The Living Thing / Notebooks :

Confidentiality, corporate surveillance edition

Our revealed preference for revealing our preferences

Usefulness: 🔧
Novelty: 💡
Uncertainty: 🤪 🤪 🤪
Incompleteness: 🚧 🚧 🚧

Threat model: You think that perhaps massive corporate data collection is an empire of oily rags which threatens democracy, or perhaps just leads to strangers knowing too much about your doctor apppointments and where your kids are, or indeed lets anyone find your who knows your number. You want to risk the amount of this ambient data to reduce predatory business behaviour towards you. You regard social media as the new pollution thw we have not yet regulated.

General hardening guides has a nice basic list of basic privacy steps for browsing without leaking stuff through notoriously leaky apps.

Levelling up macOS by drduh, various UK NCSC guides, e.g ubuntu.

Which apps should I allow to use my voice?

None of the voice assistants can be trusted and PS Skype is spyware.

Search engines

You don’t want large search businesses to know what you are searching for?

Defeating browser trackers

You don’t feel like doing free market research for large multinationals, spilling your friends’ secrets, or facilitating Cambridge Analytica voter manipulation? Good-o, reducing that somewhat is easy.

I really need to tidy the info about these up a bit and explain, because they are so simple and so useful. However, they may be an endangered species.

Minimising tracking of your purchases

Whole other complicated story, 🚧 I think worth doing. Consider what Amazon knows about you.

In addition to knowing what people buy, Amazon also knows where people live, because they provide delivery addresses, and which credit cards they use. It knows how old their children are from their baby registries, and who has a cold, right now, from cough syrup ordered for two-hour delivery. And the company has been expanding a self-service option for ad agencies and brands to take advantage of its data on shoppers.

Social networks

Se social media if you must.

VPNs and encrypted networks

See VPNs etc.

A separate browser for every privacy suck

I use a Single-site browser to access Facebook because

You can do this too, for social media, or for whatever other website you wish to.

Doing various other things with a modicum of discretion


See chat.


See email.

Password manager

You need one. See passwords.


See transferring money.

Synchronising files

See Synchronising files.

Other confidentiality-violating things

Internet of things

There is no reason you shoudl trust your internet of things devices not to be spyware.

Going deeper.

You should be approximately aware of the nasty things that people can and will do to your computer. Don’t do them yourself.

Getting old school


Academic stuff to read to stay paranoid