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Father Nemo Needs A Notebook

I was talking to Father Nemo, and I must now pass the ball to you.

Father Nemo needs a notebook. He will use it for exclusive blog use, so that no information about it is saved anywhere in it. Not even the password and name of his blog. Not even the email he used to set the blog up, or the photos he has posted on his blog. Nothing at all that might trace the blog back to him.

Father does, therefore, not need storage. Everything he needs will be on his blog, and a separate USB key will be aplenty for blog backups if he really wants to (he might not want to). What Father wants is something preferably not expensive, practical in use, and allowing him to go on the Internet exclusively for his blog purposes. He will, though, need a VPN service, so that the two questions might be interconnected.

Looking around, Father has found that Internet suitable devices (“suitable” means cheap, but with proper, full-size keyboard) do not come all with Windows. There are also, at the very least, Android devices, and the strange Chromebook ones. There is also Apple, but that’s expensive, sodomitical and utterly Christianophobic, so it doesn’t count.

Father has noticed these strange web-based Chromebooks. They are well cheap, but he still wonders. Will Google start asking information for him? With email verification perhaps? Will he, in other words, be anonymous for Google? How can this be, if apps can only be downloaded through the “store”, like Apple? Is it wise for him to purchase a device and trust to Google a lot on information about him? Father will, of course, not store any document on the little “cloud” at his disposal – this wouldn’t make sense, because if Inunderstand correctly everything he puts there will have his own name on it – but he does not care, as everything would be on the WordPress blog he opened fully anonymously, with an anonymous email – a big difference with other services, who asked for email verification -. If he puts nothing of himself on the cloud, where’s the danger? Well, in his having a cloud account with nothing but his name on it, perhaps? Or in Google knowing – if I understand correctly – every blogging or Catholic app he ever bought for the purpose of blogging?

Chromebooks are, apparently, very fast to be fired up. But is this so important? He would only use the device to post – VPN-protected – posts on his WordPress site, and WordPress do not know, nor do they ask to know, who he is. Why would Google? And do they in the first place? Or is the cloud thingy an optional? But then, what if one wants to buy an app? Does he have to give Google unique identification information, like his mobile phone?

I told Father when I started the blog I chose WordPress over Blogspot because the latter wanted to know who I am (through verification of email). Why on earth? How is it that WordPress, operating in the same legal environment, has no need for it? I find the attitude of Google between somewhat creepy and utterly disturbing. Put all my documents where *you* (or the NSA; or the Gaystapo) can read them? Seriously?

Then there is another Google-dominated system: android. Some cheap devices are available with this system, but it seems to him (Father) that this is no better than Chromebbok. An Android device needs to be registered to download even the most banal application. Is this really anonymous? Not the device, or the user. The use, perhaps. But only if no data on Father is anywhere on the cloud, on his account.

Linux does not come into question. Father has heard this needs some work and technical knowledge he does not want to acquire unless it is strictly necessary for his purposes. He can put time and effort to tweak his blog site, not to learn to do something other OS will do for him. Father is a priest, not a computer geek.

Lastly, there is – unless there are other ways Father doesn’t know – the bad old Windows-based laptop. Costs are now at Chromebook level, that is: very low. It has all the usual problems of Windows, but the availability of everything – from VPN services to meme-creating software – is there, very probably free if he so wishes,mor at a cheap price if he wants the added security and comfort of the “premium” account. The device can be operated in a fully anonymous way. Nowhere would there be his name. The device would be used exclusively for Catholic news to be linked to, images to be put on the blog posts, and the blog posts themselves. Some Catholic apps if practicable (but is it?). That’s it.

Father told me VPN should be dealt with separately; but clearly, how well VPN can be efficiently and anonymously organised will play a role in his decision. This is, though, for another post.

If VPN is viable, then, Father asks what device you would suggests that he buys:

1 Chromebook?

2 Android?

3 Windows?

4 Something else?

Let the game begin. If will be fun and instructive at the same time.

Father thanks in advance. All of them.


Meet Father Nemo




My dear readers, this is an important day in the life of this blog.

Today I introduce you to Father Nemo.

Father Nemo is a fictional, but very real newly ordained priest. He is fed up with the climate of intimidation he sees around him in his diocese after all he had to endure in the Seminary. Father Nemo wants to blog, but he has more than the suspicion that this is not going to end well for his blog – and possibly for him – anytime soon. He is also smart enough to see that the chill wind currently blowing might go on for decades, and every respite in, say, Benedict-style might well be only temporary.

Father Nemo is in a particularly delicate position, but the principles applied to him are valid for everyone else: Blogger Nemo, Anti-Communist Activist Nemo, Whistleblower Nemo, even Bishop Nemo, or Cardinal Nemo! Father Nemo might even be, say, Chinese or from another repressive regime.

Father Nemo is not very Internet savvy, but he is smart and of good will. He will search the Internet to educate himself about how to do things properly, and by that I mean properly. Father Nemo knows that he would never be able to resist investigation from a Western Government set on knowing who he is; but at the same time, he believes his kind of activity does not warrant this kind of eventuality, not in most countries at least. Certainly, Father Nemo (particularly if he lives in Countries like, say, Cuba, or the United States) wants to have as much security as a blogger can have, within reason and a bit of effort. Certainly, he wants to be free from the prying eyes of his bishop, or of some “enterprising” hacking journalist in British style; or employer, or ruling party, or mother-in-law: you name it.  

This blogger hopes that Father Titius, Caius or Sempronius will, one day, land on this blog, and be thankful for the information he finds. It goes without saying that for this, the knowledge of your humble blogger is utterly inadequate. But others will, no doubt, step in to help him, and perhaps they will be kind enough as to ask their internet friends – anonymity on the Net is now, for obvious reasons, a big issue – to help the readers of this little effort.

Brick by brick, a little Vademecum for the Anonymous Blogger will be created, updated and improved constantly.

This is, therefore, the first post of a work in progress. A suitable space will be found on the main page to have this information accessible at all times to everyone.

Every post will deal with only one issue. Interesting other issues will generate further posts, but everything will be kept simple and with a step-by-step (ahem: brick-to-brick) approach. Particular attention will be given to everyday language and easy to follow technical advice. Costs will have to be incurred, but it will be endeavoured to keep them to a minimum; bearing in mind that, within reason, Father Nemo prefers expenses to blog demise, or worse.

The idea is that in time, more and more priests like Titius, Caius and Sempronius (or laymen, anti-communist activists, Bishops, or Cardinals) will land on this blog and, after careful reflection, will say to themselves:

I am Father Nemo.



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