The Ubuntu Live CD is the excellent, free installer disk for the Ubuntu GNU/Linux OS; it has a variety of disk tools as well as a fully functioning version of the OS so that you can test-drive it before you install it. However, the standard Live CD image doesn't come with disk encryption tools; to use these, you presently have to download the "alternate CD" and fiddle around with the command line. The Electronic Frontier Foundation thinks that more people would use disk encryption to protect their data if it was easier to do so, and is hoping to get the Live CD changed to include the disk encryption stuff as standard.
Changes to the Ubuntu Live CD are voted on in the Ubuntu Brainstorm site. EFF is asking people who like this idea to upvote it there. I just did -- will you?
Encrypting your hard drive protects your privacy and your data in case your computer is lost, seized, stolen, or otherwise ends up in someone else's hands. Police are unlikely to access your encrypted data without your cooperation or a court order, so using disk encryption makes it much more difficult for them to violate your Fourth Amendment rights that protect you from unreasonable search and seizure.
In addition to being simpler and easier than only encrypting documents that you consider sensitive, full disk encryption protects you in a variety of ways that partial encryption does not. Sensitive data ends up on your hard drive that you might not think about or realize is there, including your browser history, cookies, and saved passwords. Full disk encryption also prevents attackers from changing operating system or application files to compromise your security. Federal government laptops have been encrypted since 2006. Shouldn't yours be as well?
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