Devices like the Safeplug can deter companies and governments from snooping on your devices at home, but they’re not much good when you’re on the road. That’s where the PORTAL (Personal Onion Router To Assure Liberty) project comes into play. Load the customized firmware on to certain travel hotspots (some TP-Link models and their clones) and you can maintain strong privacy anywhere you have internet access, without using special software; think of it as an anti-surveillance tool in your pocket. It not only puts you on the Tor anonymity network that spies hate so much, but supports connection masking add-ons that prevent your Tor data from being blocked. You can visit China without worrying that you’ll have to use an insecure, heavily censored connection just to get online.
The catch? It’s not all that easy to set up. You have to be comfortable with loading unofficial code like OpenWRT, for a start. It’s also “highly recommended” that you use a modified router; there isn’t enough room on stock devices to load PORTAL without plugging in a USB drive, robbing you of the chance to use a cellular data stick. The team behind the firmware is working on simplifying the install process, though, and any headaches you deal with might be worthwhile if they curb anxiety later on.