A paranoid is someone who knows a little of what's going on.
William S. Burroughs

On June 5, 2013 Edward Snowden started the leak of thousands of NSA documents proving the existence of a global surveillance infrastructure monitoring Internet and telephone networks.

The first news about the leak claimed that Snowden had 58,000 files, but the NSA now mentions 1,700,000 files, whatever the case may be, at the moment just 1,000 pages were publicly released, at this rhythm all the files will be released in 42 years. Some people thinks this is a Snowden’s move to have some power in the negotiations with the US government.

Despise it, now we know that Orwell’s darkest fantasies are a reality and that Internet provides both the ability to communicate with or spy the entire world.

The US has a privileged position because they run the biggest and cheapest telecommunications backbone, making most communications pass through them, and also key companies are from there and can be forced legally to comply with their requests.

But the US government is not the only one involved in such activities, for instance PRISM has the partnership of Australia and Great Britain, and XKeyScore received massive amounts of information from Sweden and German intelligence agencies. China and Russia for sure have their own programs and most 3rd world nations hire the services of the same private companies operating with the NSA to control and inspect their own Internet traffic.

This is nothing new, intelligence agencies were doing surveillance since their inception, but previously they needed to target specifically to whom, because it required specialized human resources to perform the tasks, these days with computers and Internet is easier and cheaper to do bulk surveillance and according to leaked documents the NSA can store the information collected up to 15 years.

You may think that this is an already lost battle, that there is no way to defeat Big Brother, but that isn’t right, making bulk data capture and analysis a hard and expensive task again people can force Big Brother to go back to the good old days when it needed to send specialized agents to do the  dirty work manually.

Since a few years there are many tools available that allow its users to communicate privately and anonymously.
Obviously those tools aren’t perfect, and using them also poses a risk as any other communication method over a compromised channel. As all things in life, you need to find the balance between  risk and benefit.

The goal of this tutorial is to explain you how to use those tools and how they work in a simple way, to ensure that everyone can use them and not just the tech savvy people.

The more experienced people may find over simplifications in some concepts, or that just the basic functionality of the tools is explained for the sake of clarity, anyway I invite you to join, you may learn a thing or two.

I encourage you to do the practical exercises, continue the research by your own and contacting me if you have any question or problem, also please spread the word about this tutorial.

If more people start using computer privacy tools, the eavesdroppers won’t be able to tag someone as suspicious because of using them, so learning how to protect your privacy you are also helping others to protect theirs.

Let’s start by understanding the underlying technology of these tools, Cryptography.

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