A practical guide to increasing online privacy and security (for non-techies, too)


The year is 2020 and it is impossible to imagine a day without using a mobile phone, computer, smartwatch or internet in any shape or form. We are so dependent on information in every aspect of our lives and there is certainly a great number of products and services we may choose from in order to communicate, browse, search… Today, a lot of these products are free, as in, you don’t have to spend a cent on them and still be able to use them, but there is really no such thing as free in a capitalist world. You may not be spending your money, but you are “paying”, with your personal information. And that is what all of us must be aware of each time we enter the digital world.

To some people, this is not new. Some do not care. Some go with a point “yeah, like someone out there cares what I eat for breakfast”. All somewhat valid points, until a data breach happens and suddenly, your information is no longer in hand of a “trustful” company, but it is sold on a dark web, no one knows to whom or what will someone do with it. Or simply, your email address and password are exposed, and you were previously too lazy to set up all your accounts with different passwords, so now, someone can access your other accounts, those who were never in danger to begin with. Or, even worse, your email gets compromised, and now someone can access almost everything you do on the internet. Pretty scary, right?

Of course, not every scenario plays like this. What is described is among worst case scenarios, but it is important to understand what can happen. Fortunately, there are easy ways to protect yourself and the world itself is making progress in forms of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) [1] in European Union and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) [2] in the United States.

Despite, caution shouldn’t lack.

In this text, we’ll try to help you point out possible weaknesses in your way of using information technology and suggest ways how security and privacy can be increased. We will not go into details on everything, but rather leave links for everyone to explore more.

Before we dive into the issues directly, we’d like to point out that most of our recommendations will be free and open source software –  we will provide a link to a repository where code is hosted. We believe that it is important for software to be open source, since that ensures a possibility of everyone with the right skills to examine the code and point out flaws, maybe even suggest fixes.

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