What Yahoo’s NSA Surveillance Means for Email Privacy

Dear ProtonMail Community,

Two weeks ago, we published a security advisory regarding the mass hacking of Yahoo. Unfortunately, due to recent events, we are issuing a second advisory regarding all US email providers.

What happened?

This week, it was revealed that as a result of a secret US government directive, Yahoo was forced to implement special surveillance software to scan all Yahoo Mail accounts at the request of the NSA and FBI. Sometime in early 2015, Yahoo secretly modified their spam and malware filters to scan all incoming email messages for the phrases in the court order and then siphoned those messages off to US intelligence. This is significant for several reasons:

  • This is the first known incident where a US intelligence directive has indiscriminately targeted all accounts as opposed to just the accounts of suspects. Effectively, all 500 million+ Yahoo Mail users were presumed to be guilty.
  • Instead of searching stored messages, this directive forced Yahoo to scan incoming messages in real-time.
  • Because ALL incoming email messages were targeted, this program spied on every person who emailed a Yahoo Mail account, violating the privacy of users around the world who may not even have been using a US email service.

What does this mean for US tech companies?

This is a terrible precedent and ushers in a new era of global mass surveillance. It means that US tech companies that serve billions of users around the world can now be forced to act as extensions of the US surveillance apparatus. The problem extends well beyond Yahoo. As was reported earlier, Yahoo did not fight the secret directive because Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and the Yahoo legal team did not believe that they could successfully resist the directive.

We believe that Yahoo’s assessment is correct. If it was possible to fight the directive, Yahoo certainly would have done so since they previously fought against secret FISA court orders in 2008. It does not make sense that US surveillance agencies would serve Yahoo Mail with such an order but ignore Gmail, the world’s largest email provider, or Outlook. There is no doubt that the secret surveillance software is also present in Gmail and Outlook, or at least there is nothing preventing Gmail and Outlook from being forced to comply with a similar directive in the future.  From a legal perspective, there is nothing that makes Yahoo particularly vulnerable, or Google particularly invulnerable.

Google and Microsoft have come out to deny they participated in US government mandated mass surveillance, but under a National Security Letter (NSL) gag order, Google and Microsoft would have no choice but to deny the allegations or risk breaking US law (our analysis of Yahoo’s denial is at the bottom of this post). Again ,there is no conceivable reason US intelligence would target Yahoo but ignore Gmail, so we must consider this to be the most probable scenario, particularly since gag orders have become the norm rather than the exception.

In effect, the US government has now officially co-opted US tech companies to perform mass surveillance on all users, regardless of whether they are under US jurisdiction or not. Given the huge amount of data that Google has, this is a truly scary proposition.

How does this impact ProtonMail?

ProtonMail’s secure email service is based in Switzerland and all our servers are located in Switzerland, so all user data is maintained under the protection of Swiss privacy laws. ProtonMail cannot be compelled to perform mass surveillance on our users, nor be compelled to act on behalf of US intelligence. ProtonMail also utilizes end-to-end encryption which means we do not have the capability to read user emails in the first place, so we couldn’t hand over user email data even if we wanted to.

However, since email is an open system, any unencrypted email that goes out of ProtonMail, to Yahoo Mail for example, could potentially have been swept up by these mass surveillance programs and sent to US government agencies. This is why if you want to avoid having your communications scanned and saved by US government agencies, it is important to invite friends, family, and colleagues to use non-US email accounts such as ProtonMail or other email services offered by European companies.

What can the rest of the world do about this?

Unfortunately, the tech sector today is entirely dominated by US companies. Just like Google has a monopoly on search, the US government has a near monopoly on mass surveillance. Even without US government pressure, most US tech companies also have perverse economic incentives to slowly chip away at digital privacy.

This week, we have again seen how easily the massive amounts of private data retained by US tech companies can be abused by US intelligence for their own purposes. Without alternatives to the US tech giants, the rest of the world has no choice but to consent to this. This is an unprecedented challenge, but it also presents an unprecedented opportunity, particularly for Europe.

Now is the time for Europe to invest in its own tech sector, unbeholden to outside interests. This is the only way the European community can continue to safeguard the European ideals of privacy, liberty, and freedom online. It is time for European governments and citizens to act before it is too late.

