Counter-Intelligence: Guarding Your Information

Those who guard their lips preserve their lives,

But those who speak rashly will come to ruin.

Proverbs 13:3

Solomon wrote those words thousands of years ago, and they are just as valid today as they were then.  Our biggest security threat is ourselves.  With the advent of social media and cell phones, we are encouraged to literally narrate our lives, broadcasting everything we do and everywhere we go to the entire world.

An entire industry has risen around tracking our movements, called surveillance capitalism.  Every search you make, every errand you run, every message you send, and every area you visit is cataloged and sold to advertising companies & information brokers.  The information is available to anyone who wants to buy it.  Yes, anyone.

Today, we’re going to discuss some things you can do to secure your movements and reduce your signature in the world.

Obviously, throwing away the cell phone, never driving a newer car, and never going anywhere will solve this problem, but that’s not practical in the real world.  Yes, I said newer car…newer cars have a “black box” recorder which can be accessed by law enforcement should they feel a need (like after an accident).

What does the Ultimate Tactical Handbook say about posting all your intimate details for the world to buy?  (I bet you didn’t think this is in the Bible, but it is…)

Buy the truth & do not sell it – 

wisdom, instruction, and insight as well.

Proverbs 23:23

This is a simple truth that is just as valid today…gather the information everyone else puts out there, but don’t put your own information on the auction block.  Sam Culper at forwardobserver.com puts it this way: “farm from social media – but never plant”.  

Set your security options tightly, so that only your friends can see it.  I also don’t allow tagging of me in anything without my approval.  Never tag yourself in a location, but if you must, do it after you’ve left.

One of the biggest issues I see is people posting photos and tagging themselves in locations.  While this alerts anyone who might want to do you harm to where you can be found, it also alerts the entire world to where you CAN’T be found…in other words, it tells potential burglars that you aren’t home.

Resist the temptation to tell the world about every step of your 30 day European vacation.

An unexpected consequence many young people are learning is that now employers are reviewing social media posts prior to making hiring decisions and their unrestricted tagging and photo posting is labeling them as a security risk.

Many believe that turning off the location services on your cell phone, or placing it in “airplane mode” protects your location, but even when your phone is off, it is SAVING the location of the phone.  Once you turn it on and re-connect, it still sends the location history to the service provider, regardless of your settings.  Yes, YOU have privacy rights, but one of the things you agreed to when you accepted the service agreement was location reporting.  It’s how the phone companies make money, selling your data.  Your monthly fees pay for their maintenance of the network, the real money-maker is your data.

If you truly want to hide your phone’s location history, store it in a Faraday Bag (available online) and only take it out when you need to make a call.  Is it inconvenient…Yes.  But, security and convenience is ALWAYS a trade off.

Faraday Bag

I have a homemade Faraday Cage in my car for times when I want a little privacy and security.

Many people roll their eyes when I talk about your phone constantly listening or Alexa/Google Home constantly recording, but it is indeed a fact.  How do you activate it?  By saying Hey Google/Siri/Alexa, right?  Ever wonder how it knows that you said that…..BECAUSE IT’S ALWAY LISTENING.  Try this….discuss something you really want out loud and that you wonder about the price of it, without searching for it.  Do this a few times over a few days.  Then watch your ads on your phone.  

Multiple criminal cases have involved subpoenas for Alexa recordings.  It’s worth noting that Alexa allows you to delete a day’s worth of recordings….why would you be able to delete something that allegedy never was recorded?  Don’t invite surveillance into your homes.

Network connected security cameras contain the same risk.  Ring and Nest are both involved in partnerships with police departments allowing police to search footage for investigative purposes.  I know, many people say, I’m not committing a crime, so why should I care?  Laurenty Beriya, the founder of the KGB once said “Show me the man, and I’ll find you the crime”.  As so much of our daily lives is recorded and documented, why allow the chance that a vindictive investigator can link you to something blown up (see General Mishael Flynn/Kyle Rittenhouse).  Ever driven home after one drink too many?  Your own Ring doorbell has legally admissible evidence of you pulling into the driveway and staggering to the door and once it’s backed up to their servers, you don’t own that footage.

