I’ve recently started a digital privacy and security review. I’m a huge fan of privacy (digital and otherwise), and after conversations with friends, it seemed wise to review my defences and practises. I have stuff to hide and protect—private and commercial—and I don’t see why large companies that make money from people’s data (or anyone else) should have my information.
I’m not naive; I suspect it is realistically impossible to use the internet in this day and age and avoid all tracking. However, I’m jolly keen to reduce that tracking and intrusion as much as possible.
I have a longer post coming in which I lay out my updated digital privacy practices. In the meantime, I found the following comparison interesting. The screenshots below are from the Apple App Store, and they show—in stark contrast—the different philosophy and business models of Meta and Signal.
Meta owns Facebook and Instagram, along with Whatsapp. Here’s their privacy declarations from the App Store for Facebook and Instagram:
You’ll be shocked to learn I have none of these apps on any of my devices. With these apps on your device, digital privacy is impossible. For example, I’m unsure why Meta needs my Health and Fitness data. Why must I swap my 5k time, Vo2 Max, resting heart rate, sleep data and so on for the ability to look at photographs on Instagram, catch up with a far-flung family member or message a friend or freelancer?
Here’s the privacy declaration for Signal.
Closing Thoughts (For Now)
I have some friends who say they don’t care about (or have given up on) their digital privacy. I find this utterly baffling.
The more a large company knows about you, the better they understand, manipulate and distract you. They can sell “their” data to someone else, or it can be stolen by sinister foreign (or domestic) types. I’m tremendously keen to keep my personal and commercial data and information as private and secure as possible. Given all that, it’s probably best that as little as possible gets off my devices.
The odd thing is that none of my friends who say they don’t care about their digital privacy would let me see their browser history. Weird.