Digital Privacy Tools

Let’s face it – a lot of us are waking up to the fact that we are living in a digital equivalent of a glass house. The reasons are many – from the rampant disregard to our privacy from governments world wide, to the technical debt that still plagues the fundamental Internet architecture, to our complacency and desire for convenience above all, it’s all there. However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Yes, maintaining privacy online requires an effort. It is not always convenient. But it is also easier than before. Here are some points to help the good guys win the battle for digital privacy.


Don’t be a soft target. This is the most important rule of all.   Use HTTPS/TLS for everything. Wi-Fi networks are becoming ubiquitous, and a lot of people don’t think twice to hop on an open Wi-Fi network and browse away. Big mistake, especially when traveling overseas. Choosing convenience is a trap that catches a lot of flies. Same with the cellular networks – they are easily exploited.


Use a VPN client for your laptops and mobile devices. The good news here is that we are in the middle of a price war between various providers. I use Cloak, but there are other similar solutions out there. Do your research, and pick the one that works for you. It is money well spent.


Learn how to use the Tor network. It’s a powerful tool. There is a bit of a learning curve, but as of now, it is without equals in terms of giving an edge to the privacy minded. Take a look at the interactive infographic by The Electronic Frontier Foundation to see why Tor is important (or click the image below):


I also highly recommend using the Tor Browser bundle, and the Tails live Linux distribution. I have a generic USB stick with a bootable Tails image on it that goes with me everywhere.


Pause and examine the digital tools we use every day. Beware the ones that promise convenience and nothing else. ProtonMail is promising. Uber is disturbing.


Lastly, remember that as in any arms race, the balance of measures/countermeasures is constantly shifting. Stay informed, evolve, and adapt.