What are your views on internet privacy?

This is a hot topic in the tech world and I’m wondering what people here think about it.

  1. Do you think it’s an overblown subject or do you think data collection/tracking is out of control?

  2. Where on the privacy scale do you think you are? A “1” being you think Mark Zuckerberg is a hero and a “10” is you’re a card-carrying member of Privacy International.

  3. What precautions, if any, do you take to protect your privacy?

Most of my friends really don’t care about internet privacy at all so it’s hard to discuss with them. (Actually, they seem confused by it.) But I’d like to know from the tech-lovers on the forum what you think about it. Thanks!

So, pardon me but I’m going to ignore most of your questions and focus on this (nearly) last thing you said: “Most of my friends really don’t care about internet privacy at all so it’s hard to discuss with them.” – that, right there, is what terrifies me.

I’m definitely the most geek-like among most of my friends & colleagues. While what Zuckerbergy & Co. (and Google, and Amazon, and…) are doing does concern me, I’m more concerned with the fact that the “average” person out there doesn’t seem to fully understand how computers work, what data is or how it’s managed, and how privacy & access govern all of the above, despite the fact that nearly every facet of our modern lives is tied to computer use.

I have worked in the violence prevention field off-and-on for most of my adult life; briefly, I worked for a national level coalition on a team that specifically addressed how abusers use hardware & software to perpetrate abuse. I learned so much at that job – and I try to caution and advise friends where I can. I also try to educate partners.

I had a partner once who, whenever she would pull out her phone, I would purposely avert my eyes while she keyed in her code; she always insisted that she trusted me – for which I was thankful, but I always said to her “in the event that you wind up in a relationship with someone else, I want you to have good habits”; of course, she presumably has wound up in other relationships, and I cringe to think that if a future partner earns her trust, and she keys in the code where they can see it, and then the relationship starts to go south, and he/she decides to snoop my ex’s text messages, or actually installs a jail-break or other app which allows them to now use her phone as a monitoring device…

As many security experts have pointed out: the weakest link in any/all current security schema is human behavior; we are easily fooled to giving up lots of info; and as much as I do what I can to protect me, I worry about a chain-of-custody with some of my info which may end up exposed due to the sloppy habits of others.


I think that ship has sailed…

I think at the end of the day the normal American will never care enough or know enough to care about their online privacy. It’s never going to happen and to make it an individual responsibility is taking the blame off these MASSIVE hugely influential and unfathomably rich companies. There needs to be seriously well thought out legislation with teeth that holds the industry accountable for the enormous power they wield with our data.


It is a real problem and it is not at all overblown and the corporations that collect the data are well out of control. They collect the data “because they can,” no because they need it, they sell it they use it to manipulate people. That is a real problem.

Privacy scale? Turn it up to 11 baby!

I use NoScript with Firefox for browsing, I use a GMail address purely for signing up to services, they don’t generally go to my private email address, unless I really trust them or I need their services too regularly to use it with GMail (I check that about once a month to delete the spam).

On top of that, I have Pi-Hole as my DNS server and it has 2,5 million blacklisted domains, most of which are tracking, malvertising, oh and 1,500 Facebook domains.

On my smartphone all apps have location disabled, all the built-in Google applications are disabled and I vet new apps before I install them. I use Firefox as my browser on my Android device.

It isn’t much, but it is a start.

I agree with you wholeheartedly.

I am thankful that my wife is a technophobe. She doesn’t trust technology and definitely doesn’t trust the online platforms. When we go out to a party, the first thing she says, when someone pulls out a camera or a smartphone is to say, “you don’t have my permission to upload photos of me to the Internet.”

She came to me last year and asked me to “de-Google” her smartphone. She uses Firefox and Duckduckgo and uses no Google services and she is very happy with the experience.

We only use online services when there is no way around them, and then we provide them with the minimum amount of information.

We also turn off all the tracking options, when we visit websites that allow that (part of GDPR is that the Cookie warning has to show you all tracking cookies and disable them all by default and allow you t opt-in to them).


Adding to my post, I’m not as hardcore as most posting so far. I use a PW manager, don’t use 2FA SMS if I can help it, I use Firefox with privacy extensions.

But thats about it. I have google homes, I have a online presence, I don’t care about my pictures being taken and I appreciate and use most of the google services they take my data for.

I’m close to a 10 on your scale, in spirit if not always in actual practice. (There’s always more to do.) I’m about on par with big_D’s wife (who sounds awesome, btw) from the sound of it.

Sidenote: I wish Shoshana Zuboff had written The Age of Surveillance Capitalism with more of a general audience in mind because she raises so many important points about the long term consequences (social, economic, political, cultural, psychological, etc.) of the “death” of privacy. It’s about so much more than our personal information; it’s changing the entire landscape/reality that we’re living in. But her book is such a long, difficult slog, the message will probably never reach those who most need to hear it.

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I’m probably about a 5. My security fears have nothing to do with any of the big companies. I worry that someone will steal my identity and ruin my credit rating or something. That is actual harm. All this stuff about google knowing too much about me, I don’t see any actual harm, it’s all theoretical “what ifs” that will probably never happen.