If you do not like the Big Tech stranglehold on the economy, your privacy and your free speech, there’s only one way to take that control back and it might be uncomfortable. But if you care at all about winning in this fight, it’s worth it. Here’s how:
Your wallet, your data, and your time.
Don’t give them your money, access to your data and any of your time! They will die on the vine. This means not having/using a google account. This means carrying a flip phone when you travel outside the home. This means not using apps on IOS and Android that have full access to your contact list, camera, SMS messages, etc. This means canceling your social media accounts. By all means, never give these oligarchs your money! That includes cloud data usage, app purchases, online movie rentals, stock purchases, etc. If you say to yourself, “who cares, I have nothing to hide”, you will fall prey to their Artificial Intelligence as they collect *all* of your data, from your intimate sleep patterns, political/religious beliefs, sexual orientation, shopping habits, etc. They will use all this information against you in many ways and control every aspect of your life!
Spend your money, and time somewhere else. Do business with people and companies you trust. Ditch IOS/Android “apps” and start using your browser if you can’t give up your “smart” phone. The Brave Browser is a great one. Start using a good VPN like the one offered by Proton VPN or Private Internet Access (not sponsored, just ones I use and trust). Use Linux on your home computer, even if that means having one computer for business and a Linux computer for personal use. We can fight the big tech monopoly but it only starts when we divorce ourselves from them.
I can run my own VPN that becomes an encrypted, point-to-point connection from anywhere? Say what? Relatively safe and secure using public wifi?
Yes, it’s true. You can setup PiVPN on your Ubuntu Server or Raspberry Pi device. There are three components to this: PiVPN running on the server, the UFW firewall configuration, and the mobile device app.
First, install PiVPN
curl -L https://install.pivpn.io | bash
Most of the suggested configuration options should be applicable.
Once PiVPN is installed, you will need to add a user.
Give it a profile name and password. The file will be saved in a folder in your home directory called ‘ovpn’. You will want to save that to a flash drive and then import to your phone/tablet. I used FTP. There are many other ways to do this, but the flash drive method is most secure.
sudo ufw allow 1194/udp sudo ufw allow OpenSSH
Ask UFW to generate a list to make sure there are no double entries and delete them! Those double entries can mess up the PiVPN’s ability to connect.
sudo ufw status numbered sudo ufw delete x ("x" is the double entry)
Now, download “OpenVPN” app in your smartphone app store. It’s free. Then open the app and choose the third option, “OVPN Profile”.
Add the ovpn file you generated on your server. You can choose the “save private key password” if you would like. I use this because my phone has a fingerprint security feature. Once you connect, you will be connected to your home network from anywhere! Perfect security for pubic wifi.
Despite what Apple says about privacy (“What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone”), ads most definitely track you on your iPhone and iPad. They also track you in every web browser, including Safari. False advertising from Apple regarding ads.
The Verge published a nice piece that shows how to limit some of that tracking. Emphasis on ‘limit’; this will not eliminate ads. Still, it’s good to do everything you can to minimize or eliminate all forms of intrusion.
To limit ad tracking on your IOS device:
Go into “Settings” on your iPhone/iPad
Turn on the “Limit ad tracking”
To limit ad tracking in Safari:
Go into “Settings” on your iPhone/iPad
Find the section titled “Privacy & Security”
Turn on “Prevent Cross-Site Tracking”
Turn on the “Block All Cookies”
Block apps from phoning home when you aren’t using them:
Go into “Settings”
At the top, select “Background App Refresh”
From here you can allow apps to phone home via wifi, cellphone data or not at all.
Select the back button and make sure all apps are turned off.
Beyond all this, it’s better to use a VPN and Firefox, along with the Firefox addons: “Ghostery”, “https everywhere” and “Noscript Security Suite.” Regarding the “Noscript” add on, you can select it to allow scripts on pages you trust.
Our phones, fitbits, home security systems and voice-assisted speakers are gathering data about us and being used against us .
While law enforcement might have good intentions by using this data, who is to say that their interpretation of it is foolproof? Could one be framed by misuse of data interpretation? Are we better of not using these devices? I would argue that it’s unethical for any company or government to spy on us through these devices and the data should not be admissible in court. With the “internet of things” on the horizon where simple, everyday devices without ample data security are all around us (whether an individual voluntarily uses them or not), no one is safe from intrusion. Imagine having a cloud of data points around you at all times. Your movements, words and actions are accessible, tracked and even recorded at all times. Do you really want to live in a world like that where privacy is non-existent?
Apple’s new iPhone 8 will recognize your face in 3D in millionths of a second. This “feature” allows you to avoid the cumbersome fingerprint sensor. As of now, it is believed that unlike Samsung devices, the new iPhone will not include the fingerprint sensor.
If there was someone watching you, they would know exactly where you are and could confirm it really is you using the phone. Your logging into your bank account, checking Facebook and so on would be carefully monitored by law enforcement, government agencies or bad actors. At one point you would think people would connect the dots. Personally, I feel like I’m being forced to move back to a flip phone as these technological developments encroach on our privacy.