Category: privacy

Mind the Metadata

One of the major perks of modern smartphones is the built-in camera. When was the last time you actually carried (or bought) a separate camera? I used to love the little Canon Elph cameras because they were small enough to carry around on a belt holster. But it’s gathering dust now because my iPhone arguably

TikTok Boom

If you haven’t heard of TikTok, you’re probably not a teen. This relatively new social media service is very popular with the younger generation. It’s been downloaded 1.5 billion times. With this app, you can share short videos and … well, you know, goofy social media stuff. I’m old. I don’t get it, either. The

Privacy-Preserving Contact Tracing

Apple and Google have proposed a method of doing contact tracing using the Bluetooth on our smartphones. It’s done using fancy cryptography and such, but I wanted to explain the basic mechanics in a simple way. Skip down to the bottom if you just want that part. We are all now learning way more about

Secure & Private Zoom Alternatives

During our global COVID-19 self-quarantining, video conferencing usage has exploded. I’ve tried to find hard statistics, but they’re rising so fast that anything I post now will be stale tomorrow. That said, I’ve seen usage growth figures as high as 400%. And since we’re all staying home now (right?), video chatting is a great way

Data Privacy Day 2020

Your privacy is under assault. I don’t just mean online privacy, I mean every day, real world privacy, as well. In the name of “better” marketing, we’re being tracked not just by our browsers, but also by our smart devices and even by our faces. I used to worry that people didn’t care about their

2020 New Year’s Resolutions

2019 is almost gone and 2020 is upon us. You know what that means: New Year’s Resolutions! I’ll let you worry about signing up for a gym membership or quitting smoking or whatever… I’m here to give you concrete steps you can take next year that will significantly improve your computer security and online privacy.

Why I’m Dropping Dropbox

I’ve been a faithful Dropbox customer for many, many years. Their service solved a very real problem for me: sharing files between multiple computers. As a software engineer (and just a generally geeky person) I have several computers. I have three at home (not including my file server or several Raspberry Pi project boxes) and

Wipe Data Before Dumping Devices

A recent study found that most people aren’t taking the time to properly wipe data off their hard drives before they resell them. The researchers bought 200 used hard drives and found that a whopping 59% of the drives still had data that was accessible, including “employment and payroll records, family and holiday photos (along

Try Firefox Private Network

[UPDATE: This is currently free while in beta, but in the future may not be.] This will be a simple one: Mozilla (maker of Firefox) is trialing a new, free VPN for its browser and you should use it. It’s called Firefox Private Network. It’s a free plugin for Firefox (which is the browser you