Privacy and Freedom

If you are interested in privacy and freedom generally,  there is quite a few simple steps you can take to mitigate what people know about you.

SOCIAL MEDIA

If you are concerned about privacy on social media or don’t want to be forced in to using a specific network  then there are alternatives.

I am using Diaspora.  This is a decentralized social media network, by this they mean that rather than having a large server or group of servers owned and controlled by a single entity,  there are lots of servers  (called pods) each are owned by independent parties.   You can even run your own server and have full control over what happens.

Other services include

Article about the power of Facebook and how to foster alternatives.

WEB BROWSING

The more common and well used web search services are well known for collecting huge amounts of data on us,  tracking what we do.   If you would perfer not to be tracked you switch to alternative search services such as duckduckgo.

E-MAIL

If you use e-mail at home then you should maybe consider who can read your e-mail and how you can be sure the person who has sent an e-mail is really that person.

One answer is to use gnu privacy guard.  This has two main components

  • Encryption:  This is good for sending private and maybe confidential information to people.
  • Signing:  This is good if you want to ensure that the person getting the e-mail knows it is from you,  It works on trust,  you sign a persons key after verifying with ID that that key belongs to the person who is giving you a copy of the printed key.  A key is unique to that person.
  • Web of trust:  Forming a web of trust gives you the peace of mind that each and every contact is trusted by identify verification.

https://emailselfdefense.fsf.org/en/

Another solution is to use services such as Protonmail which has privacy and encryption built in.

PASSWORDS

How to create strong passwords.   A password should be:

  • A mix of upper / lower case characters (A-Z & a-z)
  • Numbers (0-9)
  • Other characters (!”£$%^&*() )

One way to generate a good password is to use a password generator.  If you use a GNU / Linux based system,  then you can use a program called apg.

To install this use the package manager available for your system,

First thing you should do is read or at least scan through the man page for the package.

apg -m 30 : This will generate a 30 character password,   some websites,  limit your password length,  you may want to

  • a) not use these sites or
  • b) inform the website of this ‘FAULT’ as you would expect the character to be longer or unlimited,  one site I found had a limit of 16 characters,  which is a joke really.
  • As the why there is a limit anyway.

The second option is good, as you don’t always have a choice about using a website,   for example a government or specific service website,   you may HAVE to sign up.  So option a) becomes a non option.

CLOUD SERVICES (FILE STORAGE)

There are a number of solutions here too,   e.g Owncloud or Nextcloud, however you may not want to set these up at home,  perhaps find a trusted hosting provider who will (for a fee) host these for you    Or perhaps host your own,  on your own server but the server is in a data centre,   again there are a number of options

Services such as these along with Hubzilla have a lot of features, but the important thing is data ownership and control is back in YOUR hands.