An Easy Guide To Taking Back Your Privacy
Modern technology has completely changed the way we interact with information. When once we needed to visit the local library to learn more about a particular subject, nowadays it’s easier to simply open a browser and search online.
And there are countless free tools offered online, many of which are provided by companies like Google and Microsoft. The problem is that these tools aren’t exactly free – there is a price, and it often involves the selling of private data for the sake of advertisement. Luckily, it’s not impossible to start living a life where data belongs to its owner, and where companies aren’t able to collect information constantly.
1. Cloud Services
Google is one of the biggest distributes of online cloud Services, such as Google Drive, which are aimed at making our lives as convenient as possible. Instant access to all of our files, for the most part, seems like a great idea, but in reality, much of what we upload gets checked over by Google’s servers. For those that want to carry on using a cloud service but don’t trust what’s happening to their data, it’s easier than ever to hire a personal server and use it much the same way.
Nextcloud, for example, is a privacy-focussed cloud service that provides many of the same tools as Google, such as backup, instant access, notes, calendar and contact synchronisation, and much more. One downside to this is that it requires that the user host their own server, which is more expensive than Google’s options, and requires more technical know-how.
2. Mobile Phones
Many people feel that leaving Android and getting an iPhone is an effective way of taking control of their data, but Apple is just as guilty when it comes to privacy. A better option by far is to instead look into getting a custom operating system for a smartphone. Services like LineageOS offer stock Android for a wide selection of phones, with the main focus being on providing the Android experience but without any of the extra data collection that usually comes with an Android device.
Much like Nextcloud, going this option does require some tinkering, and experience with the terminal console is definitely beneficial. Above all, it will provide a smartphone experience that’s free of much of what slows modern phones down, and thanks to large repositories of software provided for free on app stores like F-Droid, there’s no reason to ever be without the latest whether it’s for the privacy-concerned or for the players that want a cleaner experience.
Another step to take is to move accounts, which can mean removing a Google account and replacing it with a different service. Gmail is the world’s most popular email, but it’s just as easy to turn toward a privacy-focussed email such as Tutanota, where all emails can be encrypted.
It’s a good way of keeping email information safe from prying eyes, and pairs well with other services that offer end-to-end encryption, such as Signal, a very popular and secure alternative to WhatsApp.