20 Practical "Grey Man" Security Tips in an Authoritarian Environment

Home Forums Personal Survival Experience & Lessons Learned 20 Practical "Grey Man" Security Tips in an Authoritarian Environment

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    • #21897

      With the rise of authoritarianism and official corruption around the world, I thought I’d put together a list on how to survive in an authoritarian environment based on my experiences and study.

      The focus of this list is on how to non-violently survive under an authoritarian governmental system, not politics.

      Please let me know what you think about the list.


      20 Practical “Grey Man” Security Tips in an Authoritarian Environment

      1. Every time you do something, ask yourself if what you are doing can be used against you by someone at some point in the future, even if what you are doing is totally legal and acceptable to the regime today.
      2. Avoid placing yourselves on any kind of list or database where you might be branded as a “troublemaker” or a “problem” by someone in the future who may have access to that database or list.
      3. Don’t complain too loudly. If a vendor didn’t provide a service or product as requested, gently remind them of the requirements. If they still refuse to take any remedial action, then quietly drop them and find another vendor. If the product is only produced or sold by a large corporate entity, find a way to substitute it. Companies, especially large ones, often keep records of “troublemakers” which they gladly share with authorities.
      4. Never answer any surveys or questionnaires. This is data about you that can be used against you in the future. If you must fill out the survey or questionnaire, give non-controversial generic answers that mirror the current “party line”. If your government still permits secret ballots, that’s the place to vent your true feelings.
      5. Minimize contact with the justice system at all costs. If you see something and it doesn’t directly impact you and you have no legal duty to report it, don’t say anything. Mind your own business. It’s bad if your situation has reached this point, but forget that “See something. Say something.” ad. You are making yourself a target for law enforcement (because you know of a vulnerability) and any terrorists or criminals who might be using the vulnerability. Sometimes, it’s easier for authoritarian governments or corrupt officials to kill or arrest the person who noticed the vulnerability than to actually address the vulnerability.
      6. Don’t take any obvious action that can draw the attention of law enforcement. Use your blinkers, apply your parking brakes, drive the speed limit, drive with the flow of traffic, don’t drink and drive, and don’t have or store anything controversial in your vehicle. Wear common clothes, have nothing flashy, and blend into the surroundings.
      7. Have no uniquely identifiable items anywhere on your vehicle. Keep your vehicles as plain and stock as possible. No bumper stickers, decorations, and no personalized license plates. Choose common vehicles when you purchase new ones. You don’t want the flashy red sports car that might be of interest to corrupt law enforcement to “seize” (ie. steal) in a “civil forfeiture”.
      8. If everyone is wearing a schmgma in public, wear a schmgma. Don’t stand out.
      9. Avoid crowded areas and travel routes whenever possible. These are targets for terrorists and for government monitoring activity.
      10. Avoid living and working in dense urban areas. The outskirts of a small or medium sized city bordered by open space is best. You don’t want to live in a completely rural area as it is too easy for you to “disappear” or someone could kill you just for fun.
      11. If you own firearms or weapons, tell *nobody*. Securely keep your firearms, ammo, and weapons in cases and locations that don’t scream “firearm/weapon here”.
      12. Minimize conversations with untrusted people. Stick to business and share nothing personally identifiable.
      13. Avoid direct eye contact with untrusted people. Wear sunglasses whenever possible. That way, you can continue to scan an environment without people knowing it.
      14. Minimize the use of technology and encrypt all of your private data with strong public key/private key encryption third party tools.
      15. Use strong passwords for your technological devices and share them with nobody, including your family and friends.
      16. Don’t use technological security tools from only your own country. If, for example, your device’s operating system is manufactured in the United States, choose an encryption tool from the UK, and an anti-virus package from Japan.
      17. Limit social media posts. Keep it as non-controversial and “party line” as possible. Delete everything over 6 months old. What was “party line” two years ago, might be a grave offense to the regime today. Contrary to what you may think, you want to keep your social media accounts. A social media account can be used to distribute your own disinformation in the right circumstances.
      18. Shred or destroy all records you don’t legally have to keep. These can be subpoenaed or seized for legal fishing expeditions.
      19. Display no personally identifiable pictures of you or your family in public areas. Keep your public areas generic and boring. Don’t give a potential adversary more information than they already have.
      20. Security controls don’t have to be 100% effective. If a security control is cost effective and makes the bad guy or corrupt official move onto a softer target because it takes too long to defeat the control, it’s done its job.

    • #28221

      Great info in how to blend.

    • #28877
      Blynn Fittest

      Thanks. This was really good info.

    • #30750

      Your item 14, “use encryption”, may be obsolete. I’ve read lately that any use of encryption over the Internet causes red flags to pop up in the control centers of the very people you want to avoid. The EU is proposing legislation banning the use of encryption, and I have no doubt they have the means to find and decrypt anything you put out. Better is to assume all Internet communication is open for public view and treat it as such.

    • #30754

      Great info to know. Thank you


    • #30758

      This is excellent. Would you allow me to publish it on The Organic Prepper? If so, please let me know what byline you’d like to use.

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