A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

The Bill Of Rights Won’t Save You

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You really need to use full disk encryption on all of your electronic devices. Modern versions of OS X and Linux make it easy. Windows is a bit hit or miss as BitLocker tries its damnedest to share your key with Microsoft’s servers. iOS has included full disk encryption by default — so long as you set a password — since version 8 and Android also includes support for full disk encryption. Use these tools because the Bill of Rights won’t protect your data from government snoops:

The government can prosecute and imprison people for crimes based on evidence obtained from their computers—even evidence retained for years that was outside the scope of an original probable-cause search warrant, a US federal appeals court has said in a 100-page opinion paired with a blistering dissent.

The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that there was no constitutional violation because the authorities acted in good faith when they initially obtained a search warrant, held on to the files for years, and built a case unrelated to the original search.

The case posed a vexing question—how long may the authorities keep somebody’s computer files that were obtained during a search but were not germane to that search? The convicted accountant said that only the computer files pertaining to his client—who was being investigated as part of an Army overbilling scandal—should have been retained by the government during a 2003 search. All of his personal files, which eventually led to his own tax-evasion conviction, should have been purged, he argued.

From my layman’s understanding of the Fourth Amendment, it’s supposed to protect against government shenanigans such as snooping through your data that was obtained under a valid warrant but was unrelated to the case the warrant was issued for to build another case against you. Although the quote is most likely false, Mr. Bush supposedly said, “It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!” in regards to the Constitution. While the quote is probably false the statement is not.

The Constitution cannot protect you. It is literally a piece of paper with words written on it. If you want some semblance of protection against the State you have to implement it yourself. Encrypting your devices’ storage would guard against this kind of nonsense assuming you weren’t foolish enough to decrypt the data for the State at any point. This is where features such as VeraCrypt’s (a fork of TrueCrypt that is being actively developed) hidden partition feature are nice because you can have a sanitized encrypted partition that you can decrypt and a hidden partition with your sensitive data. Since the hidden partition isn’t detectable the State’s agents cannot know whether or not it exists and therefore cannot compel you to decrypt it.

Utilize the tools available to you to protect yourself. Anybody who has been paying attention to recent American history knows that the supposed legal protections we all enjoy are little more than fiction at this point.