Retaking my privacy, ditching Chrome

Since the first time I used internet in 1996, I have been very particular about my privacy online. When Facebook and Gmail became a thing, I totally dropped my guard and just let go. I gave up.

I have started to rebuild my own “Wall” for not just my own protection but that of my family as well.

Chrome I completely ditched Chrome for all it’s ease-of-use it tracks a lot and way more than it should. I have come back to Firefox for now.

Google Well we all know this one. It’s gone too. I have since move to http://www.duckduckgo.com It works just as well if not better. I still have to get over the fact that the first result is actually a result and not Ads. I tend to skip the first 2–3 results. That is changing fast. We adapt.

SSL Encryption Only using sites with SSL encryption actively. This includes my own blog at acmedata.in. While I can install SSL, I just don’t think it’s worth the hassle to maintain for the moment. Medium doesn’t require any more personal information than you’re willing to provide if you sign up directly. I am happy with that and will use it. So I move to Medium for future posts. There are still drawbacks to it, but it’s good for now and I can always export my posts

Encrypted browsing ISP are looking for ways to eat their customers legally. Verizon has been on the news lately. USA is far more vocal and transparent than many countries. One can only imagine what some other ISPs in countries are up to without proper oversight. VPN is an option, but I haven’t found one that I can trust enough to provide good connection and privacy. For now I’ve setup an SSH tunnel to at least prevent my ISP from snooping into my history and work. I let most of my programs use the Direct Internet connection including large file downloads, games and my development work which is secured elsewhere.

Disk Encryption This was a bit harder. It is easy to simple use the Operating System feature in Linux, Mac and Windows to enable encryption. Linux OS like Ubuntu have had disk encryption for several years. Windows 10 has it too. I have made sure that my System/Data disks are encrypted. It is probably better to spend sometime and use a disk encryption that you install yourself rather than the one provided by Corporations, I am sure they can decrypt it without requiring due process.

Emails I used to keep all my emails on my server, then moved to services like Dreamhost where you can get unlimited emails setup with unlimited space for about 9$ a month. I have become too reliant on Gmail specially after using Android phones. It’s going to take sometime but I am moving all my emails back to Dreamhost. Email is a lot more important.

Photos I’ve never posted personal photos online. I do not post my kids pictures online either. I just don’t think I have that right.

I noticed Games like Killing Floor 2 (which I play, but will not anymore) have also installed tracking backdoors in the game. Sure it’s harmless but that’s one backdoor anyone can exploit and the damage to my system alone will run into thousands of dollars. If data is stolen, that would be totally inexcusable on my part.

Laptop Camera I always put a sticker on it.

This fight will go on.