Over the last 12 months all the most extreme paranoid fears of privacy activists and information security experts have turned out to be but cuddly little problems compared to the reality of industrialised espionage on the entire planet. Anyone who has kept abreast of the ongoing revelations as a journalist with the desire to protect their sources and their stories from government or corporate snoopers may have felt despair.
Is everything with a chip and a battery spying on us?
When considering most off-the-shelf computing devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones, the situation is indeed dire. But there are steps you can take and those steps are not expensive nor do they require a PhD in computer science. Using a computer system that can withstand all but the most advanced attacks by the most advanced nation state-level attackers is well within the reach of everyone.
That is, anyone who is willing to spend a few days learning to use software that is free of cost and hardware that is already available to you or that can be bought for under £200. This handbook can get you started on understanding how to secure your data and communications and those of your sources, and to use tools and methods that have been proven to work in the most extreme situations by experts all over the world.
Depending on your pre-existing computer skills this may be a bit of a learning experience, but trust that many have gone before you who also did not consider themselves experts and yet they managed to become comfortable with the concepts and tools described in this book.
If you are a journalist in the twenty-first century, you need these tools. After all, William Randolph Hearst said decades ago: journalism is writing down what powerful people and institutions do not want written.
If you don't consider yourself to be a journalist but merely insist on actually having the right to privacy guaranteed to you under the UN Declaration Of Human Rights  Article 12 - this book is for you too.
Like almost everyone who ever created anything, we could only do so by standing on the shoulders of a thousand generations that came before us. Thus, this book will be forever freely available in a range of electronic formats without any restrictions. If the format you would like is missing, just let us know.
If you appreciate this work, please spread it around as much as possible and help us make the next version better. Constructive feedback of any kind is most welcome. The problem will keep developing and so will our response. Please contribute to sharing this knowledge and promoting these tools in any way you can.
Arjen Kamphuis, Berlin 2014