Gaining sovereignty over one's personal data

In recent months, I've taken steps to get off all Facebook products entirely and reduce my dependency on Google services. The goal is to protect and gain sovereignty over my personal and private data.

To date, I have achieved the following:

  • Deleted my Facebook and Instagram accounts
  • Moved to Signal for communications with family and close friends
  • Moved most of my personal email off Google
  • Moved my personal files and photos off Google Drive and Goole Photos
  • Stopped using an Android phone and Chrome browser
  • Switched predominantly to DuckDuckGo for search
  • Began the long and tedious process of closing accounts which may hold personal data through GDPR right to erasure requests
  • Adopted the practice of using unique burner emails for many services (e.g.: [email protected])
  • Switched to using incognito browsing most of the time

Over time, I hope to:

  • Stop using WhatsApp (a Facebook product) completely
  • Close my personal GSuite account
  • Stop using Google Analytics and find an alternative, preferably self-hosted solution
  • Use burner accounts for data-hungry sites like Amazon and/or stop buying from Amazon alltogether
  • Increasingly, adopt browsing habits which incorporate Tor and VPN
  • Stop using Gsuite for business email and cloud services (BIG stretch goal)

I've learned a lot on this journey. Particularly, much time was spent researching and implementing open source alternatives to GSuite and other cloud services, as well as personal operational security. I hope to share these lessons in future posts.

In the coming weeks, I will focus on writing practical step-by-step tutorials which address setting up one's own suite of cloud services, including:

  • Cloud photo backup solution (alternative to Google Photos)
  • Cloud file storage solution (alternative to Google Drive or Dropbox)
  • Mail, calendar and contacts suite (alternative to Google Apps)
  • Password manager (alternative to 1Password or LastPass)
Author

Sebastien Couture

Host at Epicenter, a podcast which explores the current state and potential future of the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry.

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