The Dark Side of the Goons – an essential guide to thwarting PRISM


As elusive as a Higgs Boson riding Moby Dick, as plugged-in as a solar-powered coffeeshop charging station – who better to guide you through the PRISM minefield than the Startup Hipster? Read on for how to stay away from prying eyes on the internet…


You’ve probably heard the news. The US government, with the help of some of the biggest tech companies in the world, has formulated this thing called PRISM. In a nutshell, it’s a fun and quirky way to share all of your moments with the NSA.

However, with the lack of an API and any privacy settings, PRISM is a cause for concern for many that weren’t marginally concerned in the first place. If you’re looking to avoid the NSA’s gaze, and reclaim your privacy and anonymity online, take a stand with my top tips…

Write your emails backwards


You’re probably using one of the big email service providers. And yup, they’re ferrying all of your “private” emails off to NSA headquarters. With an apparent lack of independent, privacy-centric email providers, so the only option you have left is to start writing your emails backwards. Technology hasn’t quite caught up with backwards writing, so you’ve probably got a few months left before it does. Move fast.

Swap gadgets  

Give a friend your smartphone or computer for a day, and urge them to use both in a way you completely disagree with. Get them to share pictures of their family and their food, and let them check into their home. This will pollute the NSA’s database with misinformation that will cause the machine learnings to droop.

Publish your credentials

By openly publishing all of your online account usernames and passwords, it will provide you with plausible deniability in the event of your capture. The trick here is that anyone can use your account at any given time, so it will be hard for the NSA to pin any specific activity onto you. This one sounds counterintuitive, but it makes sense. Trust me.

Frequently move your tabs around


The NSA loves predictable behaviour. Cover your tracks by moving your tabs around every 10 seconds. For any agent watching in, it will cause fatigue of the eyes and general confusion; an escape hatch for you, conveniently. It might seem annoying, but that’s the price you have to pay for staying in the shadows.

Use your feet

Many people overlook the physical aspects of holding and using a computer or smartphone. It’s not rocket science to understand your fingerprints are all over them, and could incriminate you if your hardware is seized. This is why you should start using your feet to interact with the gadgets you own. Feet prints are not catalogued yet, so your computer and smartphone will baffle any forensics department.

Use Onion routing

Your online activity gives off a unique scent. “Nose Drones”, drones deployed with working nostrils, can pick up this smell from miles away and report your identify back to NSA headquarters. Use “Onion Routing” to drown your web browsing in a strong, repugnant smell that will repel any unwarranted spying.

Use a pay phone as a proxy

ETThis one is dead simple. Leave your mobile phone at a pay phone. Go to another pay phone. Ring the other pay phone and talk through the pay phone into your phone. This will effectively stop location tracking, and by using things like voice commands to initiate on-the-fly calls, will become second nature.

Use Linux

There’s many flavors of this open-source OS available, all giving you the piece of mind that you’re using something not built by a greedy, NSA-loving corporation. But there’s a problem; everything will look different. Icons will look weird. Windows will be bigger. It’ll all be too confusing for you, and you ultimately won’t be able to get on the internet.

But if there’s one way to stop people looking at what you’re doing on the internet, it’s by not using the internet.

Image credits:
Eyes – flickr user Caneles
Letter – flickr user Sharynmorrow
Files – flickr user Takashi
ET – flickr user Fernando

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