Hackernoon logoThe Social Dilemma in 2021: Personal Data Privacy by@kalilinux

The Social Dilemma in 2021: Personal Data Privacy

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I am a geek. I just love to learn about tech and share knowledge. That's ALL

It's needless to say we are living in the digital era. Nowadays our life is not as difficult as it was before the age of technological advancements. We can connect to the world in seconds. Social media and the Internet helps us a lot. All social media and messaging platforms are free.

But nothing is truly free.

If you are not paying for it, you're not the customer; you're the product being sold.

What Do They Have?

They have everything about us. Search engines and social media platforms know us better than we know ourselves; privacy is a serious issue. This not only applies to special persons, like political leaders or journalists, but also every person needs to focus on their online privacy.

Many people are confused here, asking "what do they do with my search history? I don't care about it."

Okay - let me break this down. One person's search behavior really doesn't matter, but when it comes to millions of people, it really matters. Big organizations and politicians have a structured data table of everyone. They often use your data to get more strategic and sell more to us. They can even affect elections also and change the government.

These things can be so big that we can't imagine. I recommend watching a Netflix documentary called "Social Dilemma" to understand the whole thing.

Now, what can we do? We just need to follow some simple steps to keep our privacy.

Leave Windows and Mac and Use Linux

Windows is really not so good; whoever uses Mac or Linux knows how bad Windows is. We hackers know that numerous viruses, malware, spyware, ransomware are available for Windows. Cracking its password is super easy. Bottom line: using Windows is not safe.

Now let's discuss the Mac. Apple has built an excellent reputation for keeping consumer data private. We can use this secure and stable operating system. But if we think deeply, then we know that Apple owns its source code and can do whatever they want with it . Apple was fined for slowing down their old devices to sell newer products.

Here we can trust Linux totally. The main reason being that it is open-source; we can see the whole code. Geeks around the world contribute to Linux through their programming skills. Everyone knows about the programs inside Linux.

Linux is fast, reliable, and stable. Nowadays, using Linux is very easy and user-friendly like Windows. If you want to switch over to Linux from Windows, I suggest Linux Mint and Elementary OS is for MacOS users.

Using Linux will save our privacy. With the new update of the Wine tool, we can run most of our favorite Windows Applications on Linux.

Say Goodbye to Google

We need to say goodbye to Google if we want to keep our privacy. It is not tough. We have many alternative search engines. Duckduckgo and Qwant are top of the list. They are really good. We just need to change our browser's default search engine from Google to DuckDuckgo.

Duckduckgo and other privacy-focused search engines don't save our private data. These are safe to use.

We even can create our own search engine to keep privacy in our own hands.

Privacy Focused Email Services

Gmail is the leading e-mail provider in the industry. But if we want to save our privacy we should use other email services. ProtonMail is one of the best and it has lots of features. It is safe to use and keep our privacy. Protonmail uses encryption on mails that are too much secured.

Social Media

I am not telling you to leave Facebook and Instagram and other social media because these are the main social media players; lots of social media strategies will not work without these platforms.

We just need to restrict the use of social media. We should not share our private things on social media. We should not share our mobile number on social media; not even our birth date or car's license number plate.

We should share those things we want to make public.

The best way is to use some privacy-focused social media. MeWe can be a good alternative to Facebook but they have very few users. This is the same issue with Mastodon (Open-source Twitter replacement).

Mobile Phones

Mobile phones, especially Android phones, are the most wanted enemy of privacy. We need to add a Google account to these android devices too works best. Here Google gets everything about us. What to do?

The iPhone is a better alternative for security because of Apple's safety reputation to keep our data safe. Otherwise, we can use Android phones without adding a Google account with it (This will be totally usable, even I'm using it).

Some open-source privacy-focused mobile phones are available in the market where we can use them. But they are quite unpopular. Purism Librem 5 is one of them.

Use Signal & Telegram

After the recent privacy policy updates in WhatsApp, we should not use WhatsApp. I've been using WhatsApp since 2010 on a daily basis, but it's time to say goodbye.

Elon Musk said "use Signal", and Edward Snowden also using Signal from 2015.

Signal is becoming superstar after WhatsApp's new policy updates. We can install Telegram and Signal on our Desktop.

There is another game-changer: "Telegram". Telegram is already very popular and now it is getting more attention.

Some More Steps

  • Turn off notifications or reduce the number of notifications you receive.
  • Uninstall social media and news apps that we don't use much.
  • Use browser extensions to block recommendations.
  • Fact-check before sharing, liking, or commenting when the information looks surprising.
  • Do not give devices to children; no screen time.
  • Never accept a recommended video from YouTube, Facebook, or anywhere.
  • Try to avoid any clickbait material.
  • Keep devices out of the bedroom after a certain time.

Final Thoughts

Privacy is not a myth, but it is a human right. If we are using the Internet, we can be traced and tracked.

Our focus should be changing habits to maintain our online privacy. They will know something about us, but if we apply the above advice, they will get minimal amounts of personal information about us.

We should be just another product, as they think of us. Don't forget to watch The Social Dilemma on Netflix.


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