Gone are the days when you could simply refuse to give the authorities the password to your encrypted files/computer. It seems like every week there is a new article describing how some poor helpless traveler gets stopped in customs, only to be detained (indefinitely) because he won't give up the encryption password to his laptop.
The solution? TrueCrypt's hidden operating system feature. With this feature you create an encrypted DECOY operating system on your computer, along with a fully encrypted and hidden operating system. When the computer is powered on, you are prompted for a password. You simply enter the decoy password to boot the decoy operating system, and you enter the secret password to boot the hidden operating system.
With TrueCrypt's plausible deniability, there is no way the authorities (or anyone for that matter) can truly determine if there is a hidden operating system on the computer (even drive sector analysis reveals random garbage). If they do discover that there is another encrypted partition on the hard disk, you simply give them the other decoy password to the outer volume of the second encrypted partition, which also contains some “super secret” decoy files.
As I see it, this is the only way to really stay out of trouble. Go ahead and give customs the decoy password! Let them play around on your decoy operating system. If they aren’t satisfied and want the password to your second encrypted partition, go ahead and give them the outer volume password! Let them check out your “phone list”, “calorie counting spreadsheet”, and “Cancun party pics”. Worst case scenario, they confiscate the laptop. Big deal – at least they’ll never get your data. And better yet, if they mount the outer volume and start writing data to it, it will destroy the hidden operating system (even better).
A hidden operating system combined with a TrueCrypt encrypted MicroSD card hidden in a hollow Shomer-Tec nickel is a dynamite combo.
I highly recommend that anyone attempting to setup a hidden operating system start with a fresh hard disk and read the documentation on the subject at the TrueCrypt website. You can start by following the attached link.
URL #1: http://www.truecrypt.org/docs/?s=hidden-operating-system
Interesting article on Wired.com.
Loved your skip college book! Cheers!
URL #1: http://www.wired.com/vanish/2009/08/gone-forever-what-does-it-take-to-really-disappear/
Warren, , Age: 44
The author of this article offers $5000 to anyone who can find him. For only $5000, who would bother? (If the offer were for $500,000, he would be found in a heartbeat!)
In response to question #6265 for Victor, I am a US Customs (CBP) Officer and wanted to help alleviate his concerns. I, too, am a HUGE proponent for personal privacy so I can completely understand his concern for not wanting to have his name coupled with his LLC-owned vehicle.
I have crossed multiple times in my personally-owned LLC-titled vehicle on both the Canadian and Mexican border and have inquired each time with my co-workers as to what shows up when my plate is run. No information about my registration is visible without extensive research (i.e. secondary inspection). The reason I have to ask is because probably only 10% of vehicles crossing populate registration information for the CBP Officer to see. I asked about this and was told it had to do with the county the vehicles are registered in.
Some counties report there registration information and some don’t. In my experience, like I said, nearly 90% don’t. The part Victor will probably care the most about- there is no formal way for his name to be coupled to his LLC when crossing the border. The Officers questioning is simply to help ease his mind that the vehicle isn’t stolen.
Provide proof (needed in only the most extreme of circumstances, though) that he owns the company that owns the car and he will be on his way without a single word being typed regarding his association to his LLC. For what it’s worth, none of my co-workers have ever batted an eye when a traveler is driving a “company-owned” vehicle, it’s just too common. Hope this helps.
We're looking for a car to buy and then title under the NM LLC we obtained at the HTBI site. However, my wife and I cross the Mexican border very frequently for family and business reasons, and I honestly don't think that could be changed.
Anyone who's crossed the border within the last few years knows that there's a lot of information collected. As far as I know, your car is photographed front and back (including the license plate) as it approaches the officer, and many times (though not always) your travel documents are scanned upon entry (similar to running your credit card through the cc terminal at the store). You're bound to have a secondary inspection of your car sometime (we've had two so far this year).
Our concern is that maybe convincing an officer at the border that the LLC-owned car is yours would not be the same as convincing a traffic cop. This seems especially so because our names do not appear on the LLC papers. Besides, if somehow you do convince him, wouldn't this link your true name with the LLC in a government's database, thus defeating the purpose of dissociating your name from the LLC's? Any suggestions?