Found Footage of Kyle Rittenhouse

A classic example of this is the Kyle Rittenhouse case.  Regardless of how you feel about his actions, within hours by searching traffic cameras, local business CCTV cameras, live stream footage, and social media posts, the media was able to paint a picture of a right wing extremist hoping for a fight, whether it was true or not.  Everyone was able to see the kid’s every move for the 48 hours prior to the shooting.  Limit your exposure.

I’ve warned before about vetting the members of your preparedness group.  The Ultimate Tactical Handbook mentions this as well in Luke 20:20 (that’s not an election slogan “Luke 2020, Jesus’ Physician for President”).

Keeping a close watch on Him, they sent spies,

Who pretended to be sincere.

They hoped to catch Jesus in something He said,

So that they could turn Him over to the power & authority of the Governor.

Luke 20:20

I know, you aren’t doing anything illegal.  But that’s not required.  Randy Weaver, like it or not, wasn’t seeking to do anything illegal before an ATF informant harassed him into sawing off a shotgun & selling it.  Yes, that’s what the court ruled…As Weaver hadn’t wanted to commit a crime himself, the agent talking him into committing one was entrapment.  Thus, with vetting, the entire Ruby Ridge situation could have been avoided.

Randy Weaver may seem like an extreme example, so I’ll mention that General Flynn sat down with two FBI agents, who convinced him that he was “just clarifying an earlier statement”.  They convinced him that he wasn’t a target, and that he didn’t need an attorney.  We now know that he WAS a target, and that they went specifically to MAKE HIM TELL A DIFFERENT STORY THAN BEFORE for the purposes of gaining leverage.  And now, a vindictive judge won’t even let the government admit their entrapment. Don’t put yourself at risk.

Patrol Car Licence Plate Reader

Lastly, lets discuss traffic cameras and license plate readers on patrol cars.  Traffic cameras and patrol units outfitted with license plate readers watch over the roads and make a record of every license plate they come across.  In court, they have claimed that they aren’t reviewing the license plates unless an incident occurs, yet there are many cases of a patrol car passing a car with a person who has a warrant tied to a license plate, ending with an arrest, so draw your own conclusions.  

Again, people say, Hey, I’m not doing anything wrong, so why worry?  I worry because the entire idea of the government tracking your daily travels without probable cause is repugnant to our Constitution.  We have the right to not be tracked in our very movements.  The point of doing this is that if they ever wanted to, they COULD recreate your every movement.  Our Constitution forbids BEGINNING that tracking until AFTER they present probable cause to do so.  

We aren’t supposed to gather evidence IN CASE you eventually commit a crime, we are supposed to gather evidence AFTER you have committed a crime. 

But, what can you do?

While you can’t eliminate license plate tracking, you can limit your exposure to it by taking a few small steps.  First, I avoid major roads and intersections, which just makes my day easier anyway.  Second, whenever possible, I back in to park.  From a safety perspective, this is better anyway, and I live in a rear-plate only state.  Back into your driveway as well, and if you live in a two license plate state, store something moveable in front of your car.  Yes, I know, your plate is registered there, but you are trying to avoid letting someone make a record of your movements.  Lastly, and most obviously, don’t break traffic laws (or any laws).

On a side note, I disagree with required mask wearing, but it has made it easier for VOLUNTARY mask wearing, which I whole-heartedly endorse. Wearing a full “neck-gaiter” type mask right up to my sunglasses and hat DESTROYS facial recognition. Again, I’m not doing anything wrong, but it’s the constant police-state information gathering that I detest.

Taking some caution in your daily lives can protect you from others gathering information on you.  In our modern society, you can’t realistically eliminate the information you expose, but you certainly can limit what you put out.

Published by JD

I'm a defensive firearms and martial arts instructor, as well as a professional security & loss prevention consultant. I train people on how to defend themselves, their workplaces, and homes, as well as how to be prepared & aware. I offer corporate active shooter defense training as well.

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