The only chance for privacy to prevail against these attacks is for the global community to support a new generation of web services which protect privacy by default. These services, such as ProtonMail’s encrypted email service, must operate with a business model where users can donate or pay for services, instead of giving up data and privacy. The security community also has an obligation to make these new service just as easy to use as the ones they replace.

Services such as secure email, search, and cloud storage are now vital to our lives. Their importance means that for the good of all citizens, we need to develop private alternatives that are aligned with users, and free from corporate greed and government overreach. Crowdfunded services like ProtonMail are rising to the challenge, but we need more support from the global community to successfully take on better funded US tech giants. Privacy matters, and your support is essential to ensure the Internet of the future is one that protects our rights.

Best Regards,
The ProtonMail Team

You can get a free secure email account from ProtonMail here.

Analysis of Yahoo Denial:

Yahoo, like every other US tech company, has issued a denial, basically denying Reuter’s account of the mass surveillance. Here is Yahoo’s denial, word for word:

“The article is misleading. We narrowly interpret every government request for user data to minimize disclosure. The mail scanning described in the article does not exist on our systems.”

It is curious that Yahoo’s response to this incident is only 29 words, but upon closer examination, it is a very carefully crafted 29 words. First, Yahoo calls the reports misleading. This is a curious choice of words because it does not claim that the report is false. Finally, Yahoo states that, “The mail scanning described in the article does not exist on our systems.” While this could be a true statement, it does NOT deny that the scanning could have been present on Yahoo’s systems in the past.

The same day as the Yahoo denial, the New York Times obtained independent verification of the Reuter’s story from two US government officials. This allowed the New York Times to confirm the following facts:

  • Yahoo is in fact under a gag order and from a legal standpoint, they cannot confirm the mass surveillance (in other words, they must deny the story or avoid making any statements that would be seen as a confirmation).
  • The Yahoo mass data collection did in fact take place, but the collection is no longer occurring at present time. Thus, we now understand the disingenuous wording of the last sentence in Yahoo’s statement.

Yahoo’s denial (or non-denial, as the case may be), followed immediately by confirmation by the NYT demonstrates the new reality that denials by US tech companies cannot really be taken at face value anymore. It is not that US tech companies are intentionally trying to mislead their customers, but many times, they have no choice due to the gag orders that now inevitably accompany any government requests. If statements from US tech companies turn out to be suspect (as in the Yahoo example), the likelihood of the public ever knowing the truth becomes highly unlikely, and this brings us to a dangerous place.

Read more:

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ProtonMail can be used on any device without software install. ProtonMail secure email accounts are fully compatible with other email providers. You can send and receive emails normally.

ProtonMail was founded in 2013 by scientists who met at CERN and were drawn together by a shared vision of a more secure and private Internet. Since then, ProtonMail has evolved into a global effort to protect civil liberties and build a more secure Internet, with team members also hailing from Caltech, Harvard, ETH Zurich and many other research institutions.

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First Timers: What to Expect From Your Encounter With an Escort

By Jessica Love

Maybe it’s always been your fantasy.

Maybe it’s part of a prearranged situation like a bachelor party.

Maybe it’s something that happens if you’re unsatisfied with your current partner or relationship.

Regardless of the reason, chances are good that, at least once in his life, a man will have the pleasure of an interaction with an escort. Contrary to many preconceived notions from antiquated ideas, these encounters don’t always take place in the way they’re portrayed in movies or on television. Today’s escorts are sophisticated, educated women for whom their work as an escort is serious business.

Albeit with a little fun on the side.

If you’re considering a night with an escort for whatever reason, there are a few things that you should know to ensure that your passionate experience is comfortable, erotic, and satisfying on every level.


One of the most important things to remember when working with an escort is that she deserves respect. She is a business woman and provides a service. You are the recipient of that service. Respect her rules and her processes and both of you will have a much more relaxed and enhanced experience.

If your first time with an escort takes place over the phone, listen to what she has to say and how she prefers the date to take place. She’ll be very accommodating to your needs and schedule, but remember that her time is valuable as well, so be sure to take that into consideration.