As for proving you own the car, if your LLC came from Rosie, she will have enclosed an official-looking receipt in your name so carry that with you. I'm not sure about Kitty but I think she either gives you a bill of sale or will, if you ask for it.
However, if you are heading into Mexico on some unusually sensitive or secretive mission, rent a car.
I was robbed recently and as a result I have no photo ID. I can live without driving or leaving the country, but I might need a photo ID to rent a motel room, or in case a cop asks to see my ID.
I'm not dumb enough to believe the old saying "Live your life so that the slanders against you will not be believed." The slanders against me could cause a lot of trouble or none at all, depending on the whims of strangers if I apply for a new passport or driver's license. Is there any safe way I can get some sort of photo ID that will at least allow me to rent a motel room?
I don't need ID for the bank because they've known me for years.
Frank Jones, , Age: 48
I suppose you could use something like qemu, bochs, vmware etc. to run a virtual linux in your ordinary windows session. Which mostly has the advantage that most people would overlook it once you've deleted a few file. GRUB on the other hand can be kind of hard to miss if you watch the machine boot up.
Titan LEV looks a lot like an Ubuntu install with a few extra packages. (Notably WINE and IEs4Linux for the windows doppleganger mode) I noticed the video advertisement failed to mention peripheral support or what version of IE you'd be running. I would wager that your peripherals aren't supported beyond what comes with stock Ubuntu and IE5, 5.5, and 6 are the only ones supported.
someone would eventually notice Firefox does not support active X stuff (that's an IE exclusive thing).
Re: Katie, #6262
I'm only semi-paranoid about two things. One, asset protection. Two, my physical location. No one should have the ability to track where you live, what hotel you're staying at, etc.
Outside of those two things, I really don't care.
I'm on Facebook and various other social networking sites. I love how you can network, find new friends, and customers. I use my real name on those sites. Someone can look me up on Google. However, I am VERY careful about what I put up on Facebook. No party pictures. No deeply personal, political, sexual orientation, etc. info. And definitely no home address.
I have close friends over to my place from time to time. 1 to 2 people MAX. No parties. That's asking for trouble on so many levels. If I want to party, I'll go out to a pub.
I am also active on some forums. Depending on what I post, I usually try to mask my IP, but not always. Never post anything stupid, and you should be fine. And NEVER use your real name on a forum.
I realize that if someone REALLY wanted to find me, they could do it. So I have basic emergency plans in place if something bad happens. Get gun training.
At the end of the day, relax with most of the privacy stuff, because you might find yourself living in a shack in Montana, writing down crazy political beliefs, which is no way to live.
Hi Mr. Luna,
I will add to what Bill said. I recently opened an account in Montreal with only a passport (no DL required). I went to their main branch, where I was given a form to fill out and told to return with lots of documentation... so I walked to a nearby smaller branch, and I had my account within 20 minutes. They were happy to accept my US ghost address and US passport, no extra form or documentation.
Tom, , Age: 42
"I use Windows for use of printers and other hardware that may not be compatable with Ubuntu or Linux based OS."
TITAL LEV found at the link below fixes most compatibility problems.
URL #1: http://www.affordy.com/
Drake, , Age: 34
My spouse received this note from their employer today:
"A new federal law became effective January 1, 2009 entitled The Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP Extension Act of 2007 (MMSEA) This law, Section 111 of the MMSEA, now requires employers to provide Social Security Numbers (SSN's) to Medicare & Medicaid Services for all dependents regardless of age covered under the health insurance plan.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is the federal agency that oversees the Medicare program. Many Medicare recipients have other private group health plan (GHP) insurance in addition to the Medicare benefits they receive. In this type of situation, there are federal rules that determine which insurance coverage pays first, Medicare or the other group health plan.
Because of this new law and our requirement to provide SSN's, we have recently conducted an audit and have determined that your dependents Social Security Numbers (SSN's) have not been provided as part of your benefit record. We need you to provide the Social Security Numbers for all of your covered dependents so that we may comply with this law...."
Dear Fellow Readers of HTBI, aren't there specific laws against using an SSN as an ID Number? Do any of you see a way out of this "requirement"? I will drop off the policy before I let this employer have my SSN - with that in mind, does anyone know of an alternative or work-around I can use before I go that route? I'd love to quote a law in my response.
