The Best Online Privacy Guides

The Best Online Privacy Guides

This is a collection of the best, mort reputable and generally most acknowledged online privacy guides on the web. They are sorted in alphabetical order to avoid any biases, and each of them contain a short snippet quoted from the respective sites. I have not and will not add privacy guides that are created by VPN “review” sites or other such entities that create content just to spam it with affiliate links. I dare to say that these guides together cover all the bases when it comes to the best privacy practices, OPSEC, and basic online anonymity – even for more advanced users. However, if you think I’m missing a guide, please leave a comment below and I’ll happily review and possibly add it to the list, thank you.

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Why Quitting the Big Five is Bad Privacy Advice

Why Quitting the Big Five is Bad Privacy Advice

The big five – Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google & Microsoft – have got a stranglehold of our digital life. Not just our digital identities, but almost all of our web experiences are reliant or connected to the technologies of these five companies.

Recently, Daniel Oberhaus from Motherboard and then Kashmir Hill from Gizmodo both experimented by completely “quitting” the Big Five, for four and six weeks respectively. Both of their stories are very insightful and definitely recommended reading for anyone. However, quitting the Big Five is exactly the kind of take on privacy that turns many people off from becoming more privacy aware. I’ve seen this happen time and time again in r/privacy, where people who have just tipped their toes in the world on online privacy and security are getting barraged with comments like “LOL IF YOU’RE NOT USING LINUX YOU’RE SCREWED” and “YOU NEED TO QUIT ALL SOCIAL MEDIA AND DELETE ALL YOUR ACCOUNTS EVERY-WHERE“. But if we as a privacy community would dial back our tone just a bit, I think we could do way more good than what we’re doing right now.

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Before You Buy an Oura Ring (a List of Missing Features)

Before You Buy an Oura Ring (a List of Missing Features)

As one of the pre-order customers, I have accumulated already over 6 months of data with the second-generation Oura ring. I have a lot of good things to say about Oura, and I can confirm that I’ve managed to make positive changes to my sleep and recovery routines. However, I can’t say that the Oura system would be perfect yet – there’s room for improvement especially on the app’s side.

If you’re interested to see in-depth review of the ring, I recommend checking out videos from Bioneer and Alex Fergus. This is not a review, this is a list of things Oura is still missing. Call it a wishlist or feature requests, here are the 6 things you should probably know before buying an Oura ring:

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Is DNA Based Healthcare Worth the Risk?

Is DNA Based Healthcare Worth the Risk?

All of us are built differently. That’s why our bodies can handle different foods in different ways, different workout routines yield varying results between individuals, and some of us seem to always get the seasonal flu while others stay stuffy-nose-free (seemingly without trying really hard to do so). So figuring out what’s the healthiest – the best – way of eating, exercising and living your life seems like a reasonable and even rational goal.

So how can we figure that out? With DNA testing, or to be more exact, analyzing genome and blood biomarkers. However, this type of testing has some obvious privacy repercussions. Let’s weigh the pros and the cons.

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Controlled Identity Exposure as a Doxxing Countermeasure

Controlled Identity Exposure as a Doxxing Countermeasure

Usually when talking about personal data in the context of increasing (online) privacy, the discussion is revolving around either one or two of the following subjects:

  1. Limiting or removing as much of your data as possible
  2. Populating data about you with disinformation

What I see talked about less (or barely at all) is the active management of your online data and the controlled method of data disclosure. Maybe some dismiss this as a no-brainer, but in my opinion there’s some easy and powerful wins to be gained by giving this third subject the attention it deserves.

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The Science of Apple Inc., or How to Create a Cult in Five Easy Steps

The Science of Apple Inc., or How to Create a Cult in Five Easy Steps

Recently I finished reading an interesting book called “The 48 Laws of Power” by author Robert Greene. Among the “laws” introduced in the book,  there’s one called Play on People’s Need to Believe to Create a Cultlike Following (Law 27), and oh boy did I have a good chuckle reading it. The resemblance between the description of how cults are created and everyone’s favorite premium tech firm, Apple Inc., was so uncanny that I just had to share it. Plus we’ve all seen enough of Cult of Apple references around the Internet to know that maybe there’s something more to this.

So here’s the five easy steps of creating a cult (of Apple), with hefty citations from the aforementioned book.

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Is There Privacy with Wearables? Case Oura Ring

Is There Privacy with Wearables? Case Oura Ring

Out of all the information we generate (willingly or unwillingly) out there, nothing gets more personal than health data. Traditionally, health data has been collecting dust in some public healthcare sector’s file cabinet, but thanks to fitness and wellness gadgets and services, that data is now scattered across the world.

Workout heatmaps reveal secret military bases left and right, DNA testing services get breached and fitness trackers go bankrupt leaving data who knows where. Is there any hope for privacy left in this field?

After 8 months of waiting since preorder, I’m now an owner of a new Oura ring – one of the most advanced wellness and sleep trackers on the market. Among other things, Oura gives its user (wearer?) every day an overall score for Sleep, Readiness and Activity. I decided to return the favor and go through Oura’s Privacy Policy with a fine comb and give Oura a Privacy score. This is how it went down.

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