Honesty works every time

Your escort is there to please you, so be upfront and honest about what you want from the experience. Is there something that your current partner is not providing for you? Tell her! Is there a fantasy that you’ve always wanted to act out? Let her know! Is role play something that turns you on? Be sure that she knows all of the particulars. The last thing your escort wants is for you to leave unsatisfied, but she’s not a mind reader. Be sure that you’re completely honest with her and she’ll certainly do her best to give you exactly what you want.

However, some escorts have limits, and if your chosen escort prefers not to engage in one or more of the activities that you’ve requested, don’t take it personally. She’ll likely refer you to a colleague who will be more than happy to accommodate you.

Priority Number One: Payment Arrangements

If you’re working with an escort agency, then it’s likely that your payment will be processed before you meet your escort. If you’re working with a freelance escort, she will probably be very clear about payment at the beginning of the date. Assuming that you’ve already discussed her rates when you booked your appointment, pay her when she requests it, and no later. Or simply place the prearranged amount on a table in the room where she can clearly see it.

This not only goes back to the respect portion of this idea, but if you feel that you might want to meet her again, it’s best to follow her rules and do things her way. Additionally, if you feel that you have received exceptional service, a gratuity goes a long way to ensure that you make it to the top of her appointment book for your next date.

Happy beginnings make for happy endings

Your escort is always going to be focused on your pleasure, so what happens when things come to an end? Can you lie in bed for a bit and cuddle? Do you have to run right out the door? Again, since you’ve secured her time and her services it’s entirely up to you. However, if you do want a bit of a snuggle or to simply relax with her for a moment, be thoughtful and ensure that she has the time to do so, especially if your allotted time is running short.

Your first time with an escort is a thrilling, intimate, and exciting experience, and if you join the legions of men who adore the encounter, it’s not likely to be your last. The world of high-class escorts is a whirlwind of mystery and passion, and it’s no wonder that it’s an industry that thrives all over the world.

Simply follow these tips and be respectful, courteous, and honest and you might find yourself with a standing weekly/monthly date with your new favorite escort.

Click here for more.

Read more:

Better than Backpage/Craigslist

How to beat any prostitution sting (10 easy steps to spot-stay ahead of LE)

Backpage Alternatives

How to De Criminalize Prostitution for Dummies

Sex Work Is Work—And Its Laborers Are Officially Unionizing

Sex Work Should be Legal — If Only to Protect Women from Police

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How to Screen Clients

By EscortBook

All you seasoned escorts know just how important a screening process is. Newbies: you’ll now be introduced to it in today’s blog entry, so stick around for part one!

If you heard the words “screening process” or you Googled them in your spare time but wanted to know more about the whole thing, we’re here to show you around. As a rule of thumb, if you don’t have a screening process set in stone, you risk facing dangerous situations, physically AND financially. There are so many abusive customers and scammers in your line of work, that you absolutely need to stay safe. Let’s look at today’s topic in more detail.

A screening process tells everyone you’re a professional

A companion who uses a screening process before accepting a booking sends the following message: “I don’t take my profession lightly. Respect me and I’ll respect you.” In other words: not every client deserves a place in your bed or your mind. They must be real people with verified jobs, bank accounts, home addresses, phone numbers, emails, and so on. Not to mention that during the screening process, you’ll also learn about your client’s fantasies and how to satisfy them best. Win-win situation for everyone!

A screening process helps you avoid violent behavior

As a pleasure provider, you must be very careful who you book. Too often have there been cases where an escort was abused by a disrespectful client. Therefore, a screening process is an absolute must. You can check their background with the help of a friend, another escort, or via the links we’ll provide in next week’s part two.

A screening process keeps scammers and time wasters away

Many companions complain about customers who don’t show up or look nothing like their photos. Other clients simply refuse to pay them or give them less than they agreed upon before the booking. The screening process helps you avoid such situations from the get go.

  1. Make sure clients provide one phone number for in calls and one for out calls

Confused? Here’s the explanation: mobile phone numbers are an easy way to talk to your client and find out whether they have trouble finding your address or not. You’ll be able to help them on the spot with useful info. Fixed land lines tell you if a potential customer is who they claim to be. Give him or her a call and, if someone else picks up the phone, something fishy is up.

2. Ask for the customer’s real name, phone number, and home address

This is another essential step to make sure you deal with a real person. Are they not afraid to give you this personal information? Good, go ahead with the booking. Shady types will refuse to do so and put an end to the conversation ASAP. Once you have the necessary details, give them a call, but not before you do a reverse phone search. This method gives escorts two important things: the name and address of the phone owner. If it’s all good, call that woman or man and set an appointment.

