Privacy on the internet never been a big concern for me. But recently, I dropped the "Nothing to hide" argument.
It all started with me noticing some ads related to things that I never discussed publicly but instead discussed with friends using WhatsApp. That made me grow some awareness that even though Facebook says all messages are encrypted while in transport, they are still able to read the messages in your device. Later on, I also had a blast reading the article about Jan Koum leaving Facebook.
It does not end with Facebook, Google has been in a lot of scandals around privacy, and there are some great discussions about how Google created a "filter bubble" problem. Which, in simple terms, is how Google manipulates our search results based on individual data.
Personal data today is power, and as everyone knows, power usually corrupts. Now imagine having an unfiltered stream of data from almost every internet user in the world.
Ok, I get it, so now what? WTF can I do?
That's what I kept thinking for some time, then I decided to take action, and today I believe I'm in a better place regarding my privacy.
The first thing I have done was to try my best to move away from Google, starting with the search engine. It may sound crazy, but it's the easiest change, DuckDuckGo is a fantastic search engine, and they are pretty heavy on privacy. They also maintain an excellent blog that contains a lot of information about privacy on the web.
Changing search engines was easy. Changing email provider was the most arduous task. I had to move from Gmail because not leaving it would make all my efforts of stop using Chrome, stop signing up to services using my Google account, and etc., be kind of nulled out if Google kept the ability to read all my emails. So it was settled, I had to leave Gmail.
I've tried out a few email providers, paid a month for some of them, but I did not have a pleasant experience because the most secure ones make necessary to use their own mobile app or companion OS app to decrypt/encrypt emails. The reason for that is how email is insecure by definition. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I'm currently using FastMail and iCloud Mail. FastMail is where I receive all emails from my domains, and well, my @me.com address became my personal email once again.
This search for more privacy led me to a few nights arriving home, and instead of watching Netflix, I was doing researches and moving away from services that clearly consume and sell my data. Also, securing my home network became a priority, which led me to buy a new fancy router, so all my devices would be connected to my VPN provider. Properly configuring all my devices to more privacy oriented settings also cost me a lot of research time.
It's not an easy task, I know. It will probably take you a few days, and a lot of planning to get rid of these services that you use so much and sometimes can't even think that you can live without them. But it is possible.