Nona, , Age: 44
Just an update for you JJ.
I just opened an account at a Canadian bank - A US DL and Passport were sufficent for ID and a US address was accepted.
Bill, , Age: 40
(Details are in the e-book "Invisible Money.")
This is for those who are still having trouble maintaining Internet Privacy. This is an article that gives good advice on what to do. A lot of the products that are mentioned are free and do a good job in keeping your computer clean.
If you want to have an extra level, you could have two OS-operating systmes-on your computer. I have Windows Vista and Ubuntu 9.04. I use Windows for use of printers and other hardware that may not be compatable with Ubuntu or Linux based OS. The method of installing dual boot OS is easy and can be found by googling dual boot or some similar term and following the directions.
Before installing your Unbuntu, make sure that you have all the software you will be using for your Windows. Make sure you keep all your data on an external Hard Drive. I do and just keep some pictures on my computer for wallpaper changing. If you make a mistake in installing the 2 OS, just start over, it is a learning experience and enjoyable. With Windows 7 due out next July, you may want to practice with the OS you have now.
URL #1: http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig9/green-p2.1.1.html
Katie- You are where I was at not too long ago. (It seems like yesterday but now I have a houseful of teenagers.)
Dear...part of what you're struggling with is just the season of life. When my kids were toddlers and privacy not near the concern that it is now...things can just be plain ole hard and lonesome. Especially since you're working with your hubby. That alone keeps you, well, alone.
Now as far as privacy. I've had to pick and chose how far I'm going to go with this. I have had to catch myself getting downright paranoid over privacy things and THAT'S not where I want to live. So I guess where that leaves me is this: I pick my friends carefully (and it sounds like you do to.)
I have the added twist that I'm a published writer so I AM on the net. One must evaluate what works for them.
When my kids are grown and we are more free financially, we know what we will do to step up our privacy. But for right now, I choose not to get too panicky, exercise discretion and enjoy my kids as much as possible because the years really do fly by quickly.
Hope this helps....You truly have the most important job on the planet!
It's been mentioned at least twice on this forum that some brokerages check clients' street addresses to make sure they're residences, using Google maps and zillow.com. Do all brokerages do this?
Do banks do this too, for ordinary checking account holders? I want to know if I could get away with giving my bank either a CMRA address or the street address of my post office with the PO box number as the apartment number.
I am finding myself discouraged daily by the difficulty in maintaining friendships with any sense of privacy in this high-speed world. I do not keep friendships with dishonest people or worry more than the "slip of the tongue" possibility that these people would reveal personal info, but realize the sometimes severe consequences of such and don't know how to balance it all. It is becoming difficult to stay in touch, which is hard for a stay-at home mom w/2 young kids (who works on husband's biz on the side).
Does anyone else struggle with this or have found some ways to cope without handing out your cell # to everyone, e-mailing everything, texting or Facebook, etc.? Do you compromise with your friends - suggestions? Thank you.
In my case, it was a matter of wanting to get the "special deal" that was being offered online. I considered that I had a set-up arranged where I could get that "special deal" without forfeiting my privacy *as long as they would allow delivery to my UPS box*, but since they wouldn't, I didn't get the "special deal." Sometimes the price of privacy is a free $25 airtime card.... :)
Yes, I'm well aware that I can walk into any retail store, dressed in cross-gender clothing, wearing a hat and sunglasses, and buy a prepaid phone, then give bogus info upon activation, and only use the phone for calls to parties that can't be cross-referenced back to my true identity. But in the particular case I referenced, I was only trying to get the free $25 airtime card. As annoyed as I was with the customer service people, I remained very aware that ordering through the internet was not my only option.
Again, in my particular case, after many conversations with customer service people, it was clear that the problem was not in my means of payment or the PO box billing address on file with my bank. The problem was in the delivery address. T-Mobile only allows delivery to a residential home or a place of business where the recipient/customer is the one personally signing for the box. Again, that's a fraud prevention tactic on their part to avoid customers claiming they never received the product. They do not accept the UPS Store's signature as a substitute for the customer's signature. They appear to have a database of all the UPS Store addresses - they KNEW that I was attempting to arrange delivery to a UPS store, and they refused to deliver to that location.
Ultimately, no harm done except for the triple-hold on my debit card while their "fraud department" sorted out the details...
