Well everyone, we’ve almost done it, another year in the books. And well…it’s certainly been a year, hasn’t it? The environment has seen better days to be sure, politics in general is messy to say the least, and oh yes, who could forget our lovely global pandemic? But despite all of that, there are still things to celebrate. The state of tech for the privacy-conscious is doing surprisingly well, and so I thought I’d make a short video to highlight some of my favorite open-source and open-web tech tools.

Data privacy is important. That’s something that everyone should be aware of, but unfortunately, it’s not really the case. In a world of free services from companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and others, the allure of giving up your privacy is completely understandable. Over the last few decades, we’ve slowly-but-surely been conditioned to give away control of our data to large tech companies, who monetize by harvesting our data, building profiles of who we are, and then selling that to advertisers. If that feels a bit gross…well, it’s because it kind of is. Don’t leave just yet, there’s hope around…

Congratulations! You made it to 2020!

Hello, and welcome to the distant future, the year 2020 to be precise! If you’re just arriving here, you might expect a lot has changed, and indeed it has; however, instead of hoverboards and flying cars, we have corporate-controlled web standards and operating systems that constantly phone home to report your data. What a time to be alive…

But a new year offers new opportunity, and now is a great time to resolve to make 2020 the year that you start taking data privacy and security more seriously in your life. If you’ve read some of my other articles, maybe…

If someone had told you 14 years ago that Facebook would have over 2 billion users and would be counted as one of the most valuable companies in the world, would you have believed them? The pace at which social media has taken the world by storm is pretty hard to comprehend, especially considering the humble origins of connecting school friends with one another. And yet, likely because of this rapid pace of growth, the majority of users have never stopped to really consider the sheer amount of private data they are giving up in the process.

File Storage. It’s a concept that goes back essentially to the beginning of the computer industry. While information was originally stored on analog media such as paper punch cards, storage really took a big leap forward in the 1950s when magnetic storage began appearing on the scene. This ignited a race in storage density, leading to more and more storage capacity on smaller and smaller storage devices. Throughout this race though, all of these advances shared one common element: local storage. …

On a quiet, Sunday morning, do you ever find yourself recalling back to the good old days of Microsoft Outlook Express, pining for the experience of entering in strings of SMTP and POP3 settings, and scheduling weekly backups of e-mail content and contacts?

Of course not, it was terrible, and the world of webmail is faster, easier, and better in almost every conceivable way. Services like Gmail and Outlook.com have spoiled us from a user experience perspective, but in the process, we’ve also traded away one of the strongest benefits of local e-mail storage: privacy. …

If you read my previous article about Virtual Private Servers, you’ll recall that one of the major benefits that this technology enables is the ability to run your own cloud applications, while maintaining control over your private data. One of the biggest potential leak points for your private data comes when you communicate with other people through services such as text-messaging, iMessage, and Hangouts (or whatever Google is calling their messaging service this week). …

There was a time, not too long ago, where running your own server was a monumental task. The challenges were many, including cost, performance, and technical knowledge required. Nowadays, while running a server might not be as straightforward as installing an app on your mobile device, the barriers to entry have been lowered dramatically.

While there are many ways in which you can run a server (including self-hosting at home), probably the cheapest, easiest, and best-performing option is leasing a shared Virtual Private Server, or “VPS”. Without getting too deep in the technical details, this essentially means you are given…

If you were born before 1984 (ominous…) then you probably recall a time on the Internet when using a search engine was more a dark art than science, and finding a relevant result often meant digging through dozens of pages of returns from engines like Alta Vista, Yahoo, and Ask Jeeves. Then, in 1997, Google changed all of that. Suddenly the information you were looking for seemed to appear in the first few results, and as Google got better at indexing the entire Internet, they even began to know what you were looking for before you even finished typing. …

How are you reading this article right now? Recent trends say that you’re more than likely reading it on a phone; however, if you’re more the traditional type, and you’re reading this on a laptop (or, gasp, even a desktop), then you’re probably using either Microsoft Windows or Apple Mac OS. Those are both wonderful, modern operating systems, but they’re not especially great for ensuring your data isn’t being shared (especially in the case of Windows 10). For those of you who put a priority on privacy though, there is another option: Linux.

The History of Linux

The story of Linux begins in the…

Kelly Rush

Just a guy trying to find the intersection of technology and making the world a better place. Follow me @PracticalPrivaC

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