Thursday, August 8, 2013

US Online Services Are No Option - When Looking for Privacy

Via Fefe. I have written about the economic impact of the NSA revelations. I concluded that new US services are no option, when looking for privacy, therefore new US tech firms were at a significant disadvantage (NATO countries as a whole should be off the table) compared to ones from neutral states. Lavabit, the e-mail service that Snowden used, had to shut down, because the owner obviously did not want to be part of what he calls crimes against the American people:

I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit. After significant soul searching, I have decided to suspend operations. I wish that I could legally share with you the events that led to my decision. I cannot.
So everybody who thinks that using DuckDuckGo and other new seemingly private US services will keep the US government out of his/her search history/e-mail account/cloud service is wrong. Swiss services are the best option until those are available one can basically just use Google and Facebook (looking for trustworthy search engines while being logged into my google account probably wasn't the smartest thing to do...). Ixquick and start page (same Nehterlands based company) seem to be both located in the US partly, therefore probably also no real option. Metager2 is German, but I don't see that that is any better for any foreigner (oh and it is slow).

Since there are no real options available, most people will stick with the big and comfortable ones. People in the US choosing VK over Facebook and therefore the FSB (which is probably desperately trying to close dat 1984 gap) over the NSA would be awesome, though. But back to the Lavabit owner, who concluded:

This experience has taught me one very important lesson: without congressional action or a strong judicial precedent, I would _strongly_ recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States.

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