Privacy, Dating, Whistleblowers, and P2P

Dear Brian,
Which is better, lose privacy for security or security for privacy?

Privacy is one step of security, and security is necessary to achieve privacy. It’s like asking whether it’s better to lose your blood or your skin. They’re both necessary for your body to work.

One can have security without privacy – such is the case of email encryption (or any kind of encryption really, since it’s mathematically based). When you send an encrypted email, someone can see the sender and recipient, but not the message. This security does lead to privacy of the data, but you can be identified as sending a message to someone. Call records work the same.

Adding privacy to this is simply another form of security, which is to use proxies and VPN’s so when the users are traced, they’re not traced directly to you.

Ensuring total privacy and security means taking this all one step further by breaking messages into pieces and having them posted on public forums, then retrieved by bots. This, of course, makes your messages take an extra hour or 5 to get to you, but you’ll be both private and secure.

Keep in mine these are all just abstract concepts – we’re not describing the difference between a tree and a cat, which we can hold and feel and are restricted by laws of physics. We’re discussing ideas about where imaginary lines are drawn and the Venn diagram in which two terms intersect.

Dear Brian,
I am a foreigner how can I get to date a 38 to 40 year woman from new york without paying these dating sites?

Believe it or not, dating existed before dating sites. Go out and meet people. I find dates all the time simply by going out into the real world to find women.

Don’t flirt with women at work or you’ll likely be sued or fired. You have to go out to do it.

Or if you want to be lazy, use a free dating site/all like Plenty of Fish (PoF) or Tinder. Someone out there wants to date a foreigner. You just have to find them.

Dear Brian,
Is there a comprehensive list of whistleblowers who were found dead?

Of course, I prefer that the list include some information about how such whistleblower died, when possible, or the circumstances in which the person was found dead.  Natural causes 45 years after the whistleblowing event would be different from say, the next day, etc.

Such a list will never exist, and here’s why:

I’ve been a whistleblower for about 5 years now, and still haven’t fixed anything – hell, Daniel Ellsberg, Edward Snowden, there are few whistleblowers you’ve ever heard of, and the atrocities they uncovered still happen all the time.

If you and I were in a business together and I decided to turn on you, you could have me killed to save your livelihood, and who would ever find out?

How would I be categorized as a whistleblower? Who’s tracking us?

It’s easy to count how many soldiers die in a war because there’s piles of paperwork, and everyone’s registered with a number and we all agree who’s a soldier vs a civilian, but Obama has us still debating whether Chelsea Manning or Edward Snowden are traitors or whistleblowers.

We can’t even pin down what a whistleblower is or how they’re truly changing anything except by telling the truth. We can’t even track living ones, much less form a comprehensive list of the untold millions who died before having the chance to ever earn the title.

So no…there is no comprehensive list of even how to be a whistleblower or who is and isn’t one anywhere, and even Whistleblower(dot)org Protecting Whistleblowers since 1977 couldn’t tell you any firm numbers of anything because they’re buried in work fighting a losing battle.

Dear Brian,
How can I become an Internet celebrity with a blog that covers topics about everything related to being an teenager?

I have a blog about teenage life and I wanted to know how I can become famous because of it.

Fame is the result of branding, and if achieving fame is your goal, there’s no better place to learn than listening to rap lyrics.

You need to keep your name on everyone’s mind, and that takes constant repetition. Have you heard of McDonald’s or the Geico Gecko? They still spend millions a day on marketing to make sure you’ve heard of them. They put their name on everything, just like rappers.

You, on the other hand, asked a question anonymously, so I’ve still never heard of you.

Dear Brian,
Is Freenet more secure and anonymous than Tor?

We all have a clear picture of how Tor routes internet traffic in and out the onion network. But I have no idea how that’s done on Freenet. Is browsing websites using Freenet browser is anonymous and secure? What is the structure of the Freenet network? How is it routing data in/out its network?

Secure and anonymous are totally different things. Have you ever heard of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier? Anonymity means you can’t be identified, whereas security is more along the lines of encryption.

As for Freenet, it works the same way as Tor, torrents, and Bitcoin, and the point of it isn’t so much to remain anonymous as it is to prevent censorship.

Same technology, just marketed in different ways. All of these technologies are peer-to-peer (p2p) systems. Accessing the Tor network isn’t attractive because it’s secure – the reason we use it is to access the web in a different way that allows us to dig deeper into the archives of what’s available on the internet.

The reason Freenet was created is to keep a line of uncensored communications open worldwide. This is to prevent anyone from erasing or changing history.

It’s the difference between Napster and BitTorrent. The government was able to shut down Napster simply by shutting down its servers, but with Tor and Freenet, there is no server – everything is stored locally on each individual computer connected.

Individual nodes can still be identified in both Tor and Freenet, but content can be encrypted to make it more difficult. The only difference between Freenet and Tor is Freenet passes information through a proxy, so basically I’d be accessing through an encrypted connection on your computer, you’d access through an encrypted proxy elsewhere, etc. It adds one extra step.

Keep in mind, however, all encryption is breakable if someone really wants to decrypt it and you’ll eventually be traced if you were to keep pushing the same button over and over.

Also, if someone were already remote-monitoring your computer, they’d see the keystrokes (either through a keylogger or any camera in your house) and know what you were up to anyway.

That being said, I’ve been pirating stuff for years and never got in trouble – legal protections are far more effective than technical ones. Math can’t be fooled as easily as a human judge.

Brian Penny versability whistleblower anonymousBrian Penny is a former business analyst and operations manager at Bank of America turned whistleblower, troll, and freelance writer. His work has appeared in High Times, Fast Company, The Street, Huffington Post, and Hardcore Droid.


Dr. Brian Penny is a former Business Analyst and Operations Manager at Bank of America turned whistleblower, troll, and freelance writer. You can find his work in Cracked, High Times, HuffPost, Lifewire, Forbes, Fast Company, and dozens of other places, although much of it is no longer under his name. Dr. Penny loves annoying fake media.

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