The Future of Online Security and Privacy ⋆ Michael Musgrove
This is an epilogue from my last post about what I want to share with my daughter, which is a reach into the future.
Things are happening fast in the USA, I feel more so than the rest of the world, but that’s because of the incessant turbulence we’ve been experiencing due to political, cultural, and technological forces, which the USA is a beacon fo the world of. For good or bad, and right now, bad in many ways. It means adaptability is imperative and action must always be appropriate and prudent.
I keep up with current events and technology and stay on the tip of the wave pretty well. And I try t use my education and experience, and as much wisdom as I can muster, to stay on my toes. I’m not a conspiracy theorist. I’m a very analytical, absorb all the information, wait-and-listen, and make prudent, quick decisions type of person.
This has become easier thanks to my advancing age, wisdom, and rapidly-advancing technology. I know how to keep feelers out and where they should be feeling and for what better each day. It’s from living a tedious life via trial and error I’ve honed that skill.
In my previous article, I shared what I want to share with my daughter. A lot of that, and my thoughts, via writing, need to be kept safe for her use (or at least keeping, whether she chooses to read this or not).
We’ve had many goofs and innocent trip-ups over the past several decades technologically while the world was trying to catch up and gain footing with the pace we’re putting information and tolls out for disseminating such.
The web v 1.0 was pretty much beta. v 2.0 was squaring things away and getting organized and some billion or so pieces in place. We’re at 3.0 and now there’s maturation and real stakes in place.
Most noticeably, from a cultural stance, I sense technology and our government are getting into bed with each other. That’s been a tenuous relationship over the years, but where are now I think is a place both have lost their cold feet and ready to start becoming more intimate than never before.
What that will result in is a lot of power-grabbing, regulatory attempts (failures and successes with the usual unintended consequences), and frantic accumulation of any and all data and information ou there that can be had. Whether needed or not. A shoot first, ask questions later approach which is all that government and some people know. It’s like being told to go into the grocery store and get what you need but you only have 5 minutes and other people will be doing the same. It becomes mayhem and not unlike Black Friday at most Wal-Marts.
So for me, it’s time to take some preemptive and preventative, smart action. I’m moving my virtual assets, activities, and data, business, and what-not that matters and is a part of me and my family to more secure, higher grounds.
This will be a large shift and I have and will be taking my time to do it right but I’ve begun. I’m taking all my stuff off Google. That’s going to be a gigantic undertaking for me. I’m leaving the fun, anything-goes tools and worlds like Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, and companies in cahoots with Lord-knows-who that have their tentacles all over me personally in a virtual, which is becoming a more literal, way. Bank accounts, my activities, thoughts, and life are being assisted by technology in more and more, sometimes subtle, sometimes not, ways.
I’ve started smartifying my home. I can control all sorts of things with my voice, which runs through devices and fiber owned by others. So they know when I come and go when I am using my TV, shower, lights, stereo, and more. There are no negative ramifications or consequences that I can see right now, but today is different from tomorrow as we have been seeing. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
I’ve switched my personal email over to ProtonMail from Google. I own my own domain(s). It’s the best I found, for my needs and I’ve really been enjoying it as a change if nothing more. I also have set up a Proton VPN. All very easy for me and safe and secure.
I’ve begun using Firefox Focus for my phones and tablets. Firefox Developers edition will probably be what I end up using on my laptop and desktops, though. Open-source, privacy and security-oriented, iterative development, and features that are needed and important. Switching browsers is a pain for me, although I’m used to switching between a zillion of them for developmental purposes. Vivaldi, Brave, Safari, Edge, Chrome,Firefox, and on and on and on. As a creature of habit, I’ve become used to using Chromium browsers though which changing is going to take some getting used to.
As I said, I have and will take time to make this transition to ensure it’s done properly. As I take more steps and find better homes and tools and ways to execute the divorce, I’ll keep putting them here. The final result as I stated in the beginning is to keep things safe and secure for future generation utilization and free from tampering.
