data retention

“OPSEC” (Operational Security or Operations Security)

data retention

Guest post by ‘restoringBrad’

What is OPSEC

Basically, OPSEC is used to describe a means of keeping sensitive or potentially sensitive information “secure” or private. This prevents said information from being used to your disadvantage by others.

Most of us have heard the advice about what to do if we’re going on vacation… arrange for a trusted neighbor to pick up the mail and the newspapers, don’t get on social media and tell the world that you’re going on vacation, use timers to turn lights on and off, etc.

We know that we shouldn’t put the boxes that our televisions, gaming consoles, computers, etc. came in out on the curb for everyone to see.

Most people teach their families that certain things are not talked about outside the home such as if weapons are owned, if there are expensive things in the house, when and where family members work, prepping supplies on hand, etc.

These are examples of Operational Security. They’re obvious in nature to most of us by now. We do these things to help minimize the odds of becoming the victims of crime. Most of us know that if we advertise, someone will notice.

Everyone has their own OPSEC parameters; i.e.- what they are comfortable with being known by others and what they want to remain private. Those parameters can touch on just about any aspect of life:

Open carry vs. concealed carry, family stick figure stickers on the vehicle back window or not (tells a lot about your family), photographs online or not, social media and to what level, comments online, it goes on and on.

This is a sort of “intuitive” form of OPSEC for most people. Information that we see and understand could have negative ramifications should it become public.

The reason I am bringing this up is because there really is a detachment for many people when it comes to information we don’t see but is nevertheless collected, aggregated, and analyzed by algorithms continuously.

This is information that most of us are either not really aware of, or we do not assign the same level of sensitivity. “Out of sight = out of mind”, right?

This information that you don’t see is about YOU.
It covers almost everything about you.

There are protections afforded to us by law when it comes to the collection, retention, and use of information by the government regarding United States Citizens… right?

There is much less protection when it comes to businesses doing the same.

Sure, banks cannot disclose your personal financial information to just anyone. Health care information is private to a degree as per HIPAA laws. But what about the information many people never give a second thought to?

Without delving into conspiracy theory, think about the following few examples:


Loyalty Cards/Membership Cards

These are great, right? I go to the store, gather the groceries I want, and when I get to the checkout I simply whip out my card and I get discounts on some of the items I purchased. Or I pull out my membership card so I can prove I am a member and thus am allowed to purchase the items in my cart.

It helps save a few bucks and that’s a good thing, right?

Sure, but it also personally identifies you and logs everything you bought.
Everything… Every time. Forever.

I have been told by employees of a few stores that require membership cards or offer loyalty cards that this data is kept forever. We’re not normally allowed to access it, but it is reviewed constantly by software.

Is that a bad thing?

Years ago, Forbes published an article titled “Kroger Knows Your Shopping Patterns Better Than You Do”, and they’re right. How? Because of that loyalty card and those electronic coupons. They also know if you lean more towards the health food or the bacon and beer.

So how can this be a bad thing? Well, does any other entity currently have access to this information? Will any other entity have access in the future? I bet health insurance companies would love to get their hands on it! Think maybe some of them might be trying to become one of those “associates” that some loyalty card programs warn in the fine print they may share information with?

So, what do you think could happen if insurance companies started using this kind of data?


Credit / Debit Cards

Everything you have ever paid for with these can be retrieved. Sure, there is no itemized receipt on your credit card bill, but it’s been recorded all the same.

I cannot find a definitive answer as to how long those records are kept and by whom, but I suspect that they are another “forever” thing.

I once had to return a faulty item to the store, but could not find my receipt. When I explained this to the guy at the customer service desk, he asked if I had paid using a credit card. When I advised I had, he asked for the card and swiped it. On the screen was a list of everything I had ever bought at that store using that card. Everything.

Sure, that’s just one store, but what about all the other places both in real life and on the Internet that we used plastic?

I called my credit card company back in 2008 or so to ask them to help me with a problem. I had used my card on a major nationwide retailer’s website and had not received one of the items that I had paid for. The representative at my card company was able to tell me everything I had purchased. Everything.

Ever buy long term storage food online? Ammunition? Firearms accessories? Books? Supplies? Even if you used a prepaid card, someone somewhere has a record that you bought it. Who has or may someday have access to that information?


EMR (Electronic Medical Records)

By January 01, 2014, ALL private and public healthcare providers were required to start using EMR by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

It also prodded them to use EHR (Electronic Health Records) which are apparently different from EMR. EHR provides a comprehensive medical history of a patient while EMR is just the medical history from a single health care provider.

Think about that for a moment. EMR is just the records from a single health care provider. EHR is everything from all the health care providers you’ve seen, lumped together in a big data file with your name on it.