JJL is still "spot-on" with his advice that one needs a nominee and a residential-appearing ghost address. T-Mobile Prepaid Online Purchasing Department continues to prove that.
Re: Jim #6231
You wrote, "Today I found out my home address has been compromised and the only source I can think of would be the school district (from registering our children) or my landlord (filling out a credit app) ..."
I see both as possible leaks. In the future never give a school your true home address and have a nominee handle the rental if you can't bypass the credit check somehow.
There has been quite a bit of talk here recently about telephones so I thought I should chime in and give my advice
Stop using landline phones, altogether they're overpriced and can easily be tied to your physical address!
Prepaid cellphones now offer unlimited plans for $50 and up per month depending on provider so you don't even need a landline, but if you want something similar use Skype or Vonage.
You can buy prepaid cellphones almost anywhere in person and use bogus personal details/pay cash. You're far better off doing that than ordering a phone with credit card.
Nelly, , Age: 32
Dorothy, when I had recent trouble with the prepaid debit card, it was because the vendor was worried that the card issuer might back out of payment if there were a fraud claim later on. They gave me the option of wiring the money or mailing a cashier's check if I wanted to remain anonymous. Pretty inconvenient and expensive since I had already purchased the prepaid card, but still an option.
Can you just walk into a T-Mobile store and buy the phones and cards in cash? Would T-Mobile be more cooperative if you offered to mail a cashier's check or money order as payment? For us, it's a privacy/safety issues, but I think for the vendors it's sometimes just about not getting ripped off. And unfortunately, I do think that some of the things we do to protect ourselves (like K7.net numbers and mail drops) makes us look suspicious to vendors who fear becoming fraud victims. Good luck!
I have found it impossible to order T-Mobile prepaid phone cards and phones to have them delivered to my UPS store mailing address.
I was using a debit (not credit) card that was tied to a checking account I opened in an out-of-state bank where the out-of-state bank was given my (local to the out-of-state bank's) cousin's address initially, then my PO box as a "mailing address". Apparently T-mobile has the capacity to ascertain that the UPS Store's address is NOT a residential house or apartment.
I was quite frustrated with the whole thing, but I never found a workable solution to get the T-Mobile order delivered to an address that wasn't connected with a residential address. They outright REFUSED to deliver my order to the UPS Store. After several tense conversations with their customer service reps, I determined that the problem was NOT that my bank account was tied to a PO box. The problem was that they KNEW that they KNEW that they KNEW that my shipping address was a UPS Store.
It appears to me that a nominee combined with a ghost address that appears to be an actual house on google maps is the only way to go these days.... Sad but true.... And who knows how long even that will continue to be effective in preventing databases from discovering where we sleep at night????
I have often purchased items over the internet with prepaid debit cards, and as long as the cards are registered with my CMRA mailing address (so that shipping and billing addresses match), I have never had a problem.
Recently, I ordered something from a small company new to me, and they declined to process my order unless I gave them my landline phone number so that they could verify my identity through something they called RSA Identity Check. I never give my landline to vendors since it is tied to my physical address, and I'm afraid they will give it to UPS or FedEx, who would likely share/sell the info.
Does anyone know what this RSA Identity Check is? Are others having increasing trouble ordering things over the internet with privacy or was this a fluke? I am also wondering if giving a K7.net phone number for messages was what caused the problem. Has anyone else had trouble with those K7 numbers looking suspicious to vendors? I'm just wondering if there is some other way to order over the internet without giving away my privacy. The prepaid cards are so convenient and just like cash. Thanks.
Can you supply a few tips on how to maintain your privacy and handle repairs on major appliances that one cannot do themselves? What about deliveries?
Jane, , Age: 40
Have you ever used a NM LLC (with apostille) or some other entity to privately register motor vehicles in Europe? What about registering the vehicle in one EU country although you live in another? I've been to Tenerife twice, and it would be interesting to purchase a vehicle there and bring it back to Italy!
Dave, , Age: 29
The above information comes from a UK friend in Lanzarote (Canary islands). He has not yet tried to actually license a car in this way.
As a side note, I am just now planning to order an apostille for a NM LLC to be used by a client in Europe who will open a bank account in Portugal.