After you have their names, look them up on Facebook. It’s a sure sign that you’re dealing with someone who won’t waste your time.

  1. Tell your clients to send real photos

This is one of the most important rules of a screening process. Too many times escorts have been duped by customers who look amazing in pics but are nothing alike in real life. To avoid being one of the unlucky ones, ask your clients for real and recent photos. Compare them with the ones on their social media accounts. Are they a match? Awesome, you’re good to go!

  1. Ask another companion

You’ll be hard pressed to find escorts willing to tell you if they’ve had nasty encounters with clients. However, if you want to try this method, make sure you know how to interact with them. If you’re too pushy, their lips will remain sealed. Establish a connection and make them feel comfortable, then ask them if person X or Y was abusive, a scammer, a time waster, and so on.

In case you’re already friends with several providers, ask them for help in identifying those people you need to stay away from. If you’re not close to other companions, look for forums and discussion boards online for guidance.

  1. Use an online mapping app

There are many such services online, but the best by far is Google Maps. Type in the address your client provided, and you’ll see whether the neighbourhood is safe or not. Do you see hotels, restaurants, blocks of flats, and so on in the immediate vicinity? Accept the booking and have fun! Does the street look shady? Better stay away.

  1. Ask about their job

If a potential client shies away from telling you where they work, it doesn’t necessarily mean they want to waste your time. Many people are very private about their jobs. This tip is directed more at those of you, dear escorts, who want to feel 100% safe about who they’re going out with. Being paranoid is OK, especially in this day and age. Find a job portal online, type in the name and phone number of the customer and see if they’re who they claim to be. If it doesn’t work, call their work number and see if they themselves pick up or another person does it.

  1. Listen to what your instinct tells you

As soon you have a guy’s or a lady’s phone number and email, break the ice by texting them to get a feel of what they’re like. Do you sense that something’s off with them? Trust your gut, it’s almost never wrong. Stay away from that man or woman and look for someone else to spend time with.

Tips, tricks, and common sense to make hiring an escort a breeze

By Maggie McNeill

This article is part of Reason's special Burn After Reading issue, where we offer how-tos, personal stories, and guides for all kinds of activities that can and do happen at the borders of legally permissible behavior. Subscribe Now and get fast first class delivery of the July issue at no extra cost!

In 1948, the noted sex researcher Alfred Kinsey reported that 69 percent of men had paid for sex at some point in their lives. The 2005 General Social Survey put the number at closer to 15 percent. The true answer is probably somewhere in between—not just because time has passed and norms have changed, but because getting people to answer such questions honestly is not always possible. Still, it's clear even from the low-end estimates that hiring a sex worker is a pretty normal thing to do. I've been an escort since January 2000, I was a stripper for two years before that, and I practiced what the literature calls "casual prostitution" going back to 1985. In those years I've seen men of all ages, from 18 to 94, and all walks of life, from a truck driver to a U.S. senator. I've made a good living at it, and so do roughly half a million other women in the United States.

Despite being a common activity, buying sexual services can be intimidating. As with all black market transactions, there is an element of risk and uncertainty caused by prohibition. Maybe you're considering buying sex but are unsure how to proceed. Or maybe you've done it in the past but are nervous in the current climate of aggressive "end demand" stings and "john shaming"—complete with names and pictures in the news. Either way, you've come to the right place: Hiring an escort is neither difficult nor dangerous as long as one exercises patience, diligence, and good manners.

Before starting, it's a good idea to have in mind what you're looking for. Is there a particular kind of person you're interested in, such as someone with certain physical characteristics or a certain educational level? Do you have a particular interest—a kink or fetish, for example—that your regular partner is unwilling or unable to fulfill? Maybe you've fantasized about being with a transgender woman, a pair of bisexual temptresses, or a lady who can really wield a whip? Are you sexually bored and looking for someone to give you the kind of bed-busting experience you've seen in porn? Or perhaps you're simply lonely and would like an interesting companion for the evening?

