Tag Archives: Google

100 Days to Privacy Online: Day 1 – Getting Started

100 Days to PrivacyThe task of regaining your online privacy is a daunting one. With most services we use based on a Surveillance Economy it is purposefully made inconvenient to switch to more privacy friendly services. This is by design of course. When you think of all the various services people use (including myself) it becomes almost overwhelming the idea of decoupling your online life from the people that harvest and use your personal data. So what I am proposing is a 100 day plan to greatly improve your online and in some cases real world privacy.

Let’s consider some of the products/services I use:

  • Google
    • Search
    • Gmail/Google Apps (work)
    • Drive
    • Voice
    • YouTube
    • Maps
    • Analytics
  • DropBox
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Snapchat
  • Apple iPhone
  • Spotify
  • Zillow
  • Tumblr
  • Netflix
  • Amazon Prime

This list does not include any games or some other apps I use on occasion. But from the above list you can imagine the massive amount of data about my likes, current interest, relationships, and a myriad of other data points can glean if correlated. Under your Google Account page there is a link to “My Activity”. In upcoming posts I will touch upon various things you can do to replace or protect your privacy using the above services.

Here is a sample of what might look like:

So pretty much everything I have done is logged and organized. Google also keeps all this data and the data they gather from crawling your Gmail emails (for example) to better target advertising. But this data can also be used for more nefarious reasons.

So what is a person to do!?

With this 100day plan you can chip away at small things you can change in your daily Internet lives to become more privacy conscious and pro-active.

Today’s first small step. 

Change your search engine to something good, yet privacy friendly: DuckDuckGo

Then follow the “Learn More” link under the search bar to add it to your browser and make it default. By just changing your search engine to one that does not track you it will be a big first step in curtailing the data you share.

More on DuckDuckGo’s Privacy

Freeing Yourself from Google’s Gmail

Gmail FrustrationIn a previous post I was writing about weaning myself off of Google. Well let me tell you, it is not easy. Harder than I even imagined it would be. Actually it is a major pain in the ass!

For this experiment I opted for a Yandex email address as my new main personal email. It has an easy to use interface and the ability to sync other emails (such as my Gmail) with it. The interface is clean and pretty good. The URL has “neo2” in the path when logged in so I am assuming it is based on OpenWebMail somehow. Which is fine with me.

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Weaning Off Google – The First Step

google_msn_yahoo-fish-cartoonThey say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. Well folks I am here to say I have one…

It’s my Google-ification!

Now I am not saying there is anything wrong with Google. More that I had the epiphany that I am up to my eyeballs in it.

The other night I started pondering what all I use and how (or if) it is connected to Google. Just have a look at your Google Dashboard and you might be surprised! Here is a short list of things I use that are all Google…

  • GMail
  • Android
  • Google Voice
  • YouTube
  • GTalk
  • Google+
  • AdSense
  • Google Docs/Drive
  • Picasa
  • Analytics
  • Search

With the above just being the key points! I am way deep in the sea of Google. So what is a guy to do???

Firstly the easiest thing for me to change behavior wise is not search using Google. I have changed my Chrome to use DuckDuckGo as default for search. A few other good alternatives are:

Next installment I will be switching over my Gmail to an alternative.