Some things I’m just going to allow to die on the vine that I have set up and others will be more deliberate. For example, a lot of my writing is sent over to Medium and posted on sites I have like http://aBig.Fish, and ZXOXZ, which hosts my material and URLs for free thanks to some grandfathering. That’s been nice, but it means little to me. mgm.fyi is another. I have a bunch of fun, small TLDs that I keep for no particular reason. They have become relatively valuable, which is nice. I see them emails sometimes like my personal email which is email@example.com. That’s about as short, and hopefully memorable, of an email address as you’ll see. And thanks to Protonmail, it’s totally secure and safe for me to post here.
As far as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, which are the three social accounts I use most (but am signed up for hundreds), I’m not too worried. I could delete all those accounts tomorrow and life would go on as usual for me. I use Facebook to keep in touch with and keep up with my friends and family that are scattered around the world, and not even close to the state I have been living in. But my friends will all be there whether Facebook is around or not. I’m lucky to have some very loyal and long-held friends that were around long before Facebook and will be around long after Facebook. I don’t think many people can say that. Especially the people with over 600 or so friends. You just can’t manage a social network that large with any sincerity. And I don’t like am and am not a phony.
Twitter is a cesspool, but it’s handy for keeping up with current events. LinkedIn is sort of necessary for professional reasons, but not something anyone or business should live or die by. Tumblr, YouTube, Pinterest, Product Hunt, Medium, Gab, and on and on are superfluous to me. At least at this point in my life.
I’ve signed up to MeWe.com at a friend’s behest, but I don’t see it having any momentum and friction in a meaningful way like Facebook. It’s too weak from a marketing standpoint as-is. But it has a place. Which makes me wonder if the future may resemble something like a lot of micro-social sites. All secure as a top priority, but segregated and segmented by demographic and cultural boundaries. That seems to be what America itself is becoming. More segregated. Especially racially and ideologically. This means culturally and politically, which has become more evident and cheered on over the past decade by the media.
In any case, that’s a whole different topic. But the point is that things are becoming more segregated and granular, and I wonder if that’s going to be the case as the internet becomes less private and regulated, and intrusive? We’ll see. Much technology is owned and run by leftists, so there will certainly be precipitation of people with different interests from those entities. Not necessarily going by choice, either. Most are driven away by intolerance to their non-leftist perceptions. Many leave because they can’t stand the busybodies, yelling, and lack of reason that permeates that crowd. Listening to people and large groups complaining about their feelings nonstop will wear down the most stoic.
So socially I don’t know and am not concerned about where I end up. But I will be slowly leaving the rooms I’ve been in for years. First things first though.
As far as search goes, I use Google so much, it’s going to be another hard habit to break. But DuckDuckGo seems to be the winner there, although I wish their name and UI/UX was more streamlined and just better. Compromises and tradeoffs are realized, though.
For Google Drive and any DNS I use of Google’s, I’ll switch to Cloudflare DNS and maybe BackBlaze. I haven’t settled there though. I use DropBox and several other cloud storage solutions because I back up so much and have so many assets to store. I’ve used Cloudflare since they began, and have had mixed experiences. Usually, that’s been because of growing pains and messed up configurations.
Google Maps will be going to Apple Maps and I may still use Waze from time to time. I set Waze up to use my own voice for driving commands, which isn’t a big deal but it is fun. Waze is owned by Google, by the way, and that is why I mention that.
In summary, the old way of doing things is drawing to a close. Less free-wheeling and more forward-thinking. I’m not afraid of my information being used against me, because my data and information online aren’t precious, per-se. But cumulatively it’s worth. a lot to people that leverage it for advertising, tracking, invading, and in ways I can’t imagine and haven’t been developed yet. And as my daughter gets older and her life is more present in a digital way, it’s my duty to protect her as well.
Originally published at https://mmusgrove.com on January 21, 2021.