A Very Terrifying Idea: Only the NSA Can Save Us.

This week well-known German journalist Christian Stöcker posted a commentary with a rather terrifying thesis: Only the bad relations between Trump and the NSA are currently stopping him from abusing the NSA to use this surveillance apparatus for anti-democratic purposes. The US authorities need to prevent him from using their tools to oppress the press and political opponents.

We all know that all-round surveillance is always present online, particularly the NSA needs to be blamed here as they copy the entire online communication. This allows them to extract very sensitive private data about every Internet user in the world. So the argument of Christian Stöcker that this agency is the only institution left to defend democracy comes with a very bitter taste.

Of course, there are other institutions, namely the legal system when a judge declares a Presidential decree unconstitutional. Yet the issue discussed remains: When our privacy is gone, establishing an autocratic system becomes much easier. That's basically why it it so important that the tools of the NSA will not be abused for anti-democratic goals.

Taking back your privacy is hard. Take back your privacy!

We at Tutanota fight for everybody's right to privacy, and we dearly hope that the power of the NSA will not be abused. However, just as a precaution, we all need to start taking back our privacy online.

This is very hard as Christian Stöcker himself has pointed out: Even though being an obvious target as he was one of the journalists revealing details about Tempora - the spying system set up by the NSA and GCHQ - he has over the years grown tired of encrypting his emails, holding sensitive conversations in person and so on. And, yes, it is understandable. If you always need to do one extra step to protect your privacy, you grow tired of it.

Make the extra step - just once and you're done!

That's why we need easier tools which do not ask for an extra step. Tools that automatically encrypt your data so that noone can read along. Once we have made the switch, these tools must be as easy as the mainstream product. So make the extra step now - just once, and you are done!

  • Start using secure mail. Invite all your friends as well - it's as easy as Gmail.
  • Install Signal on your mobile phone for messaging. Invite all your friends as well - it's as easy as WhatsApp.
  • Use Qwant instead of Google search.
  • Use a VPN or the Tor browser.

It really is that easy to use encryption.

But what if I have nothing to hide?

If you - or probably rather your friends - still think this is not necessary as they have nothing to hide, paint them a picture: The online surveillance as it is currently being executed is similar to installing cameras and microphones in every room of your house. Every letter you send is opened and copied, every phone call you make is being recorded. All this data is stored and can be accessed at any time whenever it should be necessary.

This is much worse than what the Stasi used to do in the former German Democratic Republic because back in the days they did not have the Internet. Surveillance then was really hard work by thousands of Stasi agents. Now surveillance more or less happens at the press of a button and can be executed by secret services as well as hackers that want to steal your identity or your credit card information.

The technology to monitor you 24/7 is there, and it is being used. The technology to hide you is there, too.

Start using it.

Free your data from mass spying!

and get your encrypted mailbox for free now.

Arne is co-founder and developer of Tutanota. I fight for privacy because that’s the cornerstone of freedom and democracy.

Posted on: 2017-02-08

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