The only way to have full control over your personal data is to run your own server. This is not for everyone though, as it requires considerable time investment and technical knowledge.
2014-05-28: TrueCrypt currently has security issues and is not recommended.
If you’re running GNU/Linux, dm-crypt with LUKS is the recommended encryption option.
Gentoo GNU/Linux maintains a guide for dm-crypt with LUKS.
Arch GNU/Linux maintains a guide to dm-crypt with LUKS. Also useable for Parabola GNU/Linux.
Slackware Linux maintains a guide to dm-crypt with LUKS.
Transparency in this context means that individual programs don't need to manage encryption of their own data, because this is provided equally for all programs by the encryption tool (like dm-crypt). More details on this in the Wikipedia.
Google Public DNS permanently logs your ISP and location information for analysis. Your IP address is also stored for 24 hours.
OpenNIC has not adopted an official policy concerning log query privacy/anonymization. More information here.
Switching from a proprietary service like Gmail to one of the more transparently-run email services on PRISM Break is the first step to a secure email account.
The second step is getting you and your contacts to encrypt your plain text messages with PGP encryption. This section contains free email clients that support PGP.
Read the Email Self-Defense guide by the Free Software Foundation to learn how to encrypt your email messages.
Here is a guide by Security In A Box to encrypting your email with Mozilla Thunderbird, GNU Privacy Guard (GPG), and Enigmail.
Find out more about the differences between Mozilla Thunderbird and Icedove.
Cloud file storage is also available via Chwala/iRony components of Kolab with the capability to integrate various storage backends. Files are accessible via storage layer access options, WebDAV and Kolab web interface integrating Roundcube.
Tarsnap is not recommended on PRISM Break due to its strict copyright on the client that makes it difficult to replace the service in the event Tarsnap is shut down.
BitTorrent Sync, MEGA, and SpiderOak are services that are built on either partially or fully proprietary software. They will not be recommended on PRISM Break until they open source the entirety of their codebase.
With closed source software, you need to have 100% trust in the vendor because there's nothing except for their morality in the way of them leaking your personal information. Even if you can vouch for their integrity, proprietary software invariably has more uncaught security bugs and exploits because there are fewer eyes examining the source code.
Another alternative to cloud storage is local backup with external hard drives and USB flash drives. This method is reliably more secure than storing data on a network, but comes at a convenience cost.
A beginner’s guide to running your own mail server is available here: “NSA-proof your e-mail in 2 hours”.
Kolab integrates Roundcube into its webclient and offers desktop clients as well. Recent versions also feature a file cloud turning it into a complete solution for personal information management.
What is an MTA?
“Within Internet message handling services (MHS), a message transfer agent or mail transfer agent (MTA) or mail relay is software that transfers electronic mail messages from one computer to another using a client–server application architecture. An MTA implements both the client (sending) and server (receiving) portions of the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol.
The terms mail server, mail exchanger, and MX host may also refer to a computer performing the MTA function. The Domain Name System (DNS) associates a mail server to a domain with mail exchanger (MX) resource records containing the domain name of a host providing MTA services.”
A mesh network is a decentralized peer-to-peer network, with user-controlled physical links that are usually wireless.
“Mesh networking (topology) is a type of networking where each node must not only capture and disseminate its own data, but also serve as a relay for other nodes, that is, it must collaborate to propagate the data in the network.”
Apple, Google, and Microsoft are allegedly a part of PRISM. Their proprietary operating systems cannot be trusted to safeguard your personal information from the NSA. We have two free alternatives: GNU/Linux and BSD.
GNU/Linux has a much larger community to help you with the transition. It’s recommended that you begin your explorations by looking for a GNU/Linux distribution that suits your needs. Additionally the Free Software Foundation hosts a list of completely Free distributions.
Debian has a long tradition of software freedom. Contributors have to sign a social contract and adhere to the ethical manifesto. Strict inclusion guidelines make sure that only certified open source software gets packaged in the main repositories.
Fedora is a community edition that serve as the stable basis for enterprise ready GNU/Linux distributions with commercial support. Companies all over the world trust Red Hat Inc. because of their transparency throughout the whole development process.
Canonical’s Ubuntu is not recommended by PRISM Break because it contains Amazon ads and data leaks by default. GNU/Linux distributions based on Ubuntu are also currently not recommended due to several other reasons.
A live distribution like Tails is the fastest and easiest way to a secure operating system. All you have to do is create a bootable CD or USB drive with the files provided and you’re set. Everything else will be preconfigured for you.
A virtual machine (VM) image like Whonix is designed to be run inside of a virtualization package like VirtualBox. VirtualBox can be installed on Windows, Linux, macOS, and Solaris. This means that if you're stuck using Windows or macOS for whatever reason, you can install VirtualBox and use Whonix to increase your privacy and security.
The Etherpad project maintains a list of sites that run Etherpad services. Please only choose from the services that use SSL, and research the site's background before trusting them with your data.
If you have system administration knowledge, please strongly consider running an instance of pump.io (or something else) for your friends, family, or favorite community. Many of them would be willing and grateful to escape Facebook if you provide them a way out.
For those of you without your own server, RetroShare is the easiest way to start your own encrypted social network.
Get a free SIP account for Linphone with the Linphone Free SIP service. Note: Linphone only supports encryption for voice and video, not for instant messaging.