NSA is No Longer Using Mass Phone Surveillance Program Exposed by Edward Snowden

The NSA reportedly hasn’t been using the system used for mass phone surveillance for the past six months. So did the agency earlier claim that data collection is vital to national security? Maybe it isn’t so vial after all? After all, the nation’s top spy agency can’t be bothered to even use it these days.

Then again, perhaps that agency has found BETTER WAYS to spy on citizens???

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Why You Might Want to Give Up Your Landline Phone

Millions of people are cutting the cords of landline phone service and have switched to cellular or VoIP (internet calling) services. You might think, “That’s nice, but I like my wired landline phone. I plan to keep it forever.”

I bet you will change your mind before long. You may not change it today, but I suspect you will change within a very few years. When you do, you probably will find you then have more privacy and lower expenses than you do today.

Rather than paying the higher prices for the next several years, I might suggest you might evaluate your options TODAY to see if it makes sense for you to switch now.

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Google Adds Always-On VPN to its Project Fi Cellular Service

I have been an enthusiastic customer of Google’s Project Fi cell phone service for more than three years. I also always have a VPN (that I pay for) running all the time in my cell phone. You can read my past articles about the Project Fi cellular service by starting at: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=site%3Aprivacyblog.com+%22project+fi%22&t=h_&ia=web.

I received a pleasant surprise today when I learned that Google is now offering a FREE VPN to all users of the Google Fi cell service and the VPN will be enabled all the time, whether connected by a cellular service connection or a Wi-Fi connection.

All phone calls, text messages, and data will be encrypted for privacy purposes all the time. The always-on VPN will need to be turned on in the Project Fi settings, where the feature is called “Enhanced Network” and labeled a “beta.”

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Police Decrypt 258,000 Messages After Breaking IronChat Crypto App

Your public servants at work: spying on you.

Police in the Netherlands said they decrypted more than 258,000 messages sent using IronChat, an app billed as providing end-to-end encryption that was endorsed by National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden. In a statement published Tuesday, Dutch police said officers achieved a “breakthrough in the interception and decryption of encrypted communication” in an investigation into money laundering. The encrypted messages, according to the statement, were sent by IronChat, an app that runs on a device that cost thousands of dollars and could send only text messages.

“Criminals thought they could safely communicate with so-called crypto phones which used the application IronChat,” Tuesday’s statement said. “Police experts in the east of the Netherlands have succeeded in gaining access to this communication. As a result, the police have been able to watch live the communication between criminals for some time.”

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Skype Now Offers End-to-End Encryption

Skype users can now make encrypted voice calls and text chats. The end-to-end encryption used by Skype means that your chats are encrypted from one end to the other, ensuring eavesdroppers can’t intercept your messages or listen into your conversation. It has taken a while for Skype to offer the feature, but it’s better late than never.

However, be aware that encryption is an OPTION. Unfortunately, the default remains the same as it has always been: unencrypted. Your calls are not encrypted unless you manually choose the option to encrypt the call. If you want a truly private and secure video call or messaging, use Signal or Wire.

If you really do want to use Skype, check out the article at https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/skype-end-to-end-encryption/.

Skype Alternatives

Skype is a telecommunications application software product that specializes in providing video chat and voice calls between computers, tablets, mobile devices, the Xbox One console, and smartwatches via the Internet and to regular telephones. It is one of the more popular methods of making voice calls (emulating telephones) over the Internet.

Microsoft purchased Skype from a privately-owned company in May 2011 for $8.5 billion. At the time, Skype was very popular, primarily because of its high audio quality and ease of use. Skype also was believed to be very secure at the time. While never officially stated, the advertising for Skype hinted that conversations between two Skype users (not traveling over public telephone lines) could not be wiretapped in its distributed, peer-to-peer network.

In the years since the acquisition, the ease of use in Skype has gone away, replaced by a very awkward user interface that is obviously designed for corporate use. The audio quality remains rather good. The original peer-to-peer network has been replaced with a more-or-less standard network that uses Microsoft servers to establish connections. The new network appears to be less secure than the previous peer-to-peer implementation.

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NSA says Searches of Americans’ Data without a Warrant Spiked in 2017

Do you feel like someone is spying on you? Your hunch might be correct. An article by Zack Whittaker in the ZDnet web site says, “The agency collected a staggering 534 million domestic phone records last year, up threefold on the year earlier.”

The article also states, “According to the figures [released on Friday], 7,512 Americans had their calls and messages searched without a warrant, up by 42 percent on the year prior” and “… it also sweeps up large amounts of data on Americans, who are constitutionally protected from warrantless surveillance.”

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