When I threw out the offhand comment that I should write about my personal digital security, I was expecting it would be the usual social media post that gets lost in the undertow (particularly right after the holidays.) But so many people emphatically said Yes!! that I decided I would resurrect an old dead blog and get started.

There are a lot of things I do because I know I’m being watched, both on the Internet directly but also the growing ways my personal information is collected or I’m “digitally observed” in public. The revelations of the past few months have made clear that this is the way the world is now. In the absence of political solutions, we individually must decide what technological measures we will take in response to the widespread surveillance of average people. The only way to completely opt-out of data collection is to opt-out of modern life: banks, credit cards, mobile phones, travel, earning a paycheck. Even just being in public often means your image is being recorded, and increasingly checked against databases. It’s not been science fiction for a while now.

Perhaps you will find some of this old hat, but maybe there will be new ideas or even the encouragement to do something you “ought to” but haven’t actually gotten around to. Even if you think something’s not for you, knowing it is possible is valuable information for the future.

I’m going to try to avoid most of the political discussion surrounding this topic and stick to the practical. But one of the reasons I do go through all this trouble is to push back against a dreary non-controversial world of constant surveillance, where privacy is a luxury good and most people have to live with the knowledge that everything they say or do or buy or read will be compiled into a dossier that can be consulted by sufficiently interested parties. The “safety” of conformity is the most astoundingly depressing future I can imagine.

A little about me:

I’m just this average nerd, you know? I’m not a security researcher or cryptographer, I’m not fond of that level of math to be honest. But I’ve been working with computers for a very long time and have learned from my security researcher and cryptographer friends and colleagues that I am right to be wary of how the vast amount of digital data I generate can be used. You will find I talk a lot about the concerns of residents of big cities, frequent travelers and users of Apple technologies, because I am all those things. I invite others to contribute their experiences, and welcome recommendations for guest posts. (Windows people, I’m looking at you!)

I hope you find this effort valuable, and invite you to learn along with me.

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