Anonymity/Security: A new guide to computer security for anarchists
We present a new guide on the ins and outs of computer anonymity and security.
From the introduction:
Every day we see new evidence of the State’s surveillance apparatus at work. Our cell phones are tracking devices; RFID chips threaten to make privacy impossible; surveillance cameras are on every street corner. Each new technological development brings with it a new encroachment into our lives and a new tool in the State’s arsenal of repression. With this techno-development increasing at an exponential rate, it is difficult not to feel lost, paranoid, or caged. We live in panopticon - even if the State’s eyes cannot be on us all at once, we can never be sure that we are not being watched at any given moment. This psychic omnipresence, coupled with the very real evidence of the surveillance apparatus’s repression of agents of revolt, creates paralysis. The threat of handcuff, court room, and jail cell stay our hand.
It is impossible to ever have perfect security or foolproof anonymity. The structure of the world as a massive prison prevents our movements from ever being invisible and our actions from ever being risk-free. Our situation is far from perfect - in fact, it is frightening - but if we allow the State’s surveillance to deter our revolt, we ensure the impossibility of a world free of domination. We can reject paranoia and employ strategic anonymity that seeks to interfere with surveillance and repression wherever possible. While we cannot become invisible, we can evade their eyes where it counts.
This project is the product of research and self-education. It grew from our desire to learn how to increase our digital anonymity and security and expanded from there. Hours of wading through manuals and websites full of technological jargon and coming back with only a basic idea of how to practically apply any of it made the necessity of an accessible, comprehensive guide apparent.
Our intention with this guide is to provide a basic outline of the following: specific ways in which you can be digitally identified and how to anonymize your internet presence; how to secure your computer and make your files or hard drive (theoretically) inaccessible to prying eyes; how to control and effectively dispose of the records of activity your computer stores; how to protect your computer from malicious processes and programs; how to more securely use email; and other issues related to these subjects.
This guide is designed for beginners and focuses on the concrete skills; we know those were the two things we hoped for in the guides we read when we started our research. We wrote this from a subjective point-of-view; it is for our “likes,” our friends we hold dear and those we have not yet met. We’re poor, so most of these tools are free, and most of what isn’t can be pirated. We hate technoindustrial society, so we refuse to engage in the techno-fetishism of most computer guides; we refuse to speak of any technology as “liberating” and reject idea that the internet is democratic - both because we hate alienating technologies and because we hate democracy.
We are not experts; we may be misinformed about aspects of security and anonymity and this is why with every concept, program, or activity explained, we provide an extensive list of resources for further independent research, which we encourage and recommend. The rate at which technology develops also makes information quickly outdated or impractical, so staying up to date on developments is essential to any understanding of technology and how it affects us. We know computers can be overwhelming and frustrating to learn about, but we are not hackers and, with some concerted effort, we went from a below-average knowledge of computers to a working knowledge of what affects us most about them. Anyone with some time and dedication can figure this all out, and we hope that this guide can be an aid in such research.
Future editions of this guide may be compiled as we learn more and expand our knowledge of computers and associated technology.
Toward the generalization of tactical knowledge,