Warning: Microsoft Windows is affected by PRISM. Even using the software tools we recommend here, your privacy may be compromised by Windows. The operating system of any device can unfortunately lever out any privacy protection that a program tries to offer you. The latter has to run in the confines of the OS after all. We strongly recommend replacing Windows with either Linux or BSD.
For more email providers, take a look at Privacy-Conscious Email Services. Please decide for yourself whether if you trust them with your data. For more discussion about safe email providers, please see issue #461.
Kolab Now is hosted in Switzerland and benefits from the strong Swiss privacy laws. It is run exclusively with free software and using the service supports the development of Kolab. Also, it lets you export all your data at any time.
Why not Hushmail? See ‘compromises to email privacy’a>.
If you have the technical aptitude, consider running your own mail server.
“Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) is a data encryption and decryption computer program that provides cryptographic privacy and authentication for data communication. PGP is often used for signing, encrypting and decrypting texts, e-mails, files, directories and whole disk partitions to increase the security of e-mail communications.”
PRISM Break does not recommended S/MIME email encryption because of its reliance on third-party certificates from central authorities. Read more here.
OpenKeychain together with K-9 Mail provides end-to-end email encryption. An experimental project is GnuPG for Android by the Guardian Project.
Read the Email Self-Defense guide by the Free Software Foundation to learn how to encrypt your email messages.
This section has been carefully curated to only include software that encrypts data on the client. That means your data should be secure even if servers it’s stored on are compromised.
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.
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.
Installing your own add-ons into Tor Browser is not recommended, as they may bypass Tor or otherwise harm your anonymity and privacy. Check the EFF’s Panopticlick to see how trackable your browser configuration is by third parties.
If you’re using a Firefox-based browser, you can safeguard your browsing habits and stop advertising companies from tracking you by installing uBlock Origin, Request Policy, and HTTPS Everywhere.
Why is Adblock Plus not recommended? Adblock Plus shows “acceptable ads” by default, which works against the purpose of the add-on. Either disable acceptable ads or use uBlock Origin instead.
Try to use Tor Browser for all of your web surfing. It will offer you far better anonymity than any other browser. Make sure to learn the basics of Tor before using it. If the site you want to visit will not work in Tor Browser, try Firefox intead, but realize these browsers do not anonymize your ip by default.
Tor Browser notes: Using Tor Browser to sign into websites that contain your real ID is counterproductive, and may trip the site’s fraud protection. Make sure to check for HTTPS before signing in to a website through Tor. Signing into HTTP websites can result in your ID being captured by a Tor exit node.
Firefox notes: This browser uses Google search by default: replace it with a more private alternative.
Why are Chromium, SRWare Iron, et al. not recommended on PRISM Break? More info here.
Warning for mobile devices & Tor: Websites using HTML5 <video> tags will leak <video>-related DNS queries and data transfer outside of Tor.
There is also a DuckDuckGo hidden service at 3g2upl4pq6kufc4m.onion for Tor users.
MetaGer is a SaaS by the German non-profit SUMA e.V. that provides you with anonymous meta search results.