As long as you live in or can travel to a city of at least moderate size, it's extremely likely you'll be able to find a sex worker online who fits the bill. But to do so, you're going to need to do your research, and this is where the patience comes in. Even if you're just looking for a decently attractive gal (or guy!) to give you a good time without drama, it's still a good idea not to be in too much of a rush. Don't jump on your computer at 11 p.m. and expect to have the perfect partner at your door by midnight. Hurrying things is a good way to be disappointed, if not robbed or arrested.

Not to say there aren't escort agencies who might be able to help you in a jiffy, or that behind every goofy emoji-laden ad lurks a cop or con artist. But if you put at least as much effort into choosing an escort as you would into picking a fine restaurant or a mechanic, you'll maximize your chance of having a satisfying experience.

The seizure this year of the classified site Backpage.com by federal authorities (for alleged money laundering and facilitating prostitution) has shaken up sex-work advertising, as has the passage of a new law, the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (known as FOSTA). In the wake of FOSTA—which makes it a federal crime to host digital content that promotes or facilitates prostitution and, importantly, allows web publishers and platforms to be held liable—Craigslist shut down its personals section, multiple escorting forums have closed, and some foreign websites have started blocking U.S. visitors. But there are many different places for sex professionals to advertise online, and it is possible to connect without putting you, them, or the platform operator at risk.

These websites range from the no-frills to the glossy, from the local to the international. Though I wish there were an easy, universal formula I could give you for finding such resources, there really isn't. A Google search for "escorts" and your city is not a bad jumping-off point, but be aware that not all of what comes up will be high-quality. There are quite a few scraper sites, for example, that harvest escort ads from legitimate platforms in order to draw page views but don't care whether those ads are current or even real. (I still get calls from a post I put up in Tulsa more than a year before I moved to Seattle in 2015.) Big names such as Eros and Slixa (both hosted outside the United States), or a review board concentrating on your geographic location, are usually a good way to start.

Notice I said "start." Once you look through the ads—and most of the good sites have them subdivided by categories, such as "mature," "GFE" ("girlfriend experience"), "tantra," and so on—and find a service provider you think you'd like to see, the next step is to do a bit more research. Most established professionals will link to their websites from their ads. If you don't see such a link, a search with name and city will often turn it up.

Here comes the "diligence" part: Read the provider's site, and I don't just mean skimming it for the first thing that looks like a point of contact or glancing at the pictures. I mean read it, especially the rates page and the contact information. Trust me, guys, there is nothing that will annoy a pro more than an email containing a bunch of questions that are answered right there on the website. When escorts get together with each other for drinks, this is one of the most common things we bitch about. On the other hand, demonstrating that you did read the site by following the contact instructions correctly is an excellent way to get on your provider's good side from the get-go. (This is especially true of dominatrices, in my experience.)

If you're nervous and/or picky, this is the time to look at the person's online footprint. For years, reviews were a good way to find out what kinds of experiences other clients had with the lady you're considering, but that's not as true as it once was. While many sex workers like getting reviews and will happily point you to them (and some even prefer that you consult them rather than ask questions), others dislike or distrust them. For some, including me, it's a matter of taste: Reviews can often be crass and vulgar even when they're complimentary. They are also regularly embellished to make the reviewer look more studly—so much so that the information conveyed can be…let's just say "less than accurate."

But beyond that, the review system has been undermined by bad actors from both inside and outside of the sex-work community. Unscrupulous clients use the promise of good reviews or the threat of bad ones to coerce inexperienced girls into out-of-bounds activities; unprincipled profiteers sell fake reviews to equally unprincipled escorts; and unethical prosecutors have begun to charge clients who write reviews with "facilitating prostitution." Plus, due to the aforementioned FOSTA, some sites are either closing their reviews to U.S. readers or removing them entirely.

Click here for more.By all means, consult the reviews if a provider has them, but also (or instead) check whether she has a blog, a Twitter account, message-board posts, pictures whose image searches lead you back to a website, and other signs this is a real person rather than a sock puppet created by cops or crooks to ensnare the unwary.

Once you've found a provider you really want to see, verified to your satisfaction that she is an established professional with a history of satisfied customers, and absorbed pertinent public info about rates, hours, etc., it's time to make contact. But be warned: Just as you wanted to know what you were getting, sex workers want to know what they are getting. Reach out in whatever way the website directs, and provide whatever information is requested. Don't try to get cute, and don't act pushy or overly defensive: While you may be worried about being cheated or arrested, we're worried about those things plus the possibility of a rough, abusive, or violent client.

