Lately I’ve been making a lot of changes to my habits and tools I use in regards to privacy. I don’t have a good answer as to why I wasn’t as concerned before. Perhaps the entire Cambridge Analytica situation at facebook pushed the matter to the forefront. In any case, a late change is better than no change at all. I’ve listed the major changes below, in an effort to categorize them and also to see how permanent they are when I revisit this post at a later time.

1. Chrome –> Firefox

When Firefox was the new browser in town, I used to swear by it. Over the years, Chrome’s speed eventually took its place. I liked the fact that Chrome was faster, simpler, and had the revolutionary “incognito mode,” which I definitely used only for science and nothing else. I used Chrome with wild abandon for the next decade or so. Lately, however, given how Google has a habit of tracking each and every little action you perform on their platform, I’ve uninstalled Chrome and returned to Firefox. Welcome home, Firefox. I’ve missed you.

2. DuckDuckGo –> Google

I think this one is pretty obvious. If the goal is to get away from the behemoth in the room, it’s quite necessary to replace your search engine, and one of Alphabet’s main products. While I toyed around with the idea of using Bing, moving from one big player to another smaller one didn’t seem all that attractive, even if there are certain off-label benefits. In the end, I settled on DuckDuckGo. DuckDuckGo puts privacy first, doesn’t track people by their search results, and is getting more powerful every day, a good fit for me.

3. Cloudflare’s –> Google’s

Why I switched to Because Google collects your data to sell to advertisers. Cloudflare promised they won’t.

4. Pi-Hole

The most recently addition to my home ecosystem is a Pi-Hole to block advertisements and trackers at the DNS level. It’s been moderately successful. Read more about it here.