This could help save lives, no doubt about it. It can also work against you.

Ever seek care from the V.A.? Ever had a doctor you simply did not “click” with? What did he or she say about you in your file?

I once had a nurse react very badly when the doctor told me to disrobe and she saw my firearm. The doctor chastised her for her attitude and verbal attack, but the doctor isn’t the one entering my medical data into these records. Did her sudden hatred for me as a firearms owner skew what was entered?

These databases of your medical information are controlled at the federal level, and are available to more than just healthcare providers. There is indication that they are available to all the alphabet agencies (as evidenced by one of them using these records to add numerous veterans to the NICS no firearms list). I think they are available to the department of health as well.


Mobile Phones

Good luck figuring this one out. There are conflicting reports and privacy policies out there which indicate your mobile provider keeps call logs, text messages, multi-media messages, text logs, IP sessions, etc. for anywhere from a few hours to forever.

Sure, you can contact your provider and ask, but you may be getting information that isn’t accurate. Look at the problems many people have had with mobile phone companies just in regards to plans and pricing! Consider the investigations and lawsuits that have been able to “retrieve” long since deleted SMS and MMS messages.

The thing to consider is what information is kept and who may have access to it.

And let us not forget the “Stingray” type devices out there. These pick up all the calls in a given area, not just a targeted handset. My neighbor told me that he can log into his mobile account and literally see every single thing his sons do with or on their mobile handsets. He can read their texts, look at MMS messages, the whole 9 yards, and apparently does not need physical access to their handsets to do it.



Applications or “Apps” on your phone can be a privacy nightmare. Scrolling through the detailed permissions many of them require should give any sane person, and especially every prepper pause for concern.

Years ago, my wife and I once had an application on our first smart phones that was nothing more than a notepad program for grocery shopping that automatically updated on both of our handsets. It was even marketed as a grocery list. If I added an item, say milk, it would show up on her list. We thought it would be handy and used it for a few weeks before I had to reset my phone and a plethora of permission pop-ups starting appearing.

Even though this application could only be used for entering text (such as the items on your grocery list), it required permission to access and activate our phone still camera, video camera, and microphone, as well as required access to all data, text and multimedia messages, photo gallery, contact lists, call records, and location. Seems like allot of required access for nothing more than an auto-updating grocery list app.

More: Read Part 2 (Operational Security on the World Wide Web)


  1. Good topic. Thanks!

    A snippet from a book I’m currently writing:

    Notha let Atuan deal with the kid’s concerns, while she went to work verifying identity. A backdoor into an otherwise innocuous app allowed her to not only verify his location, but tap into the camera on his phone without actually activating the screen. Why would a note-taking app ever need access to the camera? But people clicked accept without considering the ramifications.
    As expected, the phone was in his hands, his face tipped slightly upward from the screen. The profiles recorded during their first clandestine meeting matched. When he turned his head slightly the eye pattern matched. She activated another app and the fingers typing on the screen left their images to be analyzed.
    Full identity match.

    1. Lauren;
      I do believe you have an “interesting” sense of scripture.
      Worked for DHS did ya?

      1. Huh? Department of Housing Surplus? Or is that Huffing Soap? :) I just have a good idea what’s possible.

  2. You have no privacy
    Everything you do, say, buy, etc is collected and stored somewhere by someone or something,
    Anyone who thinks they are anonymous is living in lala land

  3. Yes, very good article. Very serious concerns. Very VALID concerns.
    –re your comment “Did her sudden hatred for me as a firearms owner skew what was entered”===I would guess YES. And, once something is entered by any medical “professional” in your medical record, it is pretty much impossible to remove. Think….”patient was aggressive”/”patient was irritable”/”patient was confused”/”patient may have PTSD”/”patient was flirty”/”patient made sexually suggestive gestures”/etc…All things once does not want in one’s medical record. I have heard some terrible reports of “comments” posted in medical/other official records.

    1. Yea, kinda makes ya want to remove the word professional from the term medical professional,,,,,

      1. When the Doctors get smart enough to take the word “Practice” down
        I will go to them. Until then—don’t think so.
        I also went 100% cash when I by ANYTHING.

        1. Sandismom/Honey
          They arent kidding when they say they are practicing, they are really just rolling dice most o the time.

  4. TPTB are reducing us to a bunch of zeros and ones…..Binary system, binary choice.
    Ever wonder why that word ‘binary’ is being pushed into the dialogue?

  5. Slightly different, but along the same lines….did you hear what Facebook is asking for? (my response is “seriously? and HUH?”…—-Facebook is asking folks to send them naked photos of themselves. Facebook says that only a “select” group of folks will view them (the local pervs?), and they will be used to block public posting in future “of that particular image”. So, you’all need a individual photo of each possible naked pose/situation, and get sending them off to Facebook. ————————————–Me, I am thinking folks should round up naked photos of pigs taking a dump and send them off.

