Approaches to Restructuring One's Digital Life

Continuing the discussion from Estimate your Librem 5 shipping:

Rather than answer @aircan’s question in the thread it was asked, I thought that it made sense to start a new one.

Since the approach depends upon the threat model, please be specific about what you are trying to achieve with your idea

In my case I am trying to protect my private data from being commercially expropriated by technology companies.

I am doing this gradually over time as it is a learning exercise and convincing some of my friends and family to use more privacy-respecting methods of communication takes time.

  1. To prevent my ISP from stealing my data, I use a algo vpn as my private vpn. I create two new vpn servers every month and destroy the old ones;
  2. I use DeCloudus dns resolver for one of my vpn servers with alpha server (full google blocking) and one with the standard algo vpn with the local ad blocking dns resolver; I find there are times I need to go to sites that use google in some way, shape or form;
  3. I have moved my email provider to fastmail because they claim not to read my emails and I make extensive use of aliases. Fastmail has a tutorial on how to use it together with pgp;
  4. I have exiled whatever residual direct interactions that I have with google to a legacy device and a vm on my linux machine;
  5. I got one of Rob Braxman’s degoogled devices because I don’t know whether an android device will be necessary once I have my L5. In the meantime, it is the device I carry with me as I keep my legacy android device at home;
  6. I am not on facebook or whatsap or instagram;
  7. I am using secure messenging apps (signal, telegram and threema) as my preferred method for communicating with people;
  8. I use qemu as a poor man’s qubes to quarantine google and microsoft and linux instances;
  9. On lineage I use only apps that can be installed on fdroid or aurora;
  10. I am using callcentric for sms. It forwards sms’ to my email;
  11. I get my domain names from a provider that will not list my name in the whois

Edit: I am adding stuff as I remember what I have done.

Also please feel free to make suggestions. Much of what I am doing has come from posts that I read here.

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FTFY. It is still possible to talk to people face to face. :smile:

On the subject of email, convincing some of your friends and family to use secure email technologies can be good too. However that then cuts across choice of email service.

If you use secure email then it is not so important whether your email provider reads your emails. Inevitably though a lot of emails will remain insecure and therefore it is important to pay for a trusted email service, rather than pimp yourself for a free email service.

Can you elaborate on that? Google is such a hydra.

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Hopefully that will be the case in a few months…

True, I might have exaggerated when I wrote ‘all’, but Decloudus blocks 10,000 google domains.

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The existence of internet flame wars, and how high strung people are these days, indicates to me that this is not possible unless you already know you agree. Any disagreement turns into a grudge and any grudge will fester until there’s a fight.

More on topic, I think it will become increasingly necessary to have some way of feeding fake data about who you are to the surveillance giants. Not that it’s going to be easy or even effective, but as long as they don’t tell you about VPNs or computer networking fundamentals in school, they’re free to take the “nothing to hide, nothing to fear” argument seriously.

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For a different threat model, perhaps the best thing outside your domain and or firewall is to have a clear field of fire.

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and make sure it is the enemy in your sights before you pull the trigger.

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Other email providers recommended by FSF:
https://www.fsf.org/resources/webmail-systems

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I’m surprised they didn’t mention Startmail (one way or another).

Yet they recommend this: “VFEmail (uses google syndication, and captcha”)

Google syndication AND captcha… Just what I want from my email provider. :roll_eyes:

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Yes, but I also have to be realistic and practical When I started the process, I was hoping to find something like secure gmail with documents, calendar and notes, storage, etc, but issues like the ddos attack on tutanota convinced me that it was better to wait until there were many more providers available.

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By secure email, I meant things like GPG or S/MIME - so as long as your mail client supports it and the mail client of the person to whom you are sending supports it, you should be OK. It gets tricky though if one or both parties wants to use a web mail client.

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A good point. In some ways I think that it would be superiour to a vendor that does it for you because you really do control the encryption.

p.s. I added a note to the initial post about this.

