Keep your metadata private

Greens senator Scott Ludlam’s tips for keeping your metadata private.

Keep your metadata private

Don’t want the authorities to see your metadata? Neither does Greens Senator Scott Ludlam, so he’s given Australians a list of ways in which they can keep their information hidden.

Whether for the greater good or not, his cheeky tips show how easy it can to subvert the Federal Government’s national security laws, which are being implemented in the hopes of thwarting terrorist activity both online and in the community.

Whilst many feel that the government’s call for telecommunications agencies to retain consumer metadata for up to two years is an invasion of privacy, there are just as many who feel that the new laws are fair and in our best interests. If you’ve got nothing to hide, then why bother hiding

Mr Ludlam’s strategies include:

  • using Facebook Messenger
  • sending private messages via Twitter, Gmail or another international email provider
  • downloading anonymity network programs such as Tor
  • using private-key cryptography phone apps
  • using virtual private networks (VPNs).

Unfortunately for Australian providers, the simple way to avoid the government spying on you online, sign up with an overseas providers, which will remain outside of the data retention scheme.

Mr Ludlam has assured the Senate that his tips are completely legal. He just wants Australians to “take the power back”. And now the power to keep your metadata private is in your hands.

Will you use any of Mr Ludlam’s tips to keep your information private? Are you confident that you have nothing to hide? How do you feel about the metadata retention laws?

Read more at SBS.com.au





    COMMENTS

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    ALEX
    27th Mar 2015
    11:07am
    Wow! That's clever! How clever are you! I'm sure every wannabe Terrorist really appreciates your advice!
    Hawkeye
    27th Mar 2015
    12:06pm
    Get real Alex,
    The terrorists and criminals already know these methods, as well as thousands of others both legal and illegal. They will carry on their activities unaffected.

    Abbott's data retentions laws will only catch honest people, such as those mocking him on this website. We could very likely be classed as "conspiring against the government". And even the Franks and Wallys could get the same same treatment when the government changes at the next election.

    I think too that some of these suggestion s may be a bit "tongue in cheek". I can't imagine why anyone concerned about their privacy would use Facebook or Twitter. And I believe the Tor network is run by the very same hackers who collect our private data for sale to anyone with a few bucks to offer.
    Colours
    27th Mar 2015
    11:10am
    Both parties deserve kicking out over this issue (as well as many others). Time for "rusted on" voters to put some antirust on their brains and vote third party or independent - get some fresh ideas in there. I'm voting Greens.
    DavidB
    27th Mar 2015
    12:14pm
    ... and your preferences go to which party... I always laugh at this "I will not vote for either of the major parties so I am voting Green" mentality... your vote most likely ends up with one of your preferences.
    Wstaton
    27th Mar 2015
    12:26pm
    What if one doesn't put in a preference who does it go to then. No-one?
    Pablo
    27th Mar 2015
    12:31pm
    Wstaton, then it becomes an informal vote and no one gets the benefit of your vote.
    Wstaton
    27th Mar 2015
    11:36am
    This is credulous, There are even more ways to circumnavigate meta being collected.

    Don't these idiots realize that things like IS who have proved themselves very good at using the internet will not formulate ways to get round all this . The same with these despicable pedophiles. They will just start using covert methods of communicating which will make it more difficult to trap these people.

    This in itself makes you wonder who will end up having their meta scrutinized. You and I. I bet the next thing we will have all the entertainment industry wanting access to trap those doing illegal downloads.
    Wstaton
    27th Mar 2015
    11:37am
    incredulous.
    KSS
    27th Mar 2015
    12:25pm
    And the problem with trapping those who access illegal download is.....? What exactly. It is illegal!
    Wstaton
    27th Mar 2015
    12:32pm
    That is true but giving them access to metadata gives them access to the lot. Apart from this, access to metadata was supposed to be for combating terrorism and pedophiles not for private companies use. Anyway people illegally downloading would start using anonymous proxies and other circumnavigating products.
    KSS
    27th Mar 2015
    1:01pm
    "Anyway people illegally downloading would start using anonymous proxies and other circumnavigating products."

    You mean they don't now?
    Hawkeye
    27th Mar 2015
    12:25pm
    Wow.
    I just saw on the TV News that Abbott's Data Retention laws have been passed.
    BIG BROTHER HAS ARRIVED (only 31 years late).
    God save us all.
    particolor
    27th Mar 2015
    5:10pm
    Set an extra Place for tea tonight !! :-)
    Reeper
    27th Mar 2015
    6:58pm
    You need to change your name Hawkeye, the information the new laws have enacted have been collected for years......how do you think your telecom provider bills you.
    Suze
    1st Apr 2015
    4:28am
    I agree with you Reeper The only real change has been in the length of time that the information has to be kept ... one year changed to two years hardly makes a difference to the average person.
    Pablo
    27th Mar 2015
    12:30pm
    What sort of fools are these idiot greenies? Don't you just love it that they are openly promoting ways for anyone to try and bypass laws of our land, just because they don't like them. I always refer to the greens party as the "No party" because that is the only word they know - NO. Their piddling little 10% of voters and the elected greenies think their point of view is sooooo important when in reality no one gives a damn about them and their views.

