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Communications in the Purge

This morning.

I hung up from a long phone call with a friend in which we talked (among other security-related issues) about alternative communications for these censorious, tech-whim times.

I poured myself a new cup of tea, hit the button to download mail, and in comes a message from another friend with the above subject line: “Communications in the Purge.” The entire (bcc broadcast) message was nothing but alternate email addresses, phone numbers, and physical addresses that could be used to reach him if our tech overlords switch off standard avenues of communication.

We’ve gotten so used to the Gods of Tech banning, suspending, deplatforming, delisting, algorithm-screwing, and otherwise meddling in communications that don’t further the ever-shifting party line that it’s become as routine as it is alarming. But Amazon’s “disappearing” of Parler this weekend signaled a new threat level.

Sure, the techocracy did something similar to white supremacist sites a few years back and nobody fretted (“When they came for the …”). But wiping an entire and relatively mainstreamish social network off the map of the Internet? At an arbitrary flick of a switch? Simply for … reasons? And this in concert collusion with Apple and Google kicking the same social network out of their stores, as they already long ago kicked out Gab? And Google’s announcement that they would no longer allow any videos questioning the validity of election results? And much talk of “reeducation” or even “cleansing” of the 75 million deplorables who v*ted for Trump? And allegedly “responsible” people in government and out of it talking seriously about impeaching (again) a president who’s only got a few days left in office?

This is it, folks. The nation is officially governed by madmen. And not the pleasantly eccentric kind. If we were waiting for some audible alarm signal to go off, we’ve just heard it, loud and screeching.

I’m not ready to share personal details to the extent that my emailing friend did this morning. But I’m actively deciding what I will share, and with whom. It would be wise for us all to do the same.

In the upcoming days:

  • Make sure that key people including those outside your political networks have multiple alternative means to reach you, including non-electronic means.
  • Get the same kind of information from those contacts and keep it safe, on paper, on a keychain USB stick, or both.
  • Try to exchange and store the above information encrypted if you possibly can, and if not encrypted, then offline. But do the exchange however you have to.
  • Keep a file — and print it out — of both the URLs and the IP addresses of websites you particularly rely on, and if those sites have email lists that aren’t complete junk, make sure you’re on those lists so the sites can notify you if they swiftly have to relocate. (For us non-techies: your computer may already be set up for the file in question.)
  • Make sure the rest of your preps are as up to date as can be.

You’ve heard the bitter joke: “How did you go bankrupt?” “Slowly at first, then very fast.” Friend and sometime co-blogger Silver points out that the same can be true of politically caused disasters (hyperinflation is his classic example, but the death of open communications could slam us equally fast).

There will be — there already is, of course — a revolt against the tech giants. If they keep this BS up, the technotyrants will fall, and fall hard. But it may not happen fast enough to save us.

Good luck to us all. We’re gonna need it.

34 Comments

  1. Bill T
    Bill T January 10, 2021 9:11 am

    Fortunately I have maintained an old fashion address book for years because of my Luddite tendencies of not trusting anything requiring electricity. Comes from being an electronic technician and seeing things fail repeatedly after being told by engineers that it wouldn’t.

    On an other note, for me this is all happening to fast for it not to have been gamed out in the past. There is obviously coordination at a level that takes a lot of planning.

  2. Claire
    Claire January 10, 2021 9:49 am

    Good for you, Bill T. Funny how so many current “Luddites” were once or are still engineers, technicians, etc.

    I applaud you and your address book, but does the book also contain email addresses, URLs, and so on?

  3. Bill T
    Bill T January 10, 2021 10:00 am

    Claire

    I include emails with the phone and address, and somewhere when there were still bookstores I could wander through I fond a purpose made internet and password log book. I haven’t been as good about keeping it up but that will be corrected.

  4. Claire
    Claire January 10, 2021 10:06 am

    Kudos!

  5. brew
    brew January 10, 2021 11:41 am

    At the forum I currently call home I’ve been trying to nudge the folks to make some effort to shore up their privacy, and at the very very least get a protonmail account up and running. Get those Contacts in order, figure out something resembling a trusted network for when it comes time to circle the wagons. Before, I was merely making suggestions they do so, now I’m shouting at them to get it done…

    Few can be bothered to do so… Oblivious, apathetic, or have given up.