Most providers will ask for references—that is, the names and contact info of other professionals you've seen. For your sake, it's best to give at least two, in case one is slow to respond or doesn't remember you. "Bambi from Backpage, I don't recall her number" ain't gonna cut it. If you have never seen a pro before, or if it's been more than a few years, be honest about that; some will turn you down without references, but others are "newbie friendly" and will screen you by other means, such as employment verification or connecting with you on a site such as LinkedIn. Don't be shy—remember, you've already verified her, and she has no reason to risk her reputation and business by outing you. But if you do feel the provider is asking too much, you should politely decline and find someone else; pressuring a sex worker to "make an exception" won't get you anywhere except onto a blacklist.

(There are also whitelist services that will use employment verification and/or public records to confirm you are who you claim, giving you a number or other tag by which your certification can be looked up from our end. However, they typically charge a fee, not every pro accepts them, and they're going to ask you for screening info as well. I'd advise you to look into those later, after you've decided this is something you want to do regularly.)

If you've done all that and secured an appointment, the rest can be summed up in three words: Be a gentleman. Don't haggle over price, be coy with payment, ask rude or prying questions, push boundaries, or even think about asking for unprotected sex. Do be prompt (which does not mean "early"), clean (that means soap, including your whole crotch region), generous (a tip or small gift is not expected, but it is definitely appreciated), and as respectful as you would be of any other businessperson. If you have to cancel, do so far in advance, and if that isn't possible, either offer to pay for the session anyway or at the very least send a generous gift card.

In short, act as if you really want to impress, and there's an extremely high chance she will do the same for you.

sexvacationsMaggie McNeill was a librarian in suburban New Orleans, but after an acrimonious divorce economic necessity inspired her to take up sex work; from 1997 to 2006 she worked first as a stripper, then as a call girl and madam. She eventually married her favorite client and retired to a ranch in Oklahoma, but began escorting part-time again in 2010 and full-time again early in 2015 after another divorce (this time amicable). She has been a sex worker rights activist since 2004, and since 2010 has written a daily blog, The Honest Courtesan, which examines the realities, myths, history, lore, science, philosophy, art, and every other aspect of prostitution. Source: Reason

Read more:

Better than Backpage/Craigslist

How to beat any prostitution sting (10 easy steps to spot-stay ahead of LE)

Backpage Alternatives

How to De Criminalize Prostitution for Dummies

Sex Work Is Work—And Its Laborers Are Officially Unionizing

Sex Work Should be Legal — If Only to Protect Women from Police

How to Verify what is Real / How to Spot Fake News

By Christopher R Rice

Here’s 8 simple ways to verify anything or anyone and always be 100 percent accurate. Fake news, faked birth certificates and rigged elections but, is any of it real? And how can we really be sure? Let the Underground show you just how easy it is to tell reality from libtard bullshit and right wing lunacy.

In no particular order:

1.) Evidence. Can your subject produce any evidence? For instance, the Holocaust has deniers. But we’ve all seen the photographic evidence. We still have the gas chambers preserved as museums. And personally, I’ve been able to talk to and interview survivors and torturers.

As another example: UFOs, ghost, Sasquatch or Yeti. Where is the evidence? We have a suspect photo from the 70s but no physical evidence. Where are the bones of a Bigfoot or Martian? We have bones from dinosaurs that lived thousands of years ago but something photographed as late as the 70s has produced no physical evidence. Which proves beyond any reasonable doubt that Bigfoot, ghost and UFOs are all fake.

A story should lead with information about the veracity of the accusation / claim. If there is no evidence to support the accusation / claim, a story should say so. If there is evidence to disprove an accusation or claim, the piece should say that as well. The evidence should be given top billing.

2.) Can the evidence be verified? Verification can take many forms. Speaking with victims is not considered verified evidence because victims can be biased. So you must speak with the tortures / interrogators to verify victims claims. Perpetrators never come straight out and admit to their crimes so their confessions are always suspect as well, until independent confirmation is made.

3.) Independent confirmation is mandatory to verify the truth. Not only do those involved have biases but many have financial or legal incentives to lie. Independent confirmation is when two friends are having an argument and can’t agree so they ask a stranger. I suggest using Snopes.com or FactCheck.org instead. Or simply research and find out if independent confirmation has already been made by a reliable source.