    I agree that these laws will just be an imposition on ISPs who will then pass the cost onto us, I don't think they will do anything to halt the actions of terrorists - they are much cleverer than our pollies and public servants and would already have better ways of communicating than through the internet or telephones.

    People should start sending every email or make every phone call and include the word "terrorist" as then the volume of checks our pathetic security service has to do will be enormous.

    My advice to this and every government is to stop taking away lawful citizens rights and stop making us the baddies rather than addressing the real terrorists.
    seer
    27th Mar 2015
    12:45pm
    If its good enough for Malcolm to employ similar methods, it's good enough for me. The legislation is a joke and no thanks to those Labor sycophants who are just as stupid as Tony and his cronies.

    c'est la vie
    gravy
    27th Mar 2015
    2:18pm
    Tor does not have cookies nor does it retain any data. On Tor Javascript is actively discouraged and it uses https sites whenever they are available by using noscript and https-everywhere respectively. The comment that "the Tor network is run by the very same hackers who collect our private data for sale to anyone with a few bucks to offer" is a bit misleading. Tor connections are spread through a number of different relays (computers) as your data travels to and from the sites you wish to visit. Each step is newly encrypted with new keys for each hop and each relay along the way knows only which relay gave it data and which relay it is giving data to. Only the exit relay (the final computer before you enter your requested site) can see what you are sending and requesting and only if the site you are attempting to visit is http rather than https. If the site you are visiting is https then only you and the site you have visited can see what you have sent and what is being sent back to you. Any cookies generated are those of the sites you visit not from Tor. If you really want to see what Tor does and who uses it I suggest you visit the Tor website at https://www.torproject.org/index.html.en

    There are a number of anonomising products you can use including Tails (Live CD/USB operating system preconfigured to use Tor safely), Whonix (a system of 2 virtual computers that hide your IP address and that use Tor and secure chat), VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) some of which are free for example Softether and its companion VPN Gate client (volunteer preconfigured softether vpn clients) and others which are paid products (do a search on the web to see what is available), Orbot (a Tor system for Android) and then there are other security products such as secure (encrypted) chat clients that help you avoid Government and snoopers from seeing your private data.

    With all privacy software there are those who abuse it (for example Silkroad) just as in society there are Governments, Corporations and people who use or change the laws, courts and so on to do bad things but there are many more honest ones who use the systems for maintaining their privacy and security. If you don't want to use the products or want to have your data stored these are equally valid choices and it is your right to do so but MAY not always be the best choice.
    Hawkeye
    27th Mar 2015
    5:55pm
    Yes, and the problem with the Heartbleed bug in the Secure Sockets Layer which drives the https sites never happened did it. Still not fixed on about 25% of sites.
    Or the NSA compelling Microsoft to build back doors into their products to enable easier surveillance.

    The real point is that these laws need to be stamped out. Our government is following in the footsteps of the NSA in America - spying on millions and catching nobody. Terrorism is simply being used as an excuse to ramp up surveillance of ordinary honest people, and in my mind, that in itself is also terrorism.
    Young
    27th Mar 2015
    2:41pm
    All Australians should have identity cards.
    If you have obeyed our laws then there is nothing to hide.
    We need great protection these days.
    I am fed up with all the so-called do gooders,etc,etc,etc.
    Wstaton
    27th Mar 2015
    2:48pm
    Blumming Heck the old adage "if you have nothing to hide"

    I guess we shouldn't mind while we are in our living room then the police suddenly enter, they say "if you have nothing to hide you shouldn't mind us invading your privacy"
    Hawkeye
    27th Mar 2015
    6:23pm
    Browny,
    Why bother with ID cards? They are too easily lost or damaged.
    Why not tattoo an ID Code across our foreheads, and implant a microchip in our necks. I assume you would be first in line to volunteer, seeing as how you are so pure without anything to hide.