    PGP? As if…… not one person has even given it a shot.

    Even those of us that are at least trying don’t stand much of a chance against big tech and the Purge, and when the net goes dark a whole lot of people are going to be completely left behind….

    [And as a side note – ComradeX I’ve tried to reach out to you. Please check your proton email – bd]

  6. -s
    -s January 10, 2021 2:01 pm

    I know what you mean. After using PGP for 29 years, I have 3 people who I know can read messages from me, and 3 or 4 more that might be able to but that I haven’t contacted in a very long time.

    It’s not the most user-friendly program, but the stakes were high in 1991 and very much higher today.

  7. Simon Templar
    Simon Templar January 10, 2021 2:42 pm

    PGP, riseup.net, protonmail.com, Tor, TAILS. These should all be Standard Operating Procedure for all of us.

  8. Toirdhealbheach Beucail
    Toirdhealbheach Beucail January 10, 2021 4:04 pm

    For reasons totally unrelated (a dead-ended e-mail account I could not recover) I had to get a Protonmail account. So serendipity, if nothing else.

    I have NordVPN and Brave as a browser equipped with Ghostery- sufficient? (I am not highly technical

  9. A Cell of One (yes, I'm back)
    A Cell of One (yes, I'm back) January 10, 2021 4:14 pm

    The 1st Amendment is dead. Why is not the government not filing anti-trust suits against Google, Facebook, Twitter, and the other monopolies in the social media business ? Our system of free and fair elections is dead also. By passing on correcting the obvious election fraud, I believe that the Supreme court* has returned us to the days of 1775 when we had no power to choose our own leaders and representatives. In other words, they have nullified every Federal document SINCE the Declaration of Independence. We are without the rule of law. We are back to living under a ruling class that is not elected by us, but appointed over us. If our ‘rights’ can be taken away so easily, they are not rights, they are merely privileges the government bestows on its favorites. We are back to being subjects of the state, not citizens of a free country. If our rights are not restored to us, I withdraw my consent to be governed, and I am at war with these tyrants.

  10. Simon Templar
    Simon Templar January 10, 2021 4:40 pm

    I was in a hurry and neglected to mention a few other things, like multiple backups, preferably with one off-site, if possible. This can be as simple as a TAILS USB stick in a sealed container hidden in the backyard. TAILS can be configured with an encrypted persistent partition for data storage. Full-disk encryption on computers is also a good idea. Always maintain multiple backups. Use SIM card password for phones, in addition to a strong regular password. Use an encrypted password manager. TAILS uses KeePassXC, and so do I. Maintain multiple backups.

    Did I mention multiple backups 🙂

    I, too, was an engineer where all to often I had to tell clients there was nothing I could do when their hardware died and they did not have their data backed up. Yes, there are data recovery services, but their cost puts them out of reach for most of us, their success rated is limited, and there are situations where not even they stand a chance, as in a lost or destroyed USB stick. Multiple backups of things like passwords, contact information, and other important data are cheap insurance. They must be maintained and kept current, but that also can be a small price to pay when your primary is gone. A house fire or a LE raid can make that happen very quickly and without warning.

  11. Just Waiting
    Just Waiting January 10, 2021 5:40 pm

    Two things:
    1. How do you share proton mail addresses with others and

    2. In my AO we’re working on a plan for physical meet points on certain days and times, just in case the silence comes quickly

  12. kentmcmanigal
    kentmcmanigal January 10, 2021 6:33 pm

    I can’t get over some people who ought to know better saying these are “private companies” who have a right to do what they are doing. They aren’t– they are corporations. And even if they were private companies, it’s not OK to violate people you invited to your yard just because they are on your property. There’s a line where property rights end, and that’s it.

    On a timely note, I now have some Time’s Up flags being done through print-on-demand if anyone needs one or two.

