Privacy & Data Protection on Desktop and Android

Get the right tools and free and open-source softwares for desktop and smartphones

  • How to setup your Google Privacy Settings
  • How to secure your Android 10 phone
  • Change your Web Browser and default search engine
  • A selection of basic Free and Open Source Softwares and Apps
  • How to Secure your Password Management
  • Switch to Linux!

1. How to setup your Google Privacy Settings

Let’s start with Google, the first and biggest partner of our digital life (alongside Facebook Inc. and Amazon Web Services). Using or being forced to use its services doesn’t mean you should accept the amount of personal data it collects. In fact it only takes a few minutes to configure your Google Privacy Settings so it stops monitoring every action. And by “configure” I mean disable everything.

Disable everything.

2. How to secure your Android 10 phone

The basic principle: Turn everything off” as Protonmail puts it in its recommended post: https://protonmail.com/blog/android-privacy/

Techlore: Android tutorial on Security & Privacy

3. Change your Web Browser and default search engine!

You don’t need Google Chrome, and you definitely don’t need Google Search.

Web browsers

  • My Web browser of choice is Brave, a free and open-source web browser developed by a Mozilla former CEO, based on Chromium, focused on privacy and blocking ads and website trackers. Fast and fantastic to configure, compatible with every Chrome Extensions.
Brave browser
  • My secondary browser, just because I can’t resign myself to uninstall it, is Firefox of course ❤.

Search engines

  • Search engine alternatives are legion: DuckDuckGo is my current favorite, followed by Qwant and Ecosia. Their results are a compilation of multiple sources including Yahoo! Search, Bing, and their own Web crawlers. Neither of them store any IP addresses or log user information.
  • And should you ever need the Google results on DuckDuckGo, just prefix your search with “:g” or “!g

Web tools

I put here some incredible useful tools:

  • temp-mail.org: Temp Mail provides temporary, secure, anonymous, free, disposable email address. Do you need to register on a website and confirm with a mail? Go for Temp-mail! Forget about spam, advertising mailings, hacking and attacking robots. Keep your real mailbox clean and secure.
  • monitor.firefox.com: Firefox Monitor is an online service developed by Mozilla that informs users if their email address and passwords used has been leaked in data breaches, using the database provided by “Have I been Pwned?” Enter your email address and see if it appears on breached websites! Use this tool to delete any unnecessary accounts and update your passwords (see last section of this article!)
  • justdeleteme.xyz: A directory of direct links to delete your account from web services. The links are colour-coded to indicate the difficulty level of account deletion, from green to red. Have a look on the page before creating an account on a specific service, and use temp-mail.org if needed.

4. FOSS : a selection of Free and Open Source Softwares and Apps

One unique rule: always choose the free and open source alternative!

Web services

  • Gmail: ProtonMail. You won’t find a better secure and private alternative to Gmail. The Web view is perfect, the Android/iOS app fantastic. It lacks however a proper Calendar app, currently in beta, as well as a Contact app.
  • Google Calendar: ProtonCalendar. Web view only for now.
  • VPN: ProtonVPN (you get the point?). Powefull and free for a limited use.

Specific Android / iOS Apps

  • Keyboard: AnySoftKeyboard. Don’t take your Keyboard apps lightly! They can send to servers everything you type and search, including contact lists and phone numbers. Be sure to install a local only keyboard (ie not Gboard, Samsung Keyboard or Microsoft Swiftkey) or to block any connexion with a firewall.
  • Android Firewall: NetGuard. This app allows you to block Wifi and Data connexion for each app installed on your phone. Necessary.
  • SMS & Discussion: Signal. The WhatsApp alternative 100% private and encrypted, that should also replace your default messaging app!
  • Password management: BitWarden. See below for the full explanation.

5. How to Secure your Password Management

Such an underestimated topic! This is simple: there are only two proper ways to handle your passwords.

The hacker way: Keepass

And by “the hacker way” I mean: a bit technical for a large audience.

KeePassXC interface to generate strong passwords

The cloud-based way done right: BitWarden

BitWarden homepage

Linux!

You now have a basic knowledge of security and privacy on the Web!

KDE Neon running Plasma Desktop

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Rphl-Mstl

Rphl-Mstl

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OS explorer, UI & UX passionate, Voxels crafter, code lover, Video Games player, Podcasts listener, Music amateur // Digital Publishing professional