    Only when Big Brother knows everything about us, will we finally have nothing to hide.
    ALEX
    27th Mar 2015
    2:55pm
    Good Grief Wstaton, that's a very stupid comparison!
    Wstaton
    27th Mar 2015
    3:02pm
    Until it happens

    This is what happens with creeping encroachment on our privacy
    scud
    27th Mar 2015
    5:43pm
    The ways by which you could keep metadata private were well known to those that formulated the metadata law, e.g.

    http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/mar/25/malcolm-turnbull-explains-how-people-can-avoid-having-metadata-collected

    http://blogs.theaustralian.news.com.au/jacktheinsider/index.php/theaustralian/comments/how_to_beat_metadata_retention_laws

    So what is the real purpose of the law?
    Hawkeye
    27th Mar 2015
    6:31pm
    Surveillance of us common folk, of course.
    It starts with metadata, then progresses to data, location, etc.
    Eventually, we will truly have nothing left to hide.
    Big Brother here we come.
    Teunis
    27th Mar 2015
    6:29pm
    What a load of rubbish. All internet calls go via local routers (assuming you phone line is not directly connected to a overseas supplier and if you had that you'd have better ways to avoid metadata). It is very simple to gather "Metadata" at a router. Is it worthwhile or an issue to most folk - not at all. The data does not unless you track it down show you what was downloaded but only where it originates and ends up and the packet type not what is in the packet. A typical packet is some 1500 bytes and there are many packets per page or even an image. No one is going to bother trying to pull apart that data unless there is a need shown and even then it won't be retrospective.

    Why should the average say 99.5% of the population even care.
    Hawkeye
    27th Mar 2015
    6:40pm
    Because if I visit, for example, an ISIS sponsored site (for research, by accident, or just to have a sticky-beak) the metadata does not record the disgust and anguish that I am feeling. It simply records that I have visited that site.
    Ergo, I must be a terrorist.

    Gone are the days when one was innocent until proven guilty.
    Wstaton
    27th Mar 2015
    7:17pm
    Ha that's when an anonymouse proxy come in because when you connect to a website the only meta data that is seen is between the proxy and the router. The connection to the website is between the proxy and the website. To all intents and purposes the proxy seems to be the website as it only passes the data not the meta.
    Hawkeye
    28th Mar 2015
    10:55pm
    Wstaton,
    What about the metadata that shows you constantly connecting to the anonymous proxy sites? Don't you think this would flag you as an evil doer? Ergo you must be a terrorist.
    Reeper
    27th Mar 2015
    7:02pm
    Yeh, go and get a Tor account and spend money. Providers of quality VPNs are by nature making money, they are not a bunch of geeks or hackers snubbing their noses at authority anymore and that means your data may be harder to get at, but rest assured if the NSA aren't already gleaning data from 'safe' VPNs, they soon will be.

    27th Mar 2015
    7:03pm
    It's an expensive exercise in futility that challenges the right of personal privacy and our freedom and achieves nothing. The criminals will always circumvent the system. They are the first to find and exploit the loopholes. I have nothing to hide, but as I see it, the cost and futility of this nonsense law demonstrates the utter incompetence of our politicians and their lack of respect for the people they are supposed to serve.
    gravy
    27th Mar 2015
    7:51pm
    Dear Reeper Tor is free to download and free to use. There is no cost other than your ISP cost to access the internet. VPNs however can be free or can cost you money it just depends on which one you may choose to use. The only costs for free products can be your internet usage ie megabytes of traffic and sometimes the speed limits that the provider places on their product. VPNs are generally slower that normal browsing but this is because of the infrastructure required.

    Hawkeye I agree the laws are draconian and for the most part terrorist leaders are intelligent and know many tricks to avoid being tracked and so these laws mostly track the general non-terrorist populaces. Should they be in place, well my opinion is no but until the laws are removed and Governments cease spying on your data (and thats a huge ask) I was just outlining some ways of helping to protect your security and privacy. If Tor and it's onion sites were perfect Silkroad would have never been undone. If any security was perfect we wouldn't still get viruses and so on but should we stop trying to lessen their impact on us? I personally don't think we should stop but I do agree we need to be vigilante and always aware of the failings that can and do happen.
    Hawkeye
    28th Mar 2015
    10:40pm
    Gravy,
    Maybe I am just over-suspicious by nature, but I believe the fact that the NSA are very quiet about the TOR network shows that they have already cracked it.
    They can then follow the traffic from start to end as they please, while the users wallow in their false sense of security.
    Chris B T
    28th Mar 2015
    1:59pm
    Does that mean my wife can check up how many times I go to,
    Bunnings, Super Cheap & Top Gear sites .
    I rather to be Punched by Clakson at least I can sue for damages.
    GeeDub
    1st Apr 2015
    3:24pm
    I came across a Guardian (who else?) comment some time ago which I thought encapsulated some of the situation quite well. It was:

    "Oh, all the wannabe Big Brothers out there don't actually target potentially useful information - they just come up with increasingly grandiose schemes to gather vast quantities of largely inconsequential shite."
    rob101
    1st Apr 2015
    4:20pm
    easy peasy.get out a pen and paer(you remember them?) and send a LETTER!



    Robert 101

    8th Apr 2015
    6:48am
    I could not be bothered. Anyone checking my emails would be bored silly.


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