OK, with Reboot The Hive right around the corner and all this noise from the rotten New York DA’s office, it’s time to learn how to create and operate a subpoena proof Twitter account.
First you need to create an account that doesn’t have any baggage. Do you have Tor? Do you know how to check your exit node? Or do you have a well regarded VPN provider? The very best VPN provider, in case you didn’t know, is the one that runs on a VPS somewhere like Iceland or Kyrgyzstan, with an operator you trust to not log anything. Ask around, they’re only slightly less rare than unicorns. Make the account, consider using Hushmail as the mailbox to bind it to so you can be verified – the Hushmail will go dark in three weeks if you don’t use it. Be sure to clean out the mailbox before signing off the final time.
So you’ve got an account now with no trail at all and you’ve got to keep it that way when you go mobile. If you’ve got an Android or Apple phone you can use the WiTopia VPN service – I bought the $70 version for evaluation earlier today and I’m pleased to report it took all of five minutes to get it going on my phone and iPod Touch. Install this, pick a server, and off you go. You can never slip. Ever.
What would a slip look like? Using the account from a PC without Tor or a VPN active. You could build a Fail Closed Network For Home Anonymity or you can adopt A (Relatively) Safe Desktop Regimen. The phone is a bit tougher. If you’ve got a network that resists you being forgetful, or a desktop setup where you have to start a VM and manually enter account information for each login those are some good steps – one is a safety net, the other a mindfulness bell. You’d have to either leave the VPN on permanently and hope it never goofed for any reason, or you’d have to turn up the VPN and then manually bring up the Twitter account each time.
What’s left to break? Well, some of those fancy Twitter clients are really grabby, pawing through your address book. I’ve served my time running the streets of New York and D.C., so I’m not going back into the field again in 2012, but if I were I think I would use a phone with VPN as I describe here, but I’d corral the Twitter client and any livestream on an iPod Touch that’s using the phone as a hotspot … and that’s never touched the net except through VPN … and that has NO personal data on it at all.
Expensive and a bit tedious? Maybe, but you can get a year of VPN service and an iPod Touch for what two hours of attorney time will cost you, and you don’t know tedious until the best deal you can get involves a few months in the city jail. Be safe out there, Occupiers …