Years ago, I remember reading Richard Stallman's "How I do my computing", an essay in which he explains why he usually does not connect to any websites from his own machine, downloads web pages from a headless browser running in some server, does not have any user accounts for any web applications, does not buy anything over the Internet ever, does not use any social networking sites, and otherwise abstains from using the Internet like most normal human beings.
"Jeez, that's way too paranoid," I remember thinking.
It turns out Stallman was just (far) ahead of his time -- as usual.
Indeed, and it was always obvious if you took security seriously instead of regarding it as a game of probabilities and trade-offs where convenience wins.
As we are being pulled very strongly towards a future where everything and everyone is connected all the time, we should really consider such radical approaches again and how to make them more convenient for "normal" people.
We could just shut off the Internet entirely and force everyone to walk around naked lest they strap a bomb to themselves.
As for not believing intelligence services attempted to monitor the Internet prior to that story -- that would have been just silly. If they didn't they wouldn't be doing their (illegal) job.
Of course it is, it's ridiculous. What the NSA is doing is despicable but why would that keep you from creating a user account or viewing a webpage from your computer?
It's the same concept as 'voting with your dollar'. It works, he just chose a set of methodologies that are unlikely to become popular enough to change things..
But the fact that we are dicussing him & his methodologies in relationship to security is exactly his goal. He isn't advocating for everyone to emulate his ideas of how to use the internet, he is advocating the idea that people must truly think about what the repercussions of their usage actually entail.
rms experienced the sixties. that might be a signifigant factor in his choice of protest. hell, he even relates DoS attacks to modern day sit-ins.
Indeed, maybe moreso then we think. I remember hearing he didn't have a cell phone either.