The Eternal Value of Privacy (and lifehacking: silent white noise)

Schneier delivers a wonderful reminder of why privacy matters.

Privacy is not about ‘they’ll never find me!’ paranoia any more than it’s about being above the law.

Privacy guarantees the most fundamental freedom. Privacy means you can do, and be, what you want as long as it doesn’t affect others.

If we lose that, time to start on the backyard rocketry — this planet isn’t worth living on anymore.

Lifehacking: Instead of a single frequency (as in the micropower TMS), what if I pipe white noise into the coil? Or at least pink noise, a version of white noise with equal energy in the frequency bands. (Waterfalls and industrial machinery of the ‘suck and blow’ family produce a decent approximation of pink noise, a radio tuned between carriers white noise.)

Conclusion: There does seem to be an effect, though the jury’s still out on exactly what it is. If anything it feels kind of like playing pink noise through speakers (relaxing), but better — like the usual crap and distractions from the rest of the world aren’t there. Oddly enough after a long period of time with the white noise on, the tinnitus that occasionally crops up (casualty of long hours around loud trains?) has disappeared.

A couple of ideas combined to inspire my latest experiment and its design.

Obviously, the question of a broadband signal’s possible psychological/physical effect.

Also, the research I posted a while back on EEG based attacks made me wonder what it would take to jam an EEG signal.

And since white noise contains frequency components well into the audio range, I want to minimize the odds of interference or anything that could be considered an unlicensed transmission.

The setup in this case is a pink noise generator (, using the Figure 1A improved filter, and replacing C8 with a two-stage opamp coupler having a gain of 22 in the first stage, a 0.1uF cap in series between stages, a 1M resistor to ground after the cap, and a gain of 11 in the second stage) feeding a cheap PC speaker amplifier. The amplifier in turn drives a ~20 meter long extension cord (with the far end shorted) looped three times around where I’m sitting (total of six turns). It’s actually less, as shorting the far end causes the fields to partly cancel. I did it this way in hopes the field would entirely cancel in the far-field, reducing the potential for interference.

Using the “All Band Receiver,” I was able to pick up the white noise signal very faintly with the antenna near the cable. Perfect.

Lastly, someone recently posted what may be a highly detailed guide to lockpicking on Reddit, but I’m unable to open the PDF (which is encrypted using the password evva3ks). If anyone can open & convert it to a more widely readable PDF, I’d love to see it:

“Two proverbs say it best: Quis custodiet custodes ipsos? (“Who watches the watchers?”) and “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Cardinal Richelieu understood the value of surveillance when he famously said, “If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged.” Watch someone long enough, and you’ll find something to arrest — or just blackmail — with. Privacy is important because without it, surveillance information will be abused: to peep, to sell to marketers and to spy on political enemies — whoever they happen to be at the time.

Privacy protects us from abuses by those in power, even if we’re doing nothing wrong at the time of surveillance.

[…] if we are observed in all matters, we are constantly under threat of correction, judgment, criticism, even plagiarism of our own uniqueness. We become children, fettered under watchful eyes, constantly fearful that — either now or in the uncertain future — patterns we leave behind will be brought back to implicate us, by whatever authority has now become focused upon our once-private and innocent acts. We lose our individuality, because everything we do is observable and recordable.”


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