      1. JJ—me, am not on it. Did think it is totally outrageous suggestion by FB. Have to wonder, who really is going to get/be viewing these photos. Myself, am still plugging for folks to inundate them with photos of naked farm animals doing what comes natural to farm animals.

    1. VPN’s and other online privacy issues are mentioned in the second half. They are not as safe as most people think.

  6. It is impossible to avoid all of these data mining efforts. I use cash for the more sensitive purchases whenever possible but that is only good locally. If you purchase on-line they have your address regardless of your method of payment. However there are ways to avoid closer inspection of your habits shopping locally. We never buy excessive amounts in one purchase. Instead we might make multiple trips. I also use other peoples loyalty cards and pay with cash so it cannot be traced back to me. Standing in line one time I said to the person behind me that I left my card in the car. Then I asked them if I could use their card or I will run out to my car if they don’t mind waiting. Opsec obviously wasn’t a concern for them.
    Then again if you buy about the same amount of food every week if wont look like you are stockpiling. Same with ammo. You can buy a couple of boxes say every two weeks and if anyone should question you about the ammo, you can tell them that you go target practicing every couple of weeks. If you buy 10 or 20 boxes at a time, that will get you noticed.

    1. Peanut,

      Good point on the loyalty cards. The stores do not check ID. Sign up for one with a random name, or perhaps the name of someone you don’t like. There is a store out here that also has gas stations. So your loyalty points add up and you can exchange them for free gasoline. I have an extended, estranged family member who is an utterly obnoxious human being. He’s been bragging for years how the loyalty program has been giving him ‘free gas’ due to some sort of mistake…… hehehe, yeah… that’s because “lost my card” and I type in his phone number at the POS terminal every time I make large, stock food purchases, and especially liquor.

      1. @ McGyver, the only card that we use is the one for the gas. It helps, especially when you get as much as $1 off per gallon. Every other loyalty card is someone else’s.

      2. At Kroger’s, I was given one from under the check out counter/cashier.
        There’s no way any info accompanies that card.

  7. Electronic Medical Records! I recently visited a doctor for the first time in years… in this country anyway. I was gobsmacked by the “firearms in the home” question. As my neck veins became distended, my wife jumped in and snarled: ‘NO!’ That was the first visit……

    Then all of a sudden I am getting these ‘special messages’ from my insurance, gently steering me toward “better choices in life” and “we want to help you to feel better”… they had all kinds of special programs for me. I thought maybe I was dying and missed something in my lab report. So I went through my chart with a comb….. Some IDIOT got my record mixed up with another patient…. had me listed as: “5 feet 8 inches, 220 pounds, diabetic”.

    Ummm.. I’m 6 feet tall and do my darndest to stay under 200… and my pancreas seems to be doing alright. It took me almost a full week of escalating phone calls and veiled threats to get some twerp to claim that they fixed my record.

    Thank you Barry Hussein! Now I need to consult a proctologist to try and extract the Federal Government from my ass.

    Ohhh! Wanna really have some fun? Try and inadvertently refill a ‘controlled’ medication at a different pharmacy, five days early… I thought those fokkers were going to phone the police. Sweet Jesus!!! Maybe I was trying to save an extra trip while I was there anyway getting something else filled. Maybe… I’m a ‘prepper’ and don’t like waiting until the last pill in the bottle. So on top of everything else, every pharmacy in the nation has an instant database to track everything ever filled in your name.

    Dammit! I miss going to Mexico for my healthcare. Hope it quiets down there pretty soon. Worst part of that trip was always US Customs. Bigger thugs you will never find.

    1. I left the box unchecked about firearms in the house and found that my doctor checked it for me. I’m also fed up with dentists etc asking for a full medical history.

      1. I keep thinking about that guy a few years ago. IRS put a tax lien on his airplane. So he very-personally delivered the aircraft, straight into the side of their regional office building . Why this man is not a folk hero and cultural icon, I do not know.

      2. Hey..been to an optometrist lately?? I began getting p***ed after 5 minutes.
        AND the receptionist, another tech, and the doctor asked if I was on any prescriptions–YEP–three times I was asked and it was written when I said ….NO! AND the doctor I will never use again said…quote….”oh, you are you; just don’t know it” unquote!!!!!

        OH, the Lord helped me keep my mouth shut.

        1. JJ—-interesting…”AND the doctor I will never use again said…quote….”oh, you are you; just don’t know it” unquote!!!!!”——–did they possibly make reference to all the drugs which end up in our water/food supply? otherwise, wondering what they meant.

