Wednesday, March 07, 2012

How to defeat some forms of electronic surveillance

There are more and more ways that people are under surveillance, but here are some simple ways this can be countered.

RFID is a big topic. It takes the form of small chips implanted in various forms of identification. If the identification does not have any necessary magnetic information, then simply putting it in the microwave for a few seconds will effectively and permanently disable the RFID chip.

If they are installed on a credit card, where the magnetic strip contains valuable information, then a more crude solution is necessary: put a thick piece of cloth, flannel will do, underneath and on top of the ID card, and then hit the spot with the chip with a hammer. The goal is to destroy the chip without destroying the card, and that is actually a fairly simple task.

With regards to the Backscatter X-Ray or the Millimeter Wave scanners used by the Transportation Security Agency, there are a few solutions. The simplest involves the choice of clothing that can be worn. Clothing made of lamé would scramble some of the signals, and also leather offers some resistance because the radiation theoretically does not penetrate the skin. A blogger recently found another flaw by having any metal sewn into pockets on the side of garments.

GPS tracking is actually absurdly easy to defeat, because it is a device that is easily removed from a vehicle. For maximum benefit, if a tracker is found, it should be mailed to a random address in a foreign country. The person who was tracked should claim no knowledge at all of any GPS tracking unit if following this plan. Meanwhile, since the FBI is supposed to be in charge of domestic intelligence actions and the CIA is supposed to be in charge of all international intelligence actions one can sit back and watch the turf war while the US government has to request the recipient nation kindly return the GPS unit.

The new Smart Meters being deployed by power companies also have a safe and effective way of defeating their transmission capability. All it takes is to build a Faraday cage around the meter. In order to avoid any legal hassles the ability to physically read the meter should not be impaired, so that the power company still has the same options for reading the meter as they did with the original analog meters.

Since these meters transmit their data to the power companies over what appears to be frequencies similar to cell phone frequencies a Faraday Cage will completely block those signals. It does not require the cage to touch the meter in any way at all, so there can be no questions of tampering with the meter. It is impossible to tamper with the meter if one doesn’t touch it or transmit any data to it. A visual reading doesn’t contain the hour by hour (or in some cases minute by minute) readout that is another offending feature of Smart Meters.

A Faraday Cage has one more benefit. It prevents the meter from communicating with compatible technology, most importantly the air conditioning unit. There will be no way for the meter to instruct an air conditioner to shut off.

These are only some solutions. The full number of solutions is as wide as human imagination.

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