Is it true that if someone sends me a letter without a return address, that I will not be allowed to receive it?
Jennifer, , Age: 24
Meanwhile, if any of you Canadian readers have had some problems with this, please let us know. In fact, if a few of you wish to help out, e-mail me your address. I'll send you a test letter and you can tell me if you receive it.
What is your experience in dealing with Currency Exchange places in Airports or near Borders? Or do you have a preferred method of exchanging a small amount of money?
Nathan, , Age: 25
(1)What is the best way to keep a bank account private?
(2)Do you recommend using a LLC for this?
... 2) No.
From the web site with more links and information: "IBM Research has been scrutinizing the call-detail records of 'one of the largest mobile operators in the world'. By analyzing who calls whom, and for how long, IBM claims its patent-pending snooping software can now identify circles of 'friends' who tend to exhibit the same profit-threatening behavior. 'We believe that our analysis is a first of its kind that exploits the underlying social network in a telecom call graph”
URL #1: http://yro.slashdot.org/story/09/08/01/1946208/IBM-Uses-Call-Detail-Records-To-Identify-Friends
Richard, , Age: 30
Have you found a new telephone card that will not reveal your number to those you are calling? The old one you recommended in your book now reveals the number you are calling from.
David, , Age: 44
I forgot to ask whether an ID number (such as passport number) is recorded anywhere, either by hand or on a computer, when cashing a postal money order. I wouldn't mind showing my passport when cashing it as long as the unique ID number isn't copied down, thereby linking me personally with the money order.
Dave, , Age: 29
Could you not make the money order out to "Cash" and then scribble a signature endorsement on the back and then deposit into your bank account via ATM? A friend of mine does that with checks he takes in as payments. With it made out to cash there is no record of who got paid. Additionally, he is not present when the deposit is processed; so there is no one asking for ID. Or you could just trade it with someone for cash or use it to pay a bill.
Iris, , Age: 40
Others may already know this; but I just tried it and it works. I have broadband with Verizon; they have a phone number attached to it. I tried calling that number and a nice recording comes on and tells me that the wireless customer is unavailable at the time; please try again later. This sounds like the message given when you call a person who uses a prepaid phone and has ran out of minutes, but still has the phone number. So this may be something others can use, knowing the number would never be answered. Then they can give some excuse for not answering if need be.
Iris, , Age: 40
Today I found out my home address has been compromised and the only source I can think of would be the school district (from registering our children) or my landlord (filling out a credit app).
I need to find out where the other party obtained my info.
Also, I need to know if they may have just used a good people finding search engine. Any suggestions on any of these as well would be appreciated.
Jim, , Age: 46
I have a couple questions about USPS money orders:
1. Is ID required to cash a blank money order (where neither the payer nor payee's name is filled in)?
2. Has anyone ever encountered a situation where a post office doesn't have enough cash on hand to cash a money order? What happens in that situation?
2. Yes, that happens often if you go early in the morning. You will be asked to return late in the day, or the next day, or perhaps go to a larger post office.
Jack: I worked for a very large Fortune 20 company and we had over 100 company cars and trucks in Texas. All paperwork for the vehicles were issued through New Jersey Corp to Texas DMV. No Drivers Licence was ever shown and DMV has no idea who each driver was. Vehicles were owned in New Jersey and registered in Texas with proper insurance.
Perhaps the clerk Jim was dealing with was trying to be difficult.
I'm having difficulty titling a vehicle in Texas in a NMLLC without showing my DL.
I have told the TXDOT that the LLC owns the vehicle and not me and this is their response: "You will still register the vehicle in the name of the LLC. However,
an agent of the business still needs to file a copy of their license in
the county the vehicle will be operated. The vehicle may have many
different drivers, but one driver needs to be the agent to file the
Any advice on how to overcome not having to show your DL?
Assuming there is no way around this, then:
Is any of your DL information shown on the title/registration?
How easy will it be for the DL to be linked to the vehicle?
Note to readers:
... Jim is purchasing the car from a dealer, not a private party. However, the message from the TXDOT appears to cover all registrations--something I have not heard before.
Can any of you Texans with cars registered in LLCs help Jim out, please?
