This document will be very complicated, very detailed, have extremely paranoid elements, and because of the large scope of the document, it will be a work in progress, evolving as I have time. For those who need the information, it is better to give them something now than nothing for a very long time.
My Quick and Slightly Advanced Setup for Anonymity
As I’ve explained in the previous installments, total anonymity will involve chaining together a sequence of independent anonymity tools.
The absolute minimum level of protection I use when I need total anonymity is:
JonDonym -> SSH -> VPN -> Someone Else’s Wifi
And I do all this from only one PC, a $250 netbook I paid for with cash. That netbook contains absolutely no personal information or files, and no software installed on it and no services I access from it can traced back to me. I paid for JonDonym, my SSH account, VPN, and what software is on the netbook via anonymous online credit cards I paid for in cash. All purchases being made themselves through anonymous means (to purchase the first set of services I used out of town coffee shops while I was on a business trip).
For uber paranoid reasons all my connections with this netbook to the internet are done using shared wifi, either a neighbor’s open wifi or preferably that of a coffee shop/restaurant/hotel/etc.
To add extra protection the VPN services I choose are foreign, located in countries with problematic US relations. The SSH accounts I purchases are also foreign, but in different countries also with problematic US relations.
To pierce my anonymity you would need to somehow pierce four totally separate layers of protection, each of which alone should in theory be wholly sufficient. To legally achieve this you would need to get the help of at least four (and likely seven) separate commercial entities, located in at least four (and likely six) different countries, two layers of which are in countries which are disinclined to help. And even if all of those should fail you’d still have the problem of determining who I was since the connection I am on is shared and would require a physical presence and executing search warrants to identify me amongst other likely neighbors or coffee shop/restaurant patrons.
The beauty of this system is that it is relatively easy to set up (< 1 hour), relatively cheap ($250 + $20/month), and relatively idiot proof (you can screw up one or two layers and still be fine).
I will later discuss how the computer itself can be secured such that no evidence remains there of any online activity.
Obviously I do not condone using these methods for anything illicit! The bandwidth and latency are such that this method is wholly unsuitable for file sharing, porn, or anything else beyond exercising your right to free and unmonitored inquiry and communication.
More to come, including additional details about setup, some suggestions for which services to use, and a lot of information on securing your computer to leave no evidence behind.