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A 10-step plan for breaking up with the grid

Paranoid about spying corporations and NSA eavesdroppers? Here are ten (probably futile) steps you can take to evade the radar.

A 10-step plan for breaking up with the grid
[Illustration: Burnt Toast Creative]

1. You’ve seen that 2016 photo of Zuckerberg grinning beside his laptop, right? Hey, if the Crown Prince of Snooping sticks tape over his webcam, what are you waiting for?

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[Illustration: Burnt Toast Creative]
2. While you’re at it, what good is a laptop webcam sticker when your phone might as well be an ankle monitor? If you’re too embarrassed to cover the lens and the mic, spring for a signal-blocking pouch at 10 bucks.

3. You get points for coming up with a 12-character password that includes capital letters, symbols, and numbers, but deductions for using it for 30 different sites. You need a password manager, such as LastPass or 1Password. And just to be safe, start using two-step authentication when logging in to sensitive sites, preferably a token that slides into the USB port.

[Illustration: Burnt Toast Creative]
4. Still seeing your screen populated with ads inspired by your last purchase on Amazon? Download a virtual private network or Tor to throw marketers off your scent.

5. The Rolling Stones said it more than 50 years ago: Get off the cloud. Use a password-protected and encrypted thumb drive instead.

[Illustration: Burnt Toast Creative]
6. Alexa’s voice was starting to give you the creeps even before you read about that incident where a couple’s conversation was recorded and sent to an acquaintance in another state. Between the Echo and Nest and Sonos and that new refrigerator you’re almost afraid to open, your house has become way smarter than you: Dumb it back down.

7. Delete your social sites. Your friends all know you’re paranoid anyway, and the only Likes you’ve gotten on your last dozen posts have been from that one guy you barely knew in high school whose feed is a bizarre mix of cat memes and Oath Keeper rants.

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[Illustration: Burnt Toast Creative]
8. Destroy your credit cards. Begin making purchases with cash, or on the blockchain. Savor the look on the barista’s face when you ask whether she’ll accept payments in ethereum.

9. So you’ve effectively blinded and muted your smartphone, but the thing is still loaded with apps that can track you when used. Ditch it altogether and go with a burner and a prepaid plan. Invest your data-plan savings in hexamine fuel tablets and a Leatherman multitool knife as you plot your escape from the grid and prepare to fulfill your tiny-home fantasies.

[Illustration: Burnt Toast Creative]
10. Stock your techless ’74 Vanagon with plenty of pemmican, a yurt constructed of silver-lined thermal-radiation-deflecting fabric, a Rand McNally atlas, your compass, a water-filtration system and camping cistern, a portable manual typewriter, and your copy of Wilderness Survival for Dummies. Oh, and don’t forget the bear repellent.

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About the author

Noted expert on nicotine gum chewing and Hawkeye wrestling fan, Jay Woodruff is a contributing editor at Fast Company. After helping launch the quarterly DoubleTake, he joined Esquire and later held senior editorial positions at Entertainment Weekly and oversaw digital at Maxim, Blender and Stuff

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