  13. larryarnold
    larryarnold January 10, 2021 8:33 pm

    Kent, the “private companies” (and corporations are private companies) are protected by the often-discussed Section 230. As I understand that law companies who provide neutral platforms for posting can’t be sued if someone posts something actionable. The poster can be sued, but not the platform.

    However, when those social media platforms are so obviously censoring one side of the political debate, and so obviously abetting the other, they are no longer neutral.

    IMHO Section 230 should no longer protect them. I’m not holding my breath expecting either party to challenge them. But I would love to see someone like #walkaway find a red-state court and file a First Amendment lawsuit.

    Two of the most valuable lessons my parents taught me, when I was in elementary school, were how to lose graciously and how to win graciously. Obviously the progressives have never learned those lessons.

    It’s my belief that the recent crackdown has nothing to do with what happened at the Capitol, what President Trump did, or how the 2020 election played out. I think they’re taking revenge for losing the 2106 election.

    Planned ahead? You betcha!

  14. GR21
    GR21 January 11, 2021 12:26 am

    Much has happened. 1n5urrection @ct by some accounts was signed yesterday(the 10th) by orange man-Rad. Hmmm, does that change things much?

    We will watch a very different world emerge the next few weeks.

    If you are a prepper at heart you always knew this was coming-the how was the only Question.

    Did We prepare our hearts and peeps enough? Time will tell…If, we have it.

    I always say: “We’ve got time, At the moment.”

    Thank you Simon for the wise words and tips, i will spread them to all that will listen…

    I always ask myself when it is like this, what am I not paying attention to?

    -Have been preparing batteries and telling others to check their gen-sets, keep a vehicle (that you know works) with a battery not hooked up to it…I’m sure if we start to use carrier pigeon’s that they will change the formulation in the chemtrails to snuff them out too.

    What I am usually not paying attention to is my gut feelings, and with all the schumann stuff going on-biorhythm’s are all over the place. They want us scared, don’t be…as it goes-“whistle ‘cuz it pisses off the devil”.

    Stay Strong-the weak will need us very soon…Or, they won’t.

  15. Simon Templar
    Simon Templar January 11, 2021 6:06 am

    Neutrality is not a feature or requirement of Section 230. Below is a cut/paste of my standard response to people who are confused or misinformed about Section 230:

    However, you made some common mistakes about Section 230 that confuse the issue, specifically that Internet platforms must, or should, abide by certain rules, or be neutral, in order to enjoy Section 230 protection, and that there are some special burdens associated with being a “publisher” or “editor.” These ideas are incorrect. See the following links for some good clarification on what Section 230 is and is not:

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20200531/23325444617/hello-youve-been-referred-here-because-youre-wrong-about-section-230-communications-decency-act.shtml

    The author, Mike Masnick is a recognized authority on the subject.

    Here is another link, by 1A lawyer Ken “Popehat” White, another expert on the subject:

    https://popehat.substack.com/p/section-230-is-the-subject-of-the?token=eyJ1c2VyX2lkIjoxNTUzNTg2NiwicG9zdF9pZCI6MTIyMzAzNTQsIl8iOiJhaHhPQiIsImlhdCI6MTYwMzg0Nzc5OSwiZXhwIjoxNjAzODUxMzk5LCJpc3MiOiJwdWItODY3MTYiLCJzdWIiOiJwb3N0LXJlYWN0aW9uIn0.b_y0PAeWLFUkBCCMYWLUICCgTu4IH9GpTwodoFFcdWQ

    Here is a video by the EFF on Section 230 featuring Senator Ron Wyden, who largely wrote Section 230:

  16. Simon Templar
    Simon Templar January 11, 2021 6:16 am

    If Section 230 is repealed or altered, it will solidify the power of Facebook, Google, Youtube, etc. These giant companies will be able to afford the costs of compliance with any neutrality or censorship requirements. They will be able to afford the costs of a court fight if they are sued for non-compliance. Smaller websites, like, say, the Living Freedom blog, will not be able to afford to comply, and will not be able to risk the repercussions of non-compliance (being sued into oblivion, or worse), and will be forced to close up shop.

