Ah, democracy. The form of government most heralded in the Western World. Broken down to its original Greek, the word means “rule by the commoners.” This is the opposite of a plutocracy, a “rule by the rich.” Or a kleptocracy, which translates to “a rule by thieves.”
Now, a rule by the commoners is preferable to a rule by the rich or a rule by thieves, correct? One would think so.
This is not to say democracy is not without its flaws. The principle flaw of democracy, as Plato notes, is that it can lead to a “mob rule”. The rule of the commoner can be swayed by the mobile vulgus– “the fickle crowd.” Consequently, the hopes and desires of the everyday person on the street may not be what be what is best for the commons.
Direct Democracy and the New Swiss Surveillance Law
Switzerland, unlike the United States, operates under a direct, as opposed to a regulated, democracy. Within Switzerland, the citizens of the state directly vote on the issues. To some, this may seem like a great idea. In many ways, it is, as the popular opinion of the people can have a stronger root in reality than the wishy-washy worldview of bureaucrats,
However, as democracy is not a perfect system, its flaws will inevitably reveal itself. On Sunday, September 25th, 2016, the people of Switzerland voted 65% in favor of state surveillance.
What is the Swiss Surveillance Law?
Until the passing of the new Swiss Surveillance law, security services in the Alpine nation had relatively limited power. Tapping in on phone calls and e-mail conversations, commonplace actions for the NSA in the United States, were banned in Switzerland.
However, a shift in both the operations of global terrorism à la ISIS and the mismanagement of the migrant crisis has led to an increasing sense of fear in many Western European nations.
Simply put, the people of Switzerland would rather be “safe” than “sorry.” The Swiss would prefer their government snoop through their private affairs. There is a hope this surveillance will protect them from potential terrorist attacks.
Protecting Yourself From the Swiss Surveillance Law
One may be able to rationalize the voting decisions of the Swiss population. However, this is not to say Swiss citizens should surrender individual liberties to the government. This is especially the case for Swiss citizens who did not vote their privacy away. These people can protect themselves by using a Virtual Private Network.
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Using a VPN allows users to change their geo-location. The process is simple: sign up for a VPN service and then access a VPN server. Connecting to a VPN server encrypts the devices on which one has downloaded the VPN client. If one is located in Switzerland, and connects to a server in Germany, snooping government officials will see their connection as coming from Germany.
Using a Router Alongside a VPN Provider
However, using a VPN has its limitations. Many VPN providers have connection limitations and not all devices have native VPN capabilities. Using a router flashed with DD-WRT or Tomato firmware will allow you to tunnel your activity through a Virtual Private Network on a more extensive level.
For starters, you will only need one VPN connection, which will be the connection through the router. All devices, regardless of their native VPN capability, connected to the router will be going through the VPN. This applies for both wired and wireless connections.
Looking to protect your home from unwanted intrusion by the State? Get yourself a high-powered router like the Netgear Nighthawk R7000. The R7000 (pictured above) uses a high-powered 1 GHz processor, which will help avoid any potential slowdown in connecting to the VPN. If you want to use an even more powerful device, the Asus RT-AC5300 uses a 1.4 GHz processor alongside eight external antennas, offering amazing range. For a more affordable option, the Asus RT-AC56U is a popular and well-regarded router.
Of course, that is just the beginning. You can see the full fleet of top-of-the-line routers here.