More than 40% of U.S. adults receive news on Facebook, according to a report from the Pew Research Center. Facebook has a vested interest in showing readers stories they like, even if they’re not true. As Gizmodo reported, Facebook has the tools to shut down fake news sites, but have failed to use them because they are afraid it will make them appear biased.

4.) Reliable sources. One of the first ways to know how accurate information is, is to ask yourself, where did I hear / read this? Have I ever heard or read any info from this source before and did it turn out to be accurate or false? If you’ve never had a past experience with the source, you can still ask yourself, how reliable is this source? Do they have an economic incentive to lie? Or does the source not benefit at all from the transfer of this info?

A single-source story is generally considered weak reporting. It’s easier than ever for someone to create a website and post completely made up stories.

The problem with sources is that most people don’t know the difference between a reliable source and a paid or fake source – see numbers 5 and 7. And if your readers don’t like or agree with the message your conveying you can have a million impeccable sources and they still won’t believe you.

5.) Funding is extremely important. For instance, even though the evidence that cigarettes caused health problems and even death was well known for decades prior to being published in Readers Digest in the 50s, this information remained unavailable because big tobacco was a huge advertiser that no one wanted to upset or offend.

Ronald Reagan funded ‘research’ in the 80s to prove that marijuana had health consequences and that it was a ‘gateway’ drug. But even though the study was done by a bona fide scientist and he produced an MRI showing marijuana smoke killing brain cells, the study was done fraudulently. Oxygen was cut off to the test subjects, which is what actually killed the subjects brain cells. But the truth didn’t matter because the MRI is still shown to kids in schools all across America to this day.

Who is funding the research will usually dictate the outcome because science is a pay-to-play field with very little ethics or professionalism.

6.) When dealing with someone face-to-face read 11 Signs Someone is Lying to You See video for text messaging.

For pictures: Do a reverse image search. Google Image Search and TinEye are two tools that can be used to search the web for a particular image, a process that often exposes fake news stories through their use of recycled photographs.

7.) The last thing that I do is to count ‘red flags’. What are red flags? Anything that I couldn’t verify with numbers 1 through 6 above, would be a red flag. Some red flags are smaller or bigger than others but anytime I reach 3 red flags I won’t publish an article until there is more or less confirmation. If it’s a deal I’m making on Craigslist or a drug deal in the streets, I’ll back out when I see too many red flags. Better safe than sorry.

Any time anyone tries to tell you that everyone of a certain race or everyone of a certain religion is this or that- big red flag. Obviously all Christians are not like Dylann Roof or Adolf Hitler so it would also be wrong to say that all Muslims are like Osama Bin Laden. Or that all blacks are criminals or all Jews are rich or all Latinos lazy or that all white people will stiff you and not pay you for a hard days work. Judge everyone and everything individually by it’s character, by their actions and deeds, as individuals.

Trust can not just be given, it must be earned. And while it takes a long time to build trust it only takes one lie or one inaccuracy to destroy a persons trust in you forever.

Many legitimate news outlets will quote anonymous sources, an article that relies only on unnamed sources should raise red flags.

If you’re looking for a list of red flags, Zimdars has created a public Google doc listing many news sites that distribute fake news.

Snopes.com, which has been writing about viral claims and online rumors since the mid-1990s, maintains a list of known fake news websites, several of which have emerged in the past two years.

8.) Just like ‘red flags’ the opposite is when you have more than enough sources and confirmation saying the same thing. It all begins with the smell test. If something doesn’t smell right it probably isn’t. There is nothing wrong with trusting your gut but let that be your starting point, not the beginning and end. Using this list you can easily prove or disprove any subject. With complete accuracy. And never get fooled again.

Help support actual journalism and reporting financially. Monthly “memberships” to some nonprofit news sources can cost as little as a Starbucks latte. Alternative independent news like WikiLeaks and Wikipedia provide a very important service, they shouldn’t have to beg for donations, either we support independent media or we won’t have one.

Empowering legitimate news outlets is increasingly important as the market for false news is strengthening. Fake news writers have admitted that writing phony stories can be extremely lucrative. Their content also attracts advertisers, which may value an article’s traffic over its veracity.

