How I’m locking down my cyber-life

🔗 Permalink  |  01/04/2019

For about a year now I have been cleaning up my digital life. This includes on the one hand cleaning out the various accounts on networks or tools that I never use again, but on the other hand also checking my data traces that I leave on the net.

This is a fork of the article How I’m locking down my cyber-life by Larry Sanger.

First steps

I’ve spent a long time working on how to reclaim the privacy of my digital life. Here are some resources that have helped me a lot:

A Plan

  1. Stop using chrome. The Google Group collects massive amounts of data on various channels and aggregates them into complex data sets of mine. Until a few months ago I had my mails, photos, appointments and files on Google. With these data my whole life can be traced and predicted quite easily > Where will I be when in the future? Creepy, isn’t it? Therefore I have set myself the goal not only to separate myself as completely as possible from the Google universe, but also to manage my data as decentralized as possible. Of course, this doesn’t make my digital life as comfortable as it used to be, but it doesn’t ensure that one company can aggregate all my data from different applications. Back to Chrome: I started to get rid of Google’s browser. I switched to Mozilla’s Firefox. I am currently testing Brave and of course the Tor browser is ready for use! I haven’t chosen my final browser environment yet. Brave is a privacy-first browser, but it’s based on Google technology. What’s more, Brave is a for-profit company. In contrast, Mozilla is a non-profit organization that fights for a free Internet… How do you feel about that?
  2. Stop using Google Search (when possible). That’s easy. There are some very good privacy-first search engines. I’ve chosen DuckDuckGo and I’m very happy with the results so far.
  3. Stop using gmail. I replaced Gmail with Protonmail and can highly recommend it.
  4. Using password management & avoid social logins I have replaced social logins with e-mail logins as far as possible. The reason for this is that unfortunately there are still services that only provide social logins. I also use 1Password as a tool to manage my passwords. This allows me to use cryptic and individual passwords for each service and I don’t have to remember them all. Furthermore, 1Password also implements 2-factor authentication.
  5. Stop using Google Drive, Calender & Contacts. I recently set up my own Nextcloud, which I use for file sharing, contact management and also as a calendar. So far I am very satisfied. However, the thought of having to take care of the infrastructure and administration of the Nextcloud myself is a deterrent to me.
  6. Study and make use of website/service/device privacy options. I’ve checked the privacy settings on most networks.
  7. Subscribe to a VPN. I have been using a VPN on my smartphone as well as on my computer for several months now and can only recommend this to everyone. I am writing a separate article about this…

Tasks I still want to tackle:

Did I forget something? How do you proceed?

About the author

A photo of me, Niklas Jordan. I wear a cap with the patagonia brand logo on it, black glasses and a grey shirt, and I'm smiling. In the backgroundThe background shows a blurred heath landscape. The photo is somewhat orange, because it was taken during the sunset.

Hey, I am Niklas Jordan. A full-time TechForGood dude and part-time Earth science student. I am passionate about natural hazards, Earth observation, human rights, climate, data science, low-cost technology & tech ethics. I am hosting a podcast about naturual hazards and technology, publish a monthly newsletter about people, planet & technology and found a international community about open source disaster tech. Oh wait, one more thing to know: I love rough weather!

What are you waiting for? Get in touch with me!