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A Step-by-Step Guide to Protecting Your Assets, Your Identity, and Your Life

by J.J. Luna

Pub Date: July 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-312-25250-1
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

A subversive, disturbing, and altogether remarkable exposure of our frightening transparency to government agencies, investigators, the media, and more malign forces.

Luna, a security consultant who “spent 11 years running a secret operation in Franco’s Spain” (presumably outwitting the state police), begins by presenting formidable evidence of the demolition of personal privacy in the information age, as well as a chilling hypothetical selection of ways in which this state of affairs can ruin the existence of Joe & Jane Citizen (from false criminal accusations to stalking to lawsuits). His wryly presented conclusion—that advanced privacy measures are “flood insurance”—are borne out through the clear-headed instructional chapters that follow. First he shows how to protect one’s physical space: how to construct an alternative mail-drop and “ghost” address, how to keep your real domicile unknown, and how to avoid using one’s social-security number and birthdate for identification purposes. Although his suggestions seem surprisingly simple, he offers stern disclaimers to consult legal professionals. Further chapters delve deeply into the complicated netherworld of trusts, limited-liability companies, personal nominees, secret home businesses, anonymous travel, hidden ownership of vehicles and real estate, and so forth. One cannot but note that such information, although certainly invaluable to people in particular demographics (such as undercover cops or abused women, who might well need to “disappear”), is most often utilized by a new breed of transnational organized crime (with examples evident from Nick Leeson to the Russian Mafia). Yet Luna—whose slightly ornate prose suggests Nero Wolfe after several Belgian ales—makes a bracing, serious argument for the aggressive defense of one’s informational and asset privacy, acidly noting throughout how governmental entities constantly attempt to seal the doors of invisibility, as in their harrassment of mail-receiving services.

This is a memorable work which should be considered by many and undoubtedly will be acted upon by some.