Real life privacy?

I’ve been thinking more about privacy in real life rather than just online. I mean, there’s really not much you can do and you don’t have to be too careful, but I’ve built this list:

  • Avoid or cover identifying features
  • Avoid patterns (Going to the same stores, following the same schedule, etc.)
  • Wear plain clothing (Solid color shirt, pants, hood/cap/beenie)
  • Wear CCTV/security camera blocking glasses
  • Pay only with cash
  • Don’t give away personal information freely (Phone number, email, store accounts)

I’m thinking about this in terms of activists, protesters, those in fascist governments, etc. Anything to add to this? Any comments?

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Interesting conversation prompt here. I’d like to augment your list and add some.

  • Avoid/cover identifying features: I think this one goes with wearing plain clothing. But, to make it work, the key should be to not look sketchy or distinct. Don’t look outlandish. Blend in!
  • Avoid patterns: This one is pretty easy to pull off if you go to more independent establishments due to less hooks IMO. And for schedule, I think you can have things vary quite a bit if you work in either a wage job or a full-time job where you are sometimes in the office and not in others.
  • Wear CCTV/security camera blocking glasses: I’m not very sure about how this works. I would add to control your behavior and restrict yourself from unsafe/invasive places. It’s like we always make sure to avoid dangerous neighborhoods in a city. They can’t go after you if it doesn’t exist. If you weren’t there, there’s nothing they can do.
  • Pay only with cash: A convenient option I wish was there was a physical card. I recently banned using my credit card for things except for cloud expenses, since they don’t allow masked cards. :frowning: On the plus, using gift cards with CakeWallet, for all (allowed) online purchases, and using VISA cards helps me control my spending and keep track of my expenses better. I like a clean bank statement. :slight_smile:
  • Don’t give away personal information freely. I’ll be honest about email: I don’t use email for anything except for work (which is only for comms) and accounts. And I use custom domains with SimpleLogin to create a unique address for each account. It helps keep excellent track of accounts and also serves as compartmentalization. As for phone, I am looking for something that lets me add as many phones numbers as I wish, even if I pay more. So MySudo won’t cut it due to a max. I wonder how business VOIP services compare. I’m trying to get myself kicked out of iMessage and Apple because they require a carrier number to use their services.

I’d add, and this may be a bit extreme, but avoid using your real name. Use a preferred name or nickname.

So some things I’d add:

  • Avoid using services that absolutely require a phone number or email. Signal getting usernames should be exciting because that means you can now hide your number, though I’m unsure how Signal will hold against people living in regimes like Saudi Arabia.
  • Refrain from tying too much to your past/personal life. Bluntly, no one cares about your personal life. :slight_smile: Like, I never tell anyone which high school I went to. I only broadly say where I went to school (southeastern region in a large city).

Hm, this one is actually more challenging than I thought. But I am curious with how a “Level 4” threat model actually works. The Level 4 I’m referring to is protection from governments and agencies, which is covered here: Finding your threat model (Cupwire)

I’m actually really curious to find someone who actually hit Level 4 full out. I guess Edward Snowden and Michael Bazzell may be cases, though I wonder if there is anyone who went beyond even them.

Honestly, this one kind of depends on how bad surveillance is, where you live, and threat model. Also, somethings might be counter productive. By doing too much to hide (eg: wearing weird glasses), you might stick out more, for the wrong reasons.

Somethings to note:

  1. Avoid ATMs. They’re usually equipped with a camera (or have one close by), and a bank/Gov can be pinged as soon as a withdrawal is made.
  2. Work under the condition that its cash in hand. Don’t even have a bank account.
  3. When moving long distance, hitchhike. Do not use your own vehicle. Or, if your face is being broadcast, take the older under-used routes (ideally no roads/pavements), where cameras are less common.
  4. Don’t give out personal info. If you’re a good liar, it could be beneficial to make stuff up. Just be consistent, in that area.
  5. Wear something super identifying. Something people would notice, that’s not too common… something like a super hero t-shirt, and sunglasses. Hopefully that’ll distract them from more identifying features.
  6. Never mind patterns, try not to stay in the same place for too long.
  7. Don’t even carry a phone, smart or not. There is still tracking done via SIM. Burner phones are your friend. Even when using them, DO NOT contact folks who know you, especially family.