What if privacy is a trap

This question periodically comes to my mind several times.

Knowing that the government has a backdoor directly into the chips to track you like Intel ME or something similar like the Pegasus project and they are completely inaccessible and also knowing that there are hundreds of secret bases producing super hyper mega secret technologies…

What if the government further strengthened and expanded the tracking components of a cell phone that installed GrapheneOS or LineageOS. Or from a user who uses Tor or Tails or who uses a true VPN.

What I want to say is that if I were a villain with almost unlimited power to track my enemies, it would be much more effective and useful to know what the people who install these programs are researching, doing, etc… than tracking a guy who has never googled “how to become more private” or who only uses social media. Did you understand my point? Of course the government tracks everyone’s data, but it’s much more interesting for them to track people on privacyguides.com than on tiktok.com. Anyway, this is a paradox, if you know you have a monster in your wardrobe and if he knows you want to get him out, he will hide better or even attack you, now if you don’t know he exists , he would just stay as usual.

Sorry if the examples are not good.


I guess there is nothing you can do about, right?


At the very least we have a good time tinkering!


Dear Sir,

I am your assigned NSA analyst watching over your posts on privacy sites.
We understand that you have some problems with surveillance and will get back to you in person soon.

Thanks for your understanding.


Interesting question.
I would encourage you pin down, what are you seeking digital privacy from?
This is why people here often say “Depends on your threat model”

Privacy and Security is not about absolutes and extremes for everyone. Most of us will be fine with just implementing low hanging fruits and revisit them once a year. There is a need for a healthy balance of privacy habits but still using services we need to exist and function in today’s very digital, online world.


The problem with your paradox is that it crumbles with faced with principle of parsimony (Occam’s Razor). While the government does have the ability to hone in on specific individuals, they generally practice a dragnet type approach to gather mass amounts of signals intelligence (see the NSA’s XKeyscore program).

Everyone has a reason for choosing to partake in the privacy lifestyle. These reasons generally help shape your threat model. It is my humble opinion that the most difficult privacy threat to surmount is government surveillance - especially from Five Eyes countries. Government surveillance isn’t super high on my threat model so I haven’t extensively researched it but I’ve always believed if you want to get out from the government’s purview that you need to be disconnected, although not many people are willing to go live in an off-grid cabin in the woods.


I am hiding in your walls as we speak

This also happens in real life when you can’t enter banks with sunglasses on. If you do that, the security guy would have a problem with you. I believe this is happening with digital privacy to some degree.

But being private is not always mean by using Tor, the ultimate VPN, etc. I wouldn’t not use Tor or VPN to update my apps, for example. And I wouldn’t expect Tor or any centralized VPN to protect me against the government. However, those privacy practices should be able to protect me from some random/unwanted/small-fish third-party. Better than do nothing whenever I think it’s necessary.

1 Like

This is how I look at conspiracies - if it requires 10,000+ 100,000+ people to take part and not spill the beans it’s a fantasy. Watergate had three people involved and they couldn’t keep that quiet.


Dear Analyst,

This is my first post on a privacy site, I recommend improving your tracking system.
And I use Windows with all the telemetry components, it’s easy to find me, isn’t it?.

Thanks you for understanding.

That was just a thought, a theory that I have an inclination to believe and if it’s true…
Yes, we have nothing to do. The point is that perhaps the best way to stay anonymous is to not try to be anonymous.

Yeah, I know this sounds like a FED post.

The SIGINT program can generate metadata and filter and know what was said in a telephone call without even listening to it, which means that if I want to know if that person talked about “cupcakes” they just give control+F to all the metadata and filter identifying who spoke in which context and being able to intelligently and automatically find possible “threats”. (Signals intelligence - Wikipedia)

I understand your point but I don’t think it’s a simple logic to apply Occam’s principle.

1 Like

Yes, seeking privacy against other users such as hackers or just a stalker is possible, now against the government, it is impossible.

Do you really think the governments are 100% effective and 100% efficient and everyones is psyched up and enthusiastic to deny your rights to privacy?

Whos to say that the branch of your average three letter government agencies assigned to surveil you isnt unlike Park and Recreation?

No, governments will be goverments. there will be top performers and there will be lazy people. But you can bet that the best are assigned to more worthwile targets. Not just you and me.

Bet on it. Bet that you can do better than the average people they have. Im more worried about corporations racing to the bottom to degrade all our privacies all for unenthical capitalistic profit.


That happens? :exploding_head: Here in Portugal I can tell you Ive entered banks with sunglasses on multiple times, it never ocurred to me that that might be a problem. Also, banks here dont generally have security on the premises

They can identify you just by the way you walk (Gait Recognition: How It Works, The System & The Algorithm — RecFaces)

1 Like

Yes, it happens in my country. You can’t wear sunglasses, hat, helmet, mask (you could wear mask in the previous COVID pandemic period).

But why? Do they actually store any significative amount of money in bank branches? Here, your average retail store will be more profitable to a thief than a bank!

They could if they already had me in a database and that would require my consent :wink:

They don’t store the money at bank branches. I think if anything happens, your face must be seen clearly. The same goes true for retail stores, supermarkets, etc.

Thieves in my country always were helmet, sunglasses, masks, etc. to hide their faces.

I obviously can see how it helps, its just something that people here would think only happens in North Korea or something :sweat_smile:. The only similar thing I can think about that we have here is that if youre on a bike you need to take your helmet off at petrol stations if you dont want to pre pay. You used to have people that filled up their bikes and just drove off (maybe it happened a dozen times over a period of time in the entire country but thats enough here for it to be considered widespread since every single time its national news :joy:)

1 Like