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Privacy

I have a very inconsistent behavior when it comes to online privacy. That is likely grave an understatement.

I mean, I consider myself someone who cares about my privacy. And yet we use Nest cameras at home and I use gmail. I also use a Verizon phone and it’s pretty well understood that mobile operators are selling our location data. Even television manufacturers are also selling us out.

I have come to realize I haven’t been thoughtful about the choices I’m making. Either it’s been a lack of thought or I have been too trusting. I suspect (and sort of hope it’s the latter). The looming question: is this trust justified?

I’m starting to take some steps and want to be more mindful about this issue. I deleted my account on Facebook once and for all. It takes 30 days to go through which is sort of crazy but I’m ready to move on.

I changed my settings on Safari to use DuckDuckGo as my default search engine. And now Apple Maps is integrated with DDG which is quite nice. I’ve also stopped using Waze and Google Maps on my phone. I’m trying out Firefox. I am switching from Amazon Echo to HomePods. I disconnected our TVs from our network. I have a growing list and I’m working through it.

I can already feel the change and it’s a bit mixed. There is a real convenience to giving it up and letting Google, Facebook and others personalize your online experience. Google Maps and search are just better. But they need to earn back my trust and so for now, I’m taking back some of choices. I’m already getting seeing less retargeted ads follow me and that feels refreshing.

I’ll end this quote from this fascinating book I’m currently reading called Feel Free by Zadie Smith.

But here I fear I am becoming nostalgic. I am dreaming of a Web that caters to a kind of person who no longer exists. A private person, a person who is a mystery, to the world and—which is more important—to herself. Person as mystery: this idea of personhood is certainly changing, perhaps has already changed