  8. I’ve recently started playing with privacy on the computer and boy it’s enlightening. I use ghostery on firefox and some sites won’t let you read unless you unblock so that ads show. I said fair enough and unblocked the ads and these sites still wouldn’t work. I would have to go and actually disable the adblocker and I won’t do it. I have emailed a couple of places and told them I would be glad to unblock the ads but there seems to be 26 or so trackers and I will not unblock all the social tracking etc……. Also set up an account on proton mail. I can say that google, facebook, youtube, etc work with google but do not recognize or connect to proton email account. I also have ccleaner and am amazed at the hundreds of thousands of files that are created almost daily.

    1. aka… Try “Overlay Remover” plug-in. Makes me chuckle each time I right-click over those page blockers.

    1. Cutting the cord does no good. Do you have a phone,a job,a bank account,a social security number. own a car,rent or own a place to live ,go to a doctor ect? if they want to track you they can and will.

  9. For the tinfoil hat people like me…. Who want to avoid detection
    —–Basic home internet use nothing crazy just to avoid google tracking.—–
    For the web use Duck Duck Go as your primary search engine. It loads off of Google without the Google Trackers,
    Next Install Fire Fox with Private Browsing and Use the Ghostery Tracker Blocking.
    Make sure to install Malware Bytes For malware scanning
    —–Second level advanced——–
    Use a VPN Service combined with a Tor Browser
    Use TorBrowser
    —-More advanced trade craft for special projects….—-
    ****Purchase a burner Ipad or Kindle****
    **** Use it only on Public Wifi at McDonalds or Starbuckies out of your area for special “research Projects” make sure to pull out the battery when you travel or go to and from home. Same for your cell phone. Leave the battery out at home. You may want to store the touch pad at a secondary location. Make sure to wear a long brimmed baseball hat to avoid cameras. Don’t park in the parking lot… park away from surveillance cameras and walk into the establishment.
    I can write a whole article on this stuff. Including unsecured communications online that are not detectable by meta data miners…

    1. Few more things….forgot to mention place a piece of electrical tape over the cameras front and back for your burner ipad or kinndle. Be sure to purchase device in store with cash out of your area.
      You can even find second hand touch pads at pawn shops or computer repair shops.

      1. Awesome cant wait great article.
        You should see how plain jane my social media looks. Use it for work only.
        If you go completely off grid you can be flagged.

    2. You really don’t need to walk in–just sit in your car. If it’s within range, you’ll get a signal.

  10. Another seemingly innocent one is stores like Bass Pro and Cabelas asking you for your phone number as you go to check out. Or Wal Mart cashier asking you for your birth date when you buy certain items with cash.

      1. Or, what was that song? 8675309? I’ll bet lots of people use that number…

    1. I always reply that my birthday is April 1. If they want a year, I scramble it over a decade….

  11. Nice article. Hopefully part 2 includes the web connected “home assistants” the Big A Echo (Alexa) and the other ones. Made the mistake of gifting one in the house, good for music. Spooky though, was conversing about some canned, diced, potato we had with dinner; unrequested the “assistant” said “I’ll add that to your shopping list”. A conversation stopper for sure. Moved the device out of the room, next stop the trash after some modifications with a BFH. Always listening, spooky. (I can say spooky right?)

    1. Grey;
      Sir, I’m totally shocked that you would use such a word here on MSB….
      Well that should be on Ken’s list of Banned Words, right along with G/U/N and A/M/M/O
      Ok, back to my Gin Bottle :-)

      1. NRP:
        I know, I failed the societal regeneration and rejuvenation program evidenced by my word usage. I have received my societal demerits (2) for this transgression. Hopefully you’re imbibing the good stuff and not lighter fluid class. To stay on subject; the database is probably tracking the gin purchases…..

        1. Grey;
          Gin purchases are done at the local Sam’s Club by the case. Yes Sam’s Club tracks all of my buying habits, even the Gin and Toilet Paper…..
          And yes I’m on so many list I can’t count them all.
          BUT, as my Father would say, better to have them talking about you than to forget your name. Not really sure what he was saying, but it made sense to me HAHAHA
          BTW, Hi to my friends at DHS, hehehe :-)


    2. Grey, unfortunately I don’t mention those. They scared me from the get-go and my wife and I refuse to allow one into our home. I don’t know much about them other than what I honestly believe they are (eavesdropping devices we pay to install in our homes for the benefit of unknown parties) but I would like to see some good information on them. I’ve read some uber-spooky crap about them online and seen a few videos that reinforced our decision to never allow one in our home. One that comes to mind is a video of someone asking the device if anyone else was listening in on them. The device shut itself off without answering. This outcome was repeated several times.

