The following was taken from a reddit post in response to the NSA leaks of 2013
We're now in an information arms race. But unlike other historical analogies that might be cited, the scale of our storage and processing capabilities are vastly more powerful, and that changes the game. Simple private bits of our lives which we take for granted are now being stored indefinitely. Things like:
renting a sexy video
calling an overseas relative
emailing an off-color joke to a friend
seeking help for depression
signing a petition
filing a grievance
responding to a grievance
Whether it's a moment of indiscretion, or just an unfortunate circumstance is irrelevant. It is being recorded, and can be used against you at any time in the future. Imagine that information in the hands of:
your boss who wants to lower your wages
a candidate who is opposing you for a council position
your health insurer who wants to decline your health coverage
a neighbor that doesn't like you
a sociopath determined to increase their own wealth and power
The development of big-data dramatically shifts the playing field in favor of those who can access information which is unavailable to the rest of us.
The solution is ultimately to find policies which enable us to co-exist in a world of big-data. But we have to hang on long enough for our rather dysfunctional social systems and governments to evolve adequately. For this, we need to buy time by holding on to at least some of our digital privacy.
Here are a few steps to make global surveillance more difficult.
Start using encryption routinely (see technical measures, below). This doesn't prevent spying, but it makes it quite a bit harder. It also slows the erosion of privacy by making encryption the norm, not the exception. Encrypt information at rest (eg, Truecrypt), and information in transit (eg, HTTPS Everywhere).
Follow and support groups that are protecting your digital rights (see below). These groups are the most organized digital advocates in existence. But they need your moral support and your cash to do their job.
Educate your neighbors, your friends, your colleagues. US mainstream media is pretty lame, these days, so you need to help your fellow citizens, especially Americans, to understand what is at stake. They're going to also have to get off their butts.
Support good independent journalism. Whether a blog, The Guardian, or your local newspaper, a free-press is a necessary part of the Democratic process.
Get out from behind the computer, and join a local civic group. The US political system is very dysfunctional, and it isn't going to fix itself anytime soon... it's going to keep getting worse with every day that goes by. The options are to change it from within the framework, or work from the outside... but it has to change soon, and that's only going to happen if enough people wake up. Perhaps join /r/restorethefourth
Technical measures: - You may not be able to do all of these, but do what you can. You can change your browser home-page, right?
Stop using Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Skype, etc., and avoid large US based IT services that you don't trust. If the US government and corporations can't resist the temptation to work against your best interests, you certainly don't want to feed them with revenue and data.
In selecting these packages, strong preference was given to Free-Open Source Software (FOSS) which enables source-code review. None of these packages ensures anonymity or privacy, but by using them intelligently, you can seriously reduce your Internet tracks. If you have suggestions/feedback about related technologies, please post in /r/privacy so we can get some group insight.
If you have any problems installing or using the above software, please contact the projects. They need both users and feedback. And if you can, support these projects with your time or your cash to help make them sustainable. Even if you can't use all of them, use some of them, and help others to use them, too.