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4 Privacy Focused Raspberry Pi Projectsby@danarel
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2,213 reads

4 Privacy Focused Raspberry Pi Projects

by Dan ArelOctober 27th, 2022
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As the world gets more focused on privacy rights, companies will begin to offer more and more “at-home” products to offer you “more privacy.” The Raspberry Pi is a single board computer around the size of a credit card. It has options such as WiFi, ethernet, USB, and more, allowing the user to set up a basic home computer that runs a variety of Pi-based Linux operating systems. With a Pi you can easily create your own Nextcloud server at home and store all your files there.
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As the world gets more focused on privacy rights, companies will begin to offer more and more “at-home” products to offer you “more privacy.”


There have been home firewalls that plug into your router, even expensive self-hosting email servers for those who want to try setting up their own email and realize it’s a lot harder than it seems.


At the end of the day, most of these (not all), are preying on people’s fears and don’t offer much for privacy. Or at the very least, as I will show you, offer a very expensive product for something that be done for under $50.


Enter the Raspberry Pi. The Pi, as I will refer to it from here on out, is a single-board computer around the size of a credit card. It has options such as WiFi, ethernet, USB, and more, allowing the user to set up a very basic home computer that runs a variety of Pi based Linux operating systems (It can run some version of Windows as well, but this is about privacy, so let’s stick with Linux).


While the Pi can be used for a personal computer, media center, retro gaming device, and countless other fun projects, I want to focus on a few great at home privacy projects you can use your Pi for.


Ad/Content Blocker


Most of us use ad and content blockers such as uBlock Origin on our browser, but with a Pi, you can set up an at home blocker for the whole house, no browser plugin needed (though, for redundancy, I do recommend both).


There is PiHole and AdGuard both offer free software options that allow the user to set a variety of content blockers up to stop ads, and even blacklist websites (even per-device). Don’t want people having access to YouTube, you can block it.


The concept is very simple and just requires that you set up each devide on your network to connect to the Pi and blockers DNS address (which both products can walk you through) and then your traffic is then routed from the router, through the Pi, and then to the device. If done with a wired connection, there is zero loss in speed. When done wirelessly, you might sometimes see a slight drop, but usually it’s not noticeable.


Cloud Storage


Most of us have cloud storage somewhere. We use iCloud, Dropbox, OneDrive, or any other variety of cloud storage options, including privacy focused options such as Nextcloud, Owncloud, or Tresorit.


But did you know with a Pi you can easily create your own Nextcloud server at home and store all your files there? You want privacy, there’s not much more private than physically having your files stored in your own home.


It can take a little work, but Nextcloud is incredibly easy to use and is feature rich for those looking for great cloud-based solutions.


VPN


Now, I want to start here by saying that if you’re avoiding government surveillance or think you could be in physical harm, setting up your own VPN isn’t always the best idea. But for the average internet user who might want to mask some traffic from ISP or want to make it harder to hackers to access your information in transit.


What you should know is that it won’t offer you more benefits that you get from a larger VPN like changing server locations to watch streaming services in other countries or changing your physical location to avoid surveillance.


It’s a fun project regardless and does offer benefits as long as you’re clear on what it can and cannot do.


Password Manager


Password managers such as Bitwarden allow you to self-host your password manager so that you’re not relying on their services to store your passwords.


You can easily set up your Pi at home as your password server and connect it to your devices even on the go. Much like cloud storage, this puts the data itself in your hands, not trusting someone else.


These are just a few ideas you can use at home for your Pi. I have seen projects where people set up their own security camera so they can avoid using products like Ring.


You can even run a few of these on the same device. Depending on your server load, you can easily manage cloud server, ad blocker, and likely even your password manager all at the same time.


The Raspberry Pi is a great and fun computer with countless projects you can find yourself running.