Drake and Iris,
thanks for the good advice. I like the idea of a prepaid but don't know which one is best. sorry if this sounds odd but can someone eavedrop on a prepaid? thanks
mary, , Age: 54
In addition to the advice already given; keep a log of what you say, to whom, and when. If information gets out; you could pinpoint if information is being spread by whomever you are speaking with or if someone is listening in on your calls. You could look into getting a prepaid phone that no one knows you have and would be harder to trace. Or if you are really concerned about what you need to speak about; do so in person and avoid any phone.
Iris, , Age: 40
"Is there a way to find out if someone is doing this and who it is?"
Over time, yes. Counter-Surveillance. First though, ask yourself why you think you might be a target. If you think the answer is yes, then ask yourself who would put you under surveillance and what would they hope to learn by doing so.
Then you can determine when they may be listening and create a scenario where they may show themselves. By being observant and thinking on your toes, you may be able to identify them. Professional assistance may be necessary. Be prepared to pay industry prices for professional services rendered if you go that route. Otherwise, have some fun with your friends and prospective eavesdroppers.
Drake, , Age: 34
It seems unbelievable to me that someone can sign up for a service that not only can listen in on my cell phone whether on or off but can actually find out where I am at!!
Is there a way to find out if someone is doing this and who it is?
Mary, , Age: 54
Yet another example of the higher educational system breakdown. Trina Thompson is suing her college to get back all of her tuition ($70,000). Despite the college's promises to "land her a job" since graduating in April, she is still unemployed. I'm sure we'll be seeing many more of these lawsuits in the near future.
URL #1: http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local-beat/College-Grad-Cant-Find-Job-Wants--Back-52304162.html
Mike, , Age: 30
I work in an office building on airport(CVG) property that is rented by a shipping company.
Merlin, , Age: 25
Jack: What industry does Merlin in Cincinnati work in? An airport of Federal Building? If not this has to be a very depressing place to work. The management wants to make sure your not a crazy with a weapon on a daily basis everytime you go to work? Your right; change jobs.
Paul, , Age: 58
We didn't have these security screenings when I started the job well over a year ago. I've checked both my employee handbook and contract and it mentions nothing about security screenings or searches. When I pointed this out to my boss he told me he would find the right person in the company to answer my questions. In the mean time I was/am just curious as to what my rights in that regard are, whether at work or elsewhere.
Merlin, , Age: 25
I started to order an e-book and then I bumped up against Pay Pal with it's intrusive questions. I had been planning to use my American Express Gift Card. I would like to make a purchase, please advise how I should deal with this impediment. Thank you.
Ned , , Age: 65
At my place of employment we are required to go through a metal detector and must place all items carried in pockets on a conveyor belt to go through an x-ray screening. My question(s) is, do they have a legal right do this? Is there any legal precedent for this? Isn't this an invasion of privacy? Don't they have to be government agency to have any jursdiction or right to search you? Thanks.
Merlin, , Age: 25
I've bought them at the mall with no questions asked...But the grocery store is much more convenient for me. Most stores have displays of all sorts of gift cards.
Chris, , Age: 44
I have purchased Simon cards in a mall before. I paid in cash, and at that point they were ready to use in a store.
I wanted to use them online, so when I got home I registered them at Simon's website with a fake name and the address of a public library in a far away state. As long as you use the same name and address, you can use them for online purchases with no problem. (Just be sure to use a shipping address that is different from your public library billing address!)
No SSN was ever required.
Although Simon says you cannot use them for purchases outside of the US (and maybe Canada, I don't remember), I have used them for online purchases from retail sites in other countries without trouble.
We have the opportunity to buy real property from a seller who has it titled in his Living Trust, but who is willing to create and retitle it in a NM LLC. We would then acquire his LLC and be the invisible owners. He also has a Trust bank account to pay property-related bills like taxes and utilities which he is willing to rename in the LLC and use his information already on file with the bank; this bank account would also become ours on purchase of the LLC interest.
This seems similar to taking over someone else's PO Box for privacy, any thoughts on getting both the real property and the bank account in the name of an LLC he creates and transfers to us??
I just went to look about buying on the Simon prepaid visa cards and right before buying it online, they asked for a date of birth and social security number. Does anyone know if they run them to see if you put the right ones? Does anyone have an experience of going inside a Simon Mall and buying the card in person???
Jerry, , Age: 45
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