All the tools I recommend are open source, means you don't have to trust me, you can download the source code and look at it yourself before using it. They are absolutely required for protecting your personal, and business data from unauthorized eavesdropping, which happens by default for anything you do online.
You're a prisoner in your own home. Not able to fall asleep from the gunfire down the street, you fear that your house is next. You protested a new law that gave even more power to a despotic government. One of your friends was murdered, another was raped. This is a fear that has not played out in the western world. We have security, peace, and far more freedom than others.
The government didn't open its ears on telecom on its own. It took Canada's largest-ever online campaign and sustained, widespread, solutions-based engagement to make it happen. We'll need that to continue, and we'll need to bring that energy to privacy, free expression online, and other issues of the day.
The Canadian press has been offering no shortage of year-in-review columns as of late. What's my pick for top story of 2013, you ask? I don't know if I have a headline per se, but I do have a theme: the decline of Brand Canada. If there's one thing Justin Trudeau, Rob Ford, and the Senate scandal have in common, after all, it's that they all prove, in different ways, that Canada is not nearly as serious, respectable, and mature of a country as we often like to believe.
Imagine that I took all the e-mails and messages that I have ever written, as well as recordings of all Skype calls that I have ever made, and gave them to a group of strangers. Should we trust the priorities these strangers will have in 10 years, or 20 or 50? Should we trust that this immense cache of data will not become a commodity, traded to other governments that exist now, or will exist in the future?
The Snowden affair reflects the realities of the cyber age. Technology has made it easier than ever for our governments to monitor our communications, eavesdrop on other governments, and store that information, all in the name of public safety. However, our reactions to what Edward Snowden did by exposing these practices are based on tradition.