      1. Grey & restoringBrad;
        The newer Dumb-Phones all have non-removable batteries, wonder why?????
        Find a small metal box or buy one of those EMP Bags, and drop that sucker in there for privacy. Even when turned off the Phone is still on….

      2. restoringBrad…Then too, many of the newer t.v.s have an always on listening feature. (and camera). When some of the companies were caught/questioned, of course they stated it was only to monitor consumer satisfaction. HUH? You all want to be careful what you discuss (or do) in front of your t.v.. —–example….”Samsung smart TVs mic is always listening on models like the PN60F8500, which have voice recognition (“Hi TV”), as well as a built-in microphone and camera”

      3. Yep,
        Dont want anything in my house that answers back other than my sweetheart!
        Also dont want a tv or game console with a camera

  12. Toward the beginning of the article, I do mention things like not mentioning firearms ownership outside of the home. I did not mention bumper stickers because I figured for most folks that should fall under the instinctive category. I did mention the family stick figure stickers because many people don’t realize the kind of information observers can glean from that happy little group of stick people on your vehicles back window.

    1. When I read what you wrote about bumper stickers in the article, I began to visualize many of the various things I’ve seen in the past- which indicate very clearly “who” that person is behind the wheel. I don’t have any bumper stickers on my truck. Keep em guessing…

    2. Just put my little pony stickers on the back of your BOV they’ll think your bat s crazy. They call dudes who like my little pony – Bronies

  13. My thanks to Ken for considering this to be included here. I knew it was really too long when I submitted it, and am glad he separated it into two parts.

    MSB is hands down the best prepper site, Ken keeps a loose, but good hold on it- allowing us to comment, give advice, and find fellowship with other preppers without the overt bragging and calls for violence that plague other prep sites.

    I’ve run across so many others who honestly never considered the stuff I wrote about, and figured I wanted to put it out there for the other good folks on MSB. Forewarned is Forearmed. Unless you’re playing sports, then forearmed is a penalty!

    1. restoringBrad;
      I will agree Ken is one hell of an Editor, as one that has submitted a couple of Articles I can say he done gooders hehehehe
      Can wait to see the follow-up article.
      I do have a question though, is 600 rolls of TP to much??? LOL DON’T forget the humor in this all, a good laugh is GREAT for the Soul. :-)

    2. Thanks!

      It’s really all of you ‘readers’ ;) who make this site great. Excellent input is the typical standard around here.

      I also enjoy the diversification of topics (like this one) rather than 100% Chicken Little ‘The Sky is Falling” 24/7.

      I’ve done some articles touching on OPSEC, but it’s great to get the viewpoint of others too. Will probably post ‘part 2’ tomorrow.

  14. I’ve been reading this site, almost daily, for several years now. I’ve often thought to comment on numerous topics. I never have until today. I am certainly not a computer guru, though I can stumble around and find what I need. Seems to me, if a person was inclined to do so, he/she could track comments back to this computer, no matter what a simpleton like me does to prevent it.

    I, like nearly everyone on this site, am striving to become even more independent. I have learned quite a lot from simply reading the comments of others. I hope I don’t regret “leaving a reply.” I guess no one would bother to trace/track a nobody like me, but just the thought of my privacy being invaded angers me. I don’t do fakebook or any other “social media,” never have and never will.

    Got my ham license awhile back. I have always had a large garden. I have always fished and hunted for food and fun. I live very rural. I enclosed my garden with 5′ chain link several years ago. It was either that or give up gardening. The deer and other critters weren’t leaving me much. Oh they could still jump the fence if they wanted, but none have in the years since the fence. I help the wife can various things from the garden and we have some fruit trees, apple, pear, and peach. Used to have 4 plum trees, but they died out about 4 years ago. I assume fruit trees get old and die too. I’ve read tons of stuff on chickens and I’m seriously considering some laying hens. Wow would I have a lot to learn. Been thinking I could make a tunnel of sorts around the interior of the chain link, with chicken wire. That way, the chickens could roam the perimeter of my garden and eat a few insects along the way. My thought was to make the tunnel about 2′ wide by 2′ tall. Just kinda angle it up and attach to the chain link. Build a small coop in one corner of the garden, for nesting. I can’t let them roam free, as there are too many dogs that roam the area. My dog would love to eat a chicken I’m sure. Do chickens need room to flutter and semi-fly, to be healthy? Don’t get me wrong, I’m only thinking small here. Maybe 4-6 laying hens. I love country eggs.

    God I hope I don’t regret this “leave a reply.” I’m very tempted to delete this whole thing. OPSEC violation!!!

