The streets are safe today because so many criminals have migrated to digital where they can carry out their crimes in the comfort of their own living rooms. Con artists, confidence tricksters, they are online too, they talk about heart strings on dating sites, they offer us amazing bargains and they are even capable of pretending to be us in a crisis and getting our friends to send money thinking we are in trouble.
This happened to a friend of mine last week. This is really scary, and it has happened to everybody one way or another. People are getting these sorts of e-mails. You could also say that the other major threats are the stalkers and the trolls.
Today, stalkers don’t have to hide in the bushes. Now, they can sip a latte at Caffè Nero and monitor multiple victims in real time on the free WiFi. This is the rather aptly named “Cree py” surveillance tool. You can download it for free.
And it allows you to keep closed tabs on any active Twitter and Facebook user. This is my daughter Rebecca’s recent trip to Rome. I can see everywhere she has been, pretty much what she has been up to. Mostly, she has taken photographs of food.
You can move it up a notch because most stalkers today have a wealth of possibilities, for 30 pounds – 50 dollars – you can get a phone tracking package allowing the stalker to follow their victim’s GPS signal, to listen to all their conversations, and even to turn on a camera or a microphone.
You really don’t want to make any enemies in the digital world, not when reputation destruction is all too easy and suicides are all too common. Say hello to Rent-A-Hacker. You can find him down on the Tor hidden network. For 50 euros, he would just screw with somebody for you. For 200 euros, he’d get the passwords.
For 400 euros, he can bankrupt somebody. Destroying a life cost a little bit more. For 500 euros, Rent-A-Hacker will stuff a target’s computer full of images of child sexual abuse and then tip off to the police.
So, believe me when I say: the Internet’s a very dangerous place. But we can move from the deep web. We can all learn to be anonymous when we choose to be.
If they don’t know who we are or where we are, they can’t spy on us, they can’t bombard us with ads, and they can’t stalk us and do us harm.
So, what we could do, as a beginning, is to wean ourselves off products like Gmail. I would talk more about the things that are available; so many new products today.
This is a free e-mail service from Iceland. It’s really cool, very secure, no one is going to comb for it for ads or the rest of it. If you don’t like to be – If you don’t like being followed online, by whoever, the state, criminals, corporations, all the rest of it, you can just put a free add-on to your browser, it’s a doddle. Better yet, you see, Tor Firefox browser. You can download this for free, it allows you to travel directly Internet, incognito, and to visit the dark side too.
All you need to do is to type ‘Tor Firefox’ into a search engine, follow your on-screen instructions, and hit press there. You can seriously be anonymous online.
Back in the ’70s, people worried that TV was bad for you. They said, “TV is rotting people’s brains.” Some people got so upset they made this film ‘Network,’ starring Peter Finch as a crusty, old news anchor who sees the light. It doesn’t have any answers, it just wants people to wake up and get mad.
Sadly, I’m not allowed to play a clip from the film for copyright reasons due to the Internet. So, I want you to imagine Peter Finch really, really angry shouting: “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore.” “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore.” We should all be doing this.
We should all be saying: “I’m as mad as hell at all the spying, at the commercial takeover, and all the criminals and sickos around to get us.”
In the film, they’re just worried that TV is rotting people’s brains; that’s nothing. This is far more serious. We are looking at the end of the Internet as we know it, because the Internet is being taken over by all the wrong people.
But we can do something about it, we can all go deep web. It is not a place, it is a state of mind, a way of being.
Simply by masking our activities, we can prevent people monitoring us, following us, doing us harm. I say, it’s time we woke up to the threats towards the Internet, it’s time we stood up and do something about it, it’s time we stood up and took back the Internet, and it’s time we said: “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore.”