  17. jsto
    jsto January 11, 2021 6:34 am

    I’ve been considering private, encrypted email providers like Protronmail. Still not sure which one, but I’d better choose soon I guess. Using this guide, CTemplar is looking pretty good, but most of this is above my head.

    https://restoreprivacy.com/email/secure/

  18. Jolly
    Jolly January 11, 2021 8:59 am

    I’ve practiced a couple of times going “dark” by disconnecting my internet and seeing how my stuff works offline. There are a lot of times things you wouldn’t expect “phone home” for whatever – sometime fonts, or permissions, etc..
    I have an extensive network and storage and such here, but I’ve also done some low-tech acquisitions. Such as a 1986 World Book encyclopedia set for $30 from craigslist.
    Our house is 250 years old, and still has a baking oven in one of the fireplaces ( ! ), so….
    This is crazy, but my paranoia doesn’t seem so irrational any more.

  19. Myself
    Myself January 12, 2021 2:13 am
  20. Simon Templar
    Simon Templar January 12, 2021 9:09 am

    Myself, I just got my Amateur Radio (Ham) Technician license a couple of months ago! I’m having fun accessing the local repeaters with my HT and getting acquainted with the local Hams. Studying for the General as we speak.

  21. Cube64
    Cube64 January 12, 2021 2:29 pm

    If it were just a matter of some private companies refusing to provide a platform for certain viewpoints, that would be one thing. But exactly how private some of these companies are is very debatable. Furthermore, some of their actions are undoubtedly driven by pressure from government or by government favored organizations like the Atlantic Council. The Googles and Facebooks have lots of government enhanced advantages, but on the bright side there are some extremely smart and dedicated people working to provide censorship-resistant platforms that allow the free flow of ideas.

  22. Steve Watt
    Steve Watt January 13, 2021 6:09 am

    Free speech does NOT mean you can say whatever you want! And there are consequences to what you say. Spreading rumors with no proof (and “so and so said it on tv” is NOT proof) is not a good use of your time. I’m seeing things posted and mentioned on tv that , if it were not politicians being vilified, would have most folks sued for slander or libel. Do I believe that government is getting too close for comfort? Yes, but those who chose to stir the pot with “cutesy” namecalling and NO proof of what they say are worse than the government!

  23. Jolly
    Jolly January 13, 2021 7:41 am

    My son just got one of those really cheap Baofeng walkie-talkies. Then immediately asked me to “figure it out.”
    This radio was $75 and is an obvious ripoff of a Yaesu. It receives and can scan from 200Mhz to 500Mhz, and can transmit on the ham frequencies. It can receive FM broadcast as well.I haven’t heard a repeater around my AO, yet ( but I’m in the boonies ).
    I’ve just started my evaluation….
    If it’s to be at all useful, it’ll need to scan police and fire frequencies. I’m just down the road from the police station, so I should be able to hear those.
    The build quality is surprisingly good. The plastic pieces have a good finish, and there’s nothing obviously cheap about it. The LCD display is readable, and the on-off-volume knob feels good as well. Again, just started evaluating.
    Oh, another thing, is that this thing can work on the FRS, GMRS, and MURS freqs. There’s a funny notice:
    “You may be tempted to use FRS, GMRS, MURS (in the USA)…frequencies. Do note however that there are restrictions on these bands that make this transceiver illegal for use.”
    Like I care in an emergency.
    Power output is up to 8 watts, which seems high.
    I’ll keep playing with it and give an evaluation if anybody cares.
    Oh, a little background – I was a ham when I was 13, but my license expired when I was 24. I still do morse code in my sleep, and I used my electronics training in the Navy to become an “ET” – Electronics Technician. So, I’m a little more conversant with this than average.

  24. Simon Templar
    Simon Templar January 13, 2021 8:10 am

    Icom makes some good scanners (I’ve had their IC-R20 for about eight years), and I have listened to the local fire / EMT traffic on occasion, but from what I understand more and more police / fire / other government emergency systems are becoming trunked / digital / scrambled, so that even if you can receive the frequency, the communications remain unintelligible. I am sure there are others who know more about this than I. I used https://www.radioreference.com/ to find the frequencies for my area.

  25. Comrade X
    Comrade X January 13, 2021 10:04 am

    This just in;

    may not be up long…….