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According to Rob Braxman there is no completely private and secure email unless you’re hosting your own server.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8Ppl62Bl9RE

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Since email bleeds metadata all over the internet there is also a point of diminishing returns to consider (this is also true of many private messaging apps). The judgment of what is sufficient privacy and security ultimately is personal.

Hosting one’s own server, requires that one knows how secure the server on which one is hosting the email and entails work on managing spam, etc. and is willing to invest the time in maintaining the system.

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i would like to take this opportunity to point people to Michael Moore’s docu’ from 2015 “Where to invade next” > https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Where_to_Invade_Next

as the movie poster says in the subtitle “PREPARE TO BE LIBERATED”. so yes ! feel free to “invade” every free-software service out there and take all the best ideas “HOME” … that way what was ‘stolen’ will turn out to be a great return-on-investment for everybody involved …

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Indeed and please suggest ideas here to be stolen!

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my suggestion to anybody these days is to START with ProtonMail if they are currently residing on the European continent or in nearby zones … these days crossing your digital Packets across the ocean can be a real privacy risk (if you know what i mean)

PM is not perfect even if it’s country of origin is Switzerland but getting familiar with how encryption works is handy. Public keys, Private Keys, all that … worth investigating, even if, on the long run, you end up elsewhere.

i gave PM as an example because Zoomers need a polished GUI. otherwise they loose focus and run back to whatever kept them engaged in the first place … :wink:

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I’m struggling with taking my data (and life) back from Big G. I stood in line 13 years ago for a Google G1 and loved Never be Evil Google.

The nebulous amount of time between when I ordered a Librem 5 and when I may receive it is causing me to feel like stalling most of my efforts is a legitimate option. The other side of me sees it as lazy. Another side altogether yet knows that there is only really a few hours a day to work on projects, and there is a pretty high barrier to entry to get to the level of security where I could still communicate with average folks, but have the level of privacy we are all most definitely afforded when it comes to developing the contacts and skills that I know I’m going to need to apply in order to stay my own person in the next 10 years.

For me… trying to “convince” anyone… even my closest friends or family members is a waste of time. The hardest thing to get anyone to do is change their lifestyle. Especially someone that is comfortable with you because you already know some of (or all) their secrets.

When I REALLY care about something I find that it’s easier to influence perfect strangers than it is to get my friend at work/counsin/etc to really, actually, watch even a 10 minute video of something I think is spellbinding.

Trying to win family and friends over can be dangerous to the spirit. We need to guard our spirit.

First post… been lurking since January… never met any of you… but I feel (perhaps mistakenly) we already share more values than 99.9% of the people I have ever known which is pretty weird.

In every area of specialization there are gatekeepers as well as there are fakers. These confident (and sometimes pathological) types give newcomers analysis paralysis… I can’t say I’ve seen much if any of those types here though… They’re all addicted to that validation dopamine on facebook and twitter.

But anyway I’m using NextCloud and e.email but might need to be forcibly removed from the grips of Google still. I feel like the catalyst is going to have to be getting the Librem 5, finding which phone to de-google, the current info on how, how to keep it updated, and how to operate in the world is going to be hard. Listeing to some people here and at e.foundation… 6 months later I’m sure It will be difficult to imagine why it was so hard to get off Googles tit.

I’m Kritischer. Nice to meet you, but that’s pretty much all I’ve got left in me right now.

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Remember the bible quote: “A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country”. Which is just the behavior you describe.

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I greatly appreciate the information. I’m big into privacy and security and would love to limit my digital footprint as much as I can. I use ProtonMail, ProtonVPN, ProtonCalendar and ProtonDrive along with Signal, Conversations and Status for communication and Tails and GrapheneOS for internet and phone. If anyone has any recommendations to further lock down my privacy and security (VPS, VoIP, set up my own server, etc), I’m all eyes and ears.

Is it my imagination or is Conversations developed by facebook?