News consumers themselves are the best defense against the spread of misinformation.

Stay Informed:

How to Spot a Fake Fender Strat in Seconds

How to Spot Fake Yeezy Boost Sneakers

How to Spot Fake ID

How To Spot a Fake Rolex

11 Signs Someone Is Lying To You

By Vivian Giang and Jacquelyn Smith

1.) If you see someone suddenly make a head movement when you ask them a direct question, they may be lying to you about something.

“The head will be retracted or jerked back, bowed down, or cocked or tilted to the side,” writes Glass. This will often happen right before the person is expected to respond to a question.

Dr. Lillian Glass, a behavioral analyst and body language expert who has worked with the FBI on unmasking signals of deception, says when trying to figure out if someone is lying, you first need to understand how the person normally acts. Then you’ll want to pay careful attention to their facial expressions, body language, and speech patterns, she writes in her book “The Body Language of Liars.”

2.) When someone is lying to you, they may begin to breathe heavily, Glass says. “It’s a reflex action.”

When their breathing changes, their shoulders will rise and their voice may get shallow, she adds. “In essence, they are out of breath because their heart rate and blood flow change. Your body experiences these types of changes when you’re nervous and feeling tense — when you lie.”

3.) It’s common knowledge that people fidget when they get nervous, but Glass says that you should also watch out for people who are not moving at all.

“This may be a sign of the primitive neurological ‘fight,’ rather than the ‘flight,’ response, as the body positions and readies itself for possible confrontation,” says Glass. “When you speak and engage in normal conversation, it is natural to move your body around in subtle, relaxed, and, for the most part, unconscious movements. So if you observe a rigid, catatonic stance devoid of movement, it is often a huge warning sign that something is off.”

4.) They repeat words or phrases.

This happens because they’re trying to convince you, and themselves, of something, she says. “They’re trying to validate the lie in their mind.” For example, he or she may say: “I didn’t…I didn’t…” over and over again, Glass says.

The repetition is also a way to buy themselves time as they attempt to gather their thoughts, she adds.

5.) “When someone goes on and on and gives you too much information — information that is not requested and especially an excess of details — there is a very high probability that he or she is not telling you the truth,” writes Glass. “Liars often talk a lot because they are hoping that, with all their talking and seeming openness, others will believe them.”

6.) “A telltale sign of lying is that a person will automatically put their hands over their mouth when they don’t want to deal with an issue or answer a question,” says Glass.

“When adults put their hands over their lips, it means they aren’t revealing everything, and they just don’t want to tell the truth,” she says. “They are literally closing off communication.”

7.) They instinctively cover vulnerable body parts.

This may include areas such as the throat, chest, head, or abdomen.

“I have often seen this in the courtroom when I work as a consultant for attorneys. I can always tell when someone’s testimony has hit a nerve with the defendant, when I see his or her hand covering the front of his/her throat,” says Glass.

“I never appreciated the potential use of this very telling behavior until I joined the FBI as a Special Agent,” she says.

8.) Shuffling feet tells you that the potential liar is uncomfortable and nervous. It also shows you that he or she wants to leave the situation; they want to walk away, she says.

“This is one of the key ways to detect a liar. Just look at their feet and you can tell a lot.”

9.) “If you ever watch the videotaped interrogation of a suspect who is guilty, you will often observe that it becomes more and more difficult for her to speak,” writes Glass. “This occurs because the automatic nervous system decreases salivary flow during times of stress, which of course dries out the mucous membranes of the mouth.”

Other signs to watch out for include sudden lip biting or pursed lips

10.) When people lie, it’s common that they break eye contact, but the liar could go the extra mile to maintain eye contact in attempt to control and manipulate you.

“[Bernie] Madoff, like most con men, overcompensated and stared at people longer than usual, often without blinking at regular intervals,” says Glass. “When people tell the truth, most will occasionally shift their eyes around and may even look away from time to time. Liars, on the other hand, will use a cold, steady gaze to intimidate and control.”

Also watch out for rapid blinking.

11.) They tend to point a lot.

“When a liar becomes hostile or defensive, he is attempting to turn the tables on you,” says Glass. The liar will get hostile because he is angry that you’ve discovered his lies, which may result in a lot of pointing.