If you want to be yourself on the Internet you basically have two options. The first is to assume that the government and the big Internet companies have the ability to watch every move you make. That’s life in cyberspace. The convenience of email, texting, Facebook, Twitter do not come free. The second is to put political pressure on your elected representatives to repeal the Patriot Act and return to a legal regime in which prosecutors and snoops must get a warrant to look for information on specific people suspected of crimes. A civilized society should not permit its government to collect unlimited amounts of data on innocent people. President Obama said something to that effect when campaigning for president in 2007, when he attacked Bush’s surveillance activities as “a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we demand.”
Now he’s changed his tune, and warned us that those liberties we cherish are an “inconvenience” necessary for the “security we demand.” As long as the occupant of the Oval Office maintains that mindset, we’re not going to be able to fend off the prying eyes of the NSA by changing our browser. We need to change the politics.