Editor’s note: Regular readers know our founder, Doug Casey, has long worried about a decline in our privacy and personal freedoms. And with the recent coronavirus outbreak, the government has been exercising even more control over Americans – even using surveillance to track our location.
That’s why today, we’re sharing this piece from our colleague and The Bonner-Denning Letter coauthor Dan Denning. Like Doug, Dan’s a contrarian. And he sees some startling trends in the way our personal data is being collected.
Below, he explains why a Surveillance State in America is a growing concern… and what you can do today to regain your privacy…
By Dan Denning, coauthor, The Bonner-Denning Letter
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is suing the city of Baltimore over the use of high-resolution images from surveillance drones.
I did research on this in December and January while I was in Baltimore working with Legacy Research cofounder Bill Bonner. And the Surveillance Society I’ve been warning Bonner-Denning Letter readers about is being brought into existence right before our eyes.
Two books everyone should read right now are Eyes in the Sky by Arthur Michel and Permanent Record by Edward Snowden. The first is about mass surveillance in the real world. The second is about mass surveillance in our digital world.
As I’ll show you today, the coronavirus is fusing the mass surveillance of the digital and real worlds all at once.
Your Phone Is Watching You
In the March issue of The Bonner-Denning Letter, I predicted you’ll have to prove you don’t have the virus to get out of lockdown.
As I wrote…
It’s almost as if the coronavirus has become an excuse for the centralizers, do-gooders, and Deep Staters to dust off every authoritarian fantasy they’ve ever had and put it into a new law.
One way they’re doing that is through data-harvesting apps on your smartphone.
It’s already happening in China. And in Australia, where I’m hunkering down right now, the government is developing its own version.
Once installed on your smartphone, the apps allow the government to track your location. They’re already doing this using data other apps collect on you. But it’s going to be more explicit now.
The government app will be proof you’ve been tested… and aren’t contagious. It will also warn you if you’re near someone who IS sick.
In China, the app determines whether you’re allowed to travel… or even go out shopping. But these apps will go much further. They could even determine how you spend your money.
And to give you an incentive to use the app – if it’s not made mandatory to secure your release from lockdown – it could be the only place you can download or receive your monthly government stimulus checks. It’s what I call “Universal Basic Income Through the Back Door.”
It’s all happening – just faster than we thought possible. The coronavirus is the catalyst. It’s more important than ever that you don’t surrender your constitutional rights because you’re scared. But that’s what many Americans seem all too willing to do.
Part of our mission at The Bonner-Denning Letter this year is to fight back against this trend. There’s no point in keeping your wealth safe if you don’t have the freedom to enjoy it.
If you’re not yet a subscriber (you can find out more about how to become one by going here), the first step is to “go dark” to regain your privacy.
I know some of these steps may sound extreme. But the great thing about opting out of the Surveillance Society is that you get some freedom back in return.
I’ve been saying the same thing to readers for years. Opt out of these systems now… and stop self-reporting to the authorities… by taking the following four basic steps:
Delete your Facebook account – We think we have to be connected all the time. But by staying on the platform, you’re sharing massive amounts of personal data about yourself with the world. You can’t be a private citizen and be on Facebook.
De-Google your life – The way to stop Google, and the National Security Agency (NSA), from tracking every web search you type and every webpage you visit is to ditch Google search and the Google Chrome web browser. DuckDuckGo won’t track you like Google does. And it offers a decent search service.
Buy a “dumb” phone – This is the only way to stop broadcasting your exact location 24 hours a day. An unlocked phone with 16 megabytes of memory and a 2-megapixel camera will set you back about $25.
Download an encrypted messenger app – Conversations on WhatsApp (which Facebook owns) are encrypted for the moment. But the feds recently asked Facebook to allow them to spy on peer-to-peer conversations on its messaging app.
There’s also the Epic Privacy Browser. It works just like Chrome, except it doesn’t store data on you. You can also try Startpage for a search engine that doesn’t track and store your search queries. Firefox is the least intrusive of your browser options (Safari, Chrome, Internet Explorer).
You won’t be able to play Candy Crush while you’re standing in line waiting for your caramel latte at Starbucks. But a dumb phone will relieve you of the urge to constantly fiddle with your “smartphone.” Result: more free time and a less cluttered brain.
WhatsApp has over 2 billion users (mostly foreign), making it a prime target for wiretapping by U.S. security services. Skype (owned by Microsoft) isn’t much better. Wickr, Telegram, and Signal are securer alternatives.
In the meantime, we should reckon with the fact that the current crisis may accelerate the use of digital technology to track people in order to control and restrain their behavior.
In a worst-case scenario, the coronavirus could become the catalyst for an even bigger, more intrusive, more authoritarian Surveillance State.
Until next time,
Coauthor, The Bonner-Denning Letter
P.S. Surveillance isn’t the only thing you have to worry about in the age of coronavirus. My colleague, Bill Bonner, just finished a detailed review of the political, economic, and monetary consequences of the COVID-19 crisis. It’s called After Armageddon. And it’s a MUST read. If you haven’t yet, read it right here…