  26. Terminus
    Terminus January 13, 2021 9:54 pm

    I think this is the basic argument to own and maintain some amateur radio (Ham) equipment including a decent antenna. I recommend 40-Meters as the band to keep regional networks that can span huge sections of the US. Of course, it is also great for worldwide communications using other bands, like 10-Meters.

    With some organization you can maintain scheduled contacts so you can “pass the mail” to other networks as well. Think in terms of a long distance race where you pass the baton. Any way, the entire world has changed. I am still sifting through the pieces of what I thought about things like the Republic, the Bill of Rights and the US election.

    I am over 60 and am still processing and analyzing the daily sense of unreality as basic tents of what made up our country seem to disappear. Thank you there is still time to get equipment and learn theory and maybe even morse code ..QRP you can communicate very far on very lower power using CW (morse)

    If you think ahead now and have a group of people you want to have secure communications study the form of encryption known as a “one time pad” and in this case a specific edition of a specific book is simply unbreakable.

    I used to scoff at Dmitri Orlov about the US breaking up and those crazies who read and believed every word of Civil War 2.

    I apologize I did not mean for this to turn into a wall of text.

  27. Noah Body
    Noah Body January 14, 2021 8:02 am

    The problem with Ham radio is, to use it legally, you need a license from the government (FCC). And you have to give your call sign (meaning your identity) when you transmit, and you can’t use coded communications, other than Morse or digital modes. And the “Ham cops” will be monitoring, even if the gov isn’t that closely.

    Ham is great for listening to, not that great for transmitting anonymously. Maybe other types of radio comms, like CB, which is far less regulated would be better. Maybe a two CB setup per person. Transmit on one frequency and listen on another so it would be harder for a spy to get the full conversation. But anything you transmit into the airwaves can be intercepted and DFed to find your location.

    I think we will have to go back to earlier comm modes, before the Internet, maybe before radio. Use snail mail and phone trees. But mail can be opened and phones can be tapped. Maybe hobo signs, quilt patterns. Lessons from spycraft, clandestine services. Like dead drops, brush pass.

    Yes, these are “interesting times” (scary) in the sense of the Chinese curse. Impeaching Trump now, when he’s gone in less than a week? Talk, on NPR, of going after Giuliani as an conspirator in the Capitol insurrection, or even anybody who questioned whether Biden won legally? Even attorneys can’t aggressively represent a client anymore? This is a crazy witch hunt. And very one-sided. Why weren’t these investigations done with BLM/Antifa riots?

  28. Comrade X
    Comrade X January 14, 2021 8:19 am

    SHTF there will be no stinkin license needed IMHO. I have a ham (no license) but only listen right now, however my scanner is better.

    I want to learn morse code.

  29. Joel
    Joel January 14, 2021 2:38 pm

    What Noah Body said about “ham cops” cannot be emphasized enough. There are hams, and they are not at all rare, who really like to enforce the rules – to the extent of tracking down wrongdoers with directional-finding gear and turning their asses in. And they are very publicly righteous about it. Imagine groups of aging men with too much time on their hands, searching zealously for a chance to rain on your day.

  30. Jolly
    Jolly January 15, 2021 7:14 am

    Hey Comrade, except for a very few of us old fogies, morse code is dead. I haven’t touched a key in nearly 40 years, though I can still copy at about 10 wpm. My license expired in 1985 or thereabouts.

    As for having a license – in a SHTF situation – who cares? As long as you’re not being an idiot.

    That said, there are hyper-vigilant anal twits that monitor things and turn into karens at the least sign of non-annoited ( unlicensed ) people using the ham frequencies. I’ve encountered them before.

    That said, I’m trying to score some equipment to put up a 2 meter repeater on the firehouse roof so that my little town has some comms. Should be able to handle the whole valley.

  31. John
    John January 18, 2021 10:51 pm

    Wheels, full tank, legs, reserve power and electric, mobile net able, few links otherwise. Old.
    South of Silicon Valley gopher / mole.

    Someone expecting the apocalypse?
    Be sharp, be proud. Be Free.

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