroying improvements upon the land), and eventually several days later a face to face standoff with hundreds of protesters who refused to back down to the Federal government thugs. During the entire standoff and for multiple days prior, the BLM sought assistance from the DHS to place snipers on hills surrounding the protest encampment. Eventually, due to heavy pressure from many parties involved, the properly elected sheriff intervened with his own deputies and helped defuse the situation by escorting the BLM off site.
The background on why and how the situation came to be isn’t that important for the story, you can read about it on your own. Many people are cheering “victory” but I don’t know if we can say its been a complete success yet. The Federal agents infuriated the people of Nevada. They insulted pretty much every American with their “First Amendment Zone” pens and they closed off Nevada’s public land to Nevadans under false pretenses.
But the battle isn’t won. The DHS got massive amounts of intel from this operation. There have been reports that this operation was leveraged to gain intel on militia communication, command structure, composition, and offsite support. Every vehicle on site had its plates run through multiple databases as undercover DHS agents walked through the parking areas with their cell phone camera recording plates, bumper stickers, and any readily apparent gear. Every single cell in the region was tracked, calls were recorded, Internet communications sniffed, metadata downloaded, and possibly even phones backdoored through OTA updates.
The intelligence gathered, hypothetical or not (as Snowden has proven… its definitely not hypothetical), is a serious advantage and upper hand to the Big Brother militia which not everyone always agrees with. The evidence collected may likely be utilized to detain, imprison, or frame law abiding people of the great nation of the United States. The people who are on the receiving end of this information have a history of criminal acts against all nations of the world and not just Americans. Many of them are indeed criminals and treasonous to not just their country, but to all of humanity.
Its time to protect communications. No digital communications should be unencrypted! No, I’m not saying to make sure you have “https” in your browser to gmail.com, I’m saying ALL email you write to people should be encrypted and possibly cryptographically signed (depending on context). There is no excuse why you cannot utilize software like GPG and train other people on best practices for communications. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing an email to the neighbor next door asking if he wants to go out for lunch, it should be assumed its gonna be read now or when you’re red-flagged for being a freedom loving American who dissents with the government on one or more issues. It will be recorded and read.
Even if you use GPG to encrypt every single communication and assuming you’re computer or phone has not been backdoored, they will still know WHO you talk to. They can build up social network maps indicating that you’re some arbitrary X-many degrees of separation from some higher value target they want.
If you’ve got an android based cell phone, turn off OTA updates and install an independently verifiable operating system like CyanogenMod. It comes with “WhisperPush” and make sure you enable it. Install ChatSecure as well: https://guardianproject.info/
Obviously these are all effectively point to point communications techniques being protected thus far. Another interesting technique of communication that most people never think much about is Steganography. See software like http://www.openstego.info/
You can write your message, encrypt it with GPG, then use openstego or another piece of software to obfuscate it and hide it as something else before posting your next major announcement on Twitter. The dummies of the world will think you’re just posting a picture of your cat, but those “evil” freedom loving Americans that have the know-how and knowledge of the private encryption key will know you’re not talking about and it won’t be about your feline friend.
And every freedom loving website (this one included) should post their public encryption keys and get trusted people signing them to build a web of trust. If I’m talking gibberish to you, then you better get cracking! Patriots are going to need secure communications channels to disseminate information. Publish your public keys! Sign other people’s keys if you can verify them first hand!
Be very careful who and what you publicly communicate when gathering with seemingly like minded individuals at protests, rallies, or local militia gatherings.
Operational security starts with you.