    Maybe raising a few rabbits would be easier. We like rabbit meat There are quite a few cotton-tails in the area and during the winter a few always find my plate. Oh wait, I don’t know if I like rabbit eggs or not. Any advice on potential chickens from scratch would be appreciated. Hope I didn’t violate any rules by wandering off topic too far.

    1. Plainsmedic;

      First of all, welcome to the “fun” side of the BLOG, and thanks for commenting, I’m betting you will never regret the move.

      The Tunnel for the Chickens, personally I would make it a lot smaller, 1″X1′ would probably do it, chickens will find it, and the smaller would help keeping the Dogs out better.

      PS; If the .gov wants to find ya, not commenting will not help, just being on the Net makes some a target, so relax and join the Fun.

      PSS; Mint Juleps, with Gin or KY Bourbon?

      1. NRP;
        One Inch by one foot???? really dude?
        Sorry all, 1 foot by 1 foot, sheeesh
        AND make sure to put a closeable gate/door on the tunnel.

        1. Well, the one inch by one foot sized tunnel would definitely keep the dogs out !

    2. Plainsmedic,
      Great to hear from you! If you do the chicken thing make sure what ever tunnel or gate you have closes securely at night, and that chickens are protected…
      Laying hens are so easy to raise, my teen daughter has been doing most of it by herself since she was 11. We also raise rabbits, started in early 2017. Love it!
      I would be glad to help with any rabbit questions.
      I ate slow cooked rabbit with garlic, thyme, pepper and salt for breakfast, yummo!
      Brown/wild rice, peas, rabbit and strawberry/mango smoothies are for lunch
      hope you and our friends here can join our virtual lunch :)
      Best to you and welcome again :)

  15. If this were to be an all inclusive list, the article would probably become a book ;)

  16. Regarding store loyalty / rewards programs:

    We have a hardware store the next town over. I frequent them fairly often because there’s not much around here without driving a half hour to get to a bigger box store.

    That said, they have a loyalty program and you can get cash back rewards after you spend x-amount of money.

    When I first started going there, they would ask at the register, “Are you a rewards member?”. I would always say, “No, I would rather remain anonymous”.

    They would try to talk me into joining but I would always politely refuse.

    After awhile they got to know me (I’m the one who always politely says “no”, and none of them ask me anymore.

    It goes to show you how much your data is worth to them when they start offering cash rewards and other such enticements.

  17. New TV’s.

    A few years ago I bought a new TV. It came with a 2nd remote control which actually was (is) a small tablet.

    Turns out that it’s connected to the Google ‘mother ship’ with it’s bells and whistles. I would not use that remote because I didn’t need to. I have other ways to control the TV.

    That said, I noticed that even after shutting that remote OFF, a few days later the battery would be dead and the remote would need to sit on its charger. What does that tell you? That it’s NEVER OFF! The thing was probably listening (it does have a built in microphone).

    So you know where it is now? Sitting in a drawer in another room with a dead battery.

    1. Ken;
      Same thing with the Dumb-Phone, and have you noticed the Google Search has a “Ok Google” function? ya think maybe the phone and Google are also listening all the time on the phone no differently than Alexi ????

      1. Alexi is just the public face of something that already existed. Yes, my paranoia is showing. No, I don’t care.

    2. Hmm, never though about the fact that the batteries drain without use…just kind of took it for granted. That makes sense, though.

  18. My mobile phone is truly a dumb phone. A flip phone. That battery is removable. It’s just an emergency phone.

    I know that triangulation is possible for location when it’s on, but if it’s off, it’s really off.

    I like that!

    1. Ken;
      Thinking June 2020 is going to be a very bad for your OPSEC… HAHAHAHA
      But what the heck, I’ll bring the Popcorn and Gin :-)

    2. Actually if the TPTB want it on can be turned on remotely…speaker activated, no lights, no sound, nada…..that’s one of the reasons no one is allowed to take a cell phone into a classified area….doesn’t matter how old it is…if it’s a cell phone…gotcha…..I’m already on the list with Ms lauren so just thought I’d add another checkmark beside my name, can’t let her be higher on the most wanted list than me… :-)

  19. First,,,,great article. It keeps one thinking.

    Second…..I remind DH daily to watch what he says around the smart phones. Someone may be listening.

    Third….I tell my kids regularly DO NOT PUT pictures or vacations on the web or any social media….but they claim it to be the best way to share with each other??? UGH

    Lastly….I run my entire office through my smart phone. dangerous, I know, but necessary as we have no land lines on my mountain, AND I am constantly driving anyway. SO, I am careful how I respond to everything.

