Yet Another Article on Digital Privacy: How You Can Make an Impact

Yet Another Article on Digital Privacy: How You Can Make an Impact

To make this quick and painless for the readers, we are going to start with the action items and then follow it up with context concerning why you should care about digital privacy.

What can you do to support digital privacy?

Unfortunately, all our current recommendations and solutions require some form of investment or transition. We are, however, trying to provide you with some low lift options for you to dip your toe in the pool of private browsing while you engage in our digital world.

  • Our first recommendation is to limit use of all "free" websites and services that currently collect data. We know this horse has been beat to death, but "if you aren't paying for the product... you are the product". Look for paid alternatives that better support your lifestyle and needs.
  • Using a private messaging service instead of free email is fantastic step in the right direction. There are many private messaging platforms, but our recommendations are Signal, Session, and Sylo. For email alternatives, we recomend ProtonMail.
  • Uninstall Google Chrome. Mozilla Firefox and Brave are excellent alternatives that provide many of the same tools and plugins that Chrome offers. Not only are these alternatives more privacy oriented, but there are plugins and other tools that can conveniently limit tracking even further.
  • Connect via a VPN. Depending on the level of privacy you are interested in, VPN's can provide equally fast connection while providing some privacy to your daily browsing and usage. It doesn't inherently make every choice you make online private, but it does add another layer of security and privacy.
  • Outside of these initial steps we would also recommend donating to privacy and civil rights focused organizations. For instance, the Electonric Frontier Foundation and the ACLU are great places to start donating if you are interested in preserving and retaking our digital privacy.

Limiting usage or cutting ties to Google, Amazon, and Facebook is incredibly challenging, but there are convenient alternatives. This isn't a binary situation. You can make an impact while only making some changes. Every step towards privacy limits the amount of your information that is collected, catalogued, stored, and sold.

What is digital privacy?

Now time to add a little context for all the readers that are just scratching the surface on digital privacy, the implications, and the road blocks.

  • Digital Privacy can refer to many things however it mostly refers to the control and consent to collect consumer information while using digital services or applications. It's definition may be small, but the implications are massive.
  • Although digital privacy is a large spectrum, as it currently stands every action and non-action completed online can be noted and collected. That information can be used to create a better user experience, or it can be used to compel you to purchase from or engage with certain platforms.
  • Digital privacy has been crucial since the beginning of the internet when the US government considered the export of encryption software a form of munitions. However, since the development of the Patriot Act data collection has become rampant.

"Under Section 215, the government can also collect information about what books you read, what you study, your purchases, your medical history, and your personal finances. The provision gives law enforcement broad access to these records without probable cause of a crime. It also prohibits the holders of this information, like librarians, from disclosing that they have been ordered to turn over such records — a gag order provision backed by with the threat of jail time." - ACLU regarding the Patriot Act

What data can be collected and sold?

  • Digital Habits and Activities
  • Health and Calculated Health Risks
  • Predicted Voting Patterns
  • Sexuality, Race, Age, Lifestyle, and Relationship Status
  • Personal texts, emails, and conversations
  • Purchase patterns

Why should I be concerned with Digital Privacy?

  • Regardless of whether you have nothing to hide, the most crucial reason you should be concerned is that the US government is collecting this information directly from the largest companies in the US - Facebook, Apple, Google, and Microsoft. Governments and regimes change, yet your data will be collected and stored indefinitely. Although you may not being doing anything illegal now, laws change.
  • Besides the aforementioned threat to civil liberty and the freedom of the press, you are also allowing these same companies to sell your data for profit. In doing so, they can also use that information to manipulate you to purchase or engage. It's fueling companies all over the world with personal information that they can use to help your user experience on their site or to manipulate you from browser to buyer.
  • Your information is not just being collected. Your childrens' information is not just being collected. In many cases, that information is being condensed, categorized, and packaged to create profiles that identify risk patterns, purchase patterns, or engagement patterns. Now your profiles can be descriminated against or used due to your habits and/or risks.
  • The uses for this data are propietary meaning they are vast and beyond the purview of public knowledge. We will never know how much our digital presence has impacted our lives, but that will only continue to grow until we take steps to protect our privacy.

"It has not played an essential role in stopping any attack. And it has enabled an unprecedented surveillance superstructure that violates Americans' rights to privacy, free speech, and free association."  - ACLU regarding the Patriot Act


Every step towards privacy will lessen the amount of your data that is collected. It's almost impossible to protect all of your data, but the more we learn, the more we can stop wide spread indiscriminant data collection.

If you have any questions, please reach out via the contact page. Thanks for reading and engaging.