Category: 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

Choosing a VPN Service

When we surf the web, there are several ways that our activity can be tracked. But one spy we often overlook is our internet service providers. Not just our home internet provider, but also our cellular service provider. HTTPS Everywhere Thankfully, in recent years, HTTPS has been much more widely adopted on the internet. That

The Tyranny of the Default

Marketing firms love to tell us that we control our privacy – you simply need to opt out of tracking! Like Dorothy, we’ve had the power all along. Just click your heels three times and uncheck all those pesky tracking options under Settings… somewhere. Just call customer service and speak to a representative. Just mail

Big Brother 2.0

As Independence Day rolls around for those of us in the USA, our right to privacy is under attack from many angles. While surveillance capitalism is the area I tend to discuss most, our own democratic governments are perhaps the most existential threat to individual privacy. Welcome to Big Brother 2.0. Going Dark? The leaders

Behold the Eyes of the Beholder

If the eyes are the window to the soul, then it should come as no surprise in the age of surveillance capitalism that marketers are clamoring to look deeply into yours. That’s metaphorically speaking, of course. In reality, it’s more skin deep. As humans, we’ve been trained since birth and via natural selection to rely

Google Knows What You Bought

It shouldn’t surprise you to learn that Google can read your Gmail. You may even realize that Google is scanning your emails for things like trip itineraries, which allows them to automatically add flights and hotel reservations to your Google Calendar, for example. But you may not realize how much other juicy info is there

Mental Health Apps Behaving Badly

I ran across a disturbing article in The Verge about mental health apps that were oversharing user data. As usual, I’m not surprised, but still really angry. This is wrong and has to stop. The study by JAMA Network Open on 36 apps for smoking cessation and depression found that 29 of them shared some