    Quite frankly,to me, my life is pretty exciting, so I guess someone is having a good time reviewing all my activities, travels, work/caseload etc. But seriously? What is the point of doing that. Seems like a tremendous waste of resources as I do nothing unlawful or even close and never will. And I DON’T respond to surveys, questionnaires or any of the like. I file my licenses and whatever necessary to exact my profession and privileges and leave it at that. OPSEC as best you can in an electronic world. Disconnect from cable tv….it has no value anyway AND STAY AWAY FROM ANYTHING GOOGLE OR AMAZON! peace folks

    1. Pioneer Woman, Though if you purchase Amazon products through links on our site, it will help to keep us on the air. Without that revenue, this site would fold. Unless there was another way to compensate for that – even though we do receive revenue through our direct advertisers (sidebar). Just the way it is right now…

  20. Everyone’s comments are very interesting about OPSEC but security here seems primarily to focus on just information. For me security is much more encompassing. For example, I am more concerned about something that is far more than information and almost a certainty and very deadly: the outbreak of Ebola that is taking place in Africa. Ken, I am not trying to change the subject but now that Ebola has broken out in very large cities it is sure to spread to Europe and to the U.S. and my question is how are we going to secure the safety of our families from such a contagious killer? How are we as preppers going to have to modify our OPSEC? Information OPSEC may not seem to be very important compared to operational security of the family unit during an out break of something like Ebola.

    1. Texas Boy…For certain it is a big worry. Earlier today I read that 3 persons who had been in “legal” quarantine in DRC for Ebola had escaped, eventually found, but they did not know where they had all been/who they all had contact with. Two since died..———

      ——-Ken has some good post on this blog /with many comments re us doing what we can to secure us/home/selves if this or other comes to our shores.

      (link please Ken?)

      1. Pandemic is off topic, although can be searched on this site via the search link.

      2. Search page for Ebola.

        All the articles on MSB that mention ebola are listed.

    2. Ebola is only a spreads by stupid actions by those infected and displaying symptoms. It (presently) spreads only through close contact with bodily fluids of an infected person already displaying symptoms. An infected person whose infection has not progressed to the point of their being sick does not pass the virus to another. During the last outbreak, even though some travelers to the hot zone in Africa contracted the disease and returned to America, the only spread to Americans was due to an idiot who disobeyed instructions to report to a hospital if he experienced any fever in the first week after going home. As I recall, he had sex with his partner even though he was experiencing symptoms, before reporting to the hospital (this was in Dallas as I recall). The other transmissions were due to health care providers failing to follow protocol while treating those travelers who had contracted the virus.

      Having said that, ebola is a virus. Viruses mutate. If it ever becomes airborne, then I’ll worry.

  21. As far as phone apps, if you are not paying for the product, you are the product. Your info will be given to people you don’t know and it’s unlikely they have your best interest ah heart.

    Free always has a cost associated with it.

    Most people are way too stupid to figure out that free has these sost.

  22. OSPEC, has many levels. Some of us are in fact “Gray”, some like me are not. Our system of survival needs every thing in between. ME? Well I know I’m a Public figure in my community, and the FBI knows me and has hauled me in to the lair once. So be it. I inform a lot of Patriots about “things” that helps them keep as low a profile as permitted. Just like here on MSB, I hope you Patriots can some times read between the lines I post. Example; Eagle One, Malheur, Bunkerville. I risk nothing, passing on info, my risks are plainly laid out for me already.

    BUT, there is a whole bunch of OSPEC, I would not reveal, about what I will do in an SHTF scenario. We are a long ways from an armed conflict as in Civil War. Most of the Patriots I know, still believe in ‘The Pen is Mightier than The Sword.” Popular vote, staying in the battles to educate the masses. There is strong OSPEC, to work to bring this Nation back to the “Republic” it was founded as. Just not in the pubic eye.There still are Good people in the Gov’t and MSM working for us Deplorables. Armed unrest, will more likely happen because of Economic depression instead of NWO armed intrusion on us “Citizens.”

    Ken gave me good advice, and I have totally stopped public appearances. Those of you who can keep the low profile your OSPEC is working. I will slowly fade into the shadows, most people memory is so short, they just forget you, if your not in their face all the time. Maybe my OSPEC will improve over time

    Stand my Ground

  23. Well if my new old smart phone is listening to us through “ok google” they are going to hear a lot of snoring!

  24. Dh & I have flip phones refuse to up grade to the newer smart phone. Love the video where the older lady is caught saying the SMART phone she was given was not so smart, an she wants her flip phone back, probably a Utube video, it is hilarious.

    Our TV’s are NOT smart tv’s, refused to purchase that style an the kids @ B Buy could not understand why. Said we like the plain tv without it sticking its soft ware in our face, an had a big smile. It works well with our DVD’s & Blue ray player, who needs that upgraded stuff. Plain & simple is the way we like our entertainment.

    Ditched the rewards cards, an when they ask for our phone number it is a private number so we do not give it out.

  25. Great article to get the brain working about staying under or off the radar. We refuse to have a TV, too much garbage on it and it is a time waster. We use cash as much as possible. We say our phone # is unlisted so we do not give it out .Our flip phone is only for use in the car and we do not have cell service at home . We do no online banking , no debit card and have never used an ATM machine. Even though we have strong feelings about things in the world around us, I do not wish to become known for letters to editor that are not” politically correct”. No decals on the car and plain clothing so that we blend in with everyone else.
    All that said , it is virtually impossible to hide in today’s world. If “they” want to find you they will do so. Our goal is to be low profile gray, we think that is the best we can hope for in the land of the free today.
    Blessings to all

  26. OSPEC is something we all think about and at the same time we probably give away too much info that should be kept to ourselves.

    I don’t worry about the government too much for a few reasons. First there is nothing I can do about what they do.

    Second I just want a good life and don’t want to fight WWIII and am not a threat to the government. Yea I have guns, but they are a hobby and I (none of us) would hold up to a government team that was after us. So I don’t see myself being a focal point of government.

    What I do worry about as far as OSPEC is my interaction with people I run across in my daily life. Unless you are very guarded in your talking with people (and I am) you will give away hints about your life that may not seem important right now but could cost you if we have a SHTF situation. Hungry people will remember you mentioning food you have, guns you have, silver you have when they no longer have these items. In a normal conversation these things would be forgotten, but in bad times they will get remembered and you could be in for bad situations.

    Many of us have had someone say to us “I know where I’m coming to if anything ever happens.”

    These (Zombies) people are your real concern if or when we get a bad ecnomic or any kind of SHTF. I don’t think we have to go full Mad Max for them to come to you, a bad ecnomic SHTF that disrupts the food and fuel delivery system will throw people into a bad panic. People that have had everything they ever wanted right at their fingertips will see you as the new Wal-Mart and expect you to give them what they want.

    And as far as governments the Federal Government is going to be too busy for us small fry if there is a bad SHTF. But a local city or county government is in my opinion more likely to see you and your supplies as something they need and will take. You are a lot closer to them, and them a lot closer to you.

    And while a local government is probably your most likely threat they are also not as plugged into the info stream as The Federal Government. They don’t have the ability to gather info on people so they may not know much about your prepping. They would want what you have, but unless you talk, you could easily go unnoticed. After all I would guess many of us are on some federal database as preppers. But few to none of us are on this type of list of a local government as they have no such list.

    I feel I have a bit of mixed interaction with the local government in my city. I get involved in emergency communications (I’m a Ham radio guy and am at the local 911 building every month or so and also at local hospitals in their emergency radio centers) so it puts me on the map a bit. But I share very little personal info beyond the radio thing. But a smart government person could easily guess that the emergency radio people helping them may have more then just Ham radios.

    Hopefully my helping with emergency communications will allow me to be kept in the loop and maybe even be warned about things ahead of the general public. I did not get involved with it for this reason, I did / do it to help people.

    I talk to a lot of other Ham guys all the time and I’m very careful about mentioning things like going out of town, going camping, don’t mention guns at all.

    I do mention new (expensive) radios I get and probably should not do so, But talking about the hobby is what we Hams do. And while I talk about new radio toys I mostly do it on simplex and not an area-wide repeaters that can be listened to for 100-miles in every direction.

    One bad thing about Ham radio is your call sign must be given every 10-min to comply with the law. And anyone with net access or a smart phone can look you up. Care needs to be taken in what you say over the air.

    PS” No smart phone, no Facebook, no instant messaging at all for me. I have a flip-phone, I don’t text, never been on Facebook.

  27. The older I get, the more I value my privacy.

    I have 1 bumper sticker on my truck: “Yes I drive a truck. No, I will not help you move.”

    For those people that I do not care for, I pretend I am old and forgetful and pull a card from my wallet when folks ask me for my phone number. It is the current number for a local, disreputable Strip Club. ( I think they are all disreputable…)

    I have some fun with OPSEC or my lack thereof…I still shop at Kroger outlets since Kroger owns many grocery chains here in the Western U.S.

    I also like to give out as my home phone #: the local ethnic restaurant that is family owned and has Grandma answering the phone with very limited English. ( the type of place that you have to repeat your order a few times to get it straight but the kung pao chicken is really good.)

    I figure someone is keeping track of me. Practicing deception can be…kinda fun. Hey you might as well get some enjoyment out of life. It is not only about answering my front door with a loaded gun.

  28. If you’re worried about laser listening devices put “Pietzo Electric Oscilliating” devices on your windows to defeat them. Searching the web for those should get your name on all kinds of lists!

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