A teacher without a job who tries to stay creative in the most casual way possible.
2180 words

The Privacy Series – compressed

Structure

Originally I had planned a whole series of articles:

  1. Intro
  2. Why I care about privacy
  3. Easy steps to make it better NOW (and some ressources)
  4. How I changed from Windows to Linux
  5. How I removed from my phone entirely (I think)

In the end I'm just publishing the drafts, them being longer for the first bits (intro, 2. and 3.) and veeery short for the last two.

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1. Intro

This whole series it not going to happen anymore, because I'm not motivated to make something that would reach my expectations in quality. So much research, writing, editing, and therefore time, would go into it, that it would be a full-time job for at least a month or two. So instead you get this super compressed version, hope it's readable enough. If you have questions, email me!

Old introduction from April 2020

A bit of backstory

Recently I lost all my upcoming work contracts due to the Covid-19 pandemic and found myself suddenly having a lot of free time, and complete agency over what to do with that time. I started with just getting my to-do list done, but eventually I started reflecting too, and realised this: I've cared about my privacy for a while now – in theory.

But only in theory, because I'd never taken the time to take action. First because my employer between 2016 and 2019 was a company using Google products heavily, and second because it always seemed difficult to make a change without losing too much comfort. And suddenly we were in 2020 and I basically was using Google for everything.

When your actions are not aligned with your values, or furthermore, when your actions have not been aligned with your values for a long time, readjusting it all at once is a lot of work and takes a lot of time. But the most time I spent on orientating myself. Where to start, what to do, how.

I cannot spare you entirely from researching what the best solution is, and I can't do all the work for you, but I can give you a good starting point, a few very useful links and an overall idea on how to proceed. Hopefully it will make advocating for your privacy easier, quicker and less of a monster task. If you have questions or remarks, I'm happy to hear about them!

Have fun,

Captain Tulip

capitainetulipe{at}posteo{dot}de

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2. Why I care about privacy

At times, when feeling hopeless about avoiding the tentacles of big tech companies like Google and Facebook, I have wondered: why do I care? Why should anyone care? Why not just accept the state of things and embrace the convenience it gives us?

But over and over, I have come to the conclusion that it matters, and that we should do something – individually and together. In this little post I tell you about why I care, and maybe that will convince you to care a bit, too. If you want to dive deeper, I recommend checking out privacyinternational.org.

Quick note: as said in the introduction, these articles are not finished. Therefore there are still a lot of sources missing (that's the "[ADD SOURCE]" you'll see from time to time). You are more than welcome to check for yourself and send me an email if I said something unfounded. Sorry/thanks.

Why privacy matters

Privacy is a right

Privacy is a right, and even in the hypothetical case where I wouldn't care much about that right, I'd still like to choose. But the way things are right now, it's really complicated to understand what is in your control and what isn't. I knew Facebook was collecting data from every website I visit through "like" buttons present on those websites, for instance. [ADD SOURCE]

What I didn't know, is that Facebook is also collecting data when you don't have an account with them, creating a profile without your knowledge and therefore possibly against your will. (For details, I encourage you to check out this conference.)

A lot of things that are happening are actually illegal, but since it's almost impossible to check for most people, let alone to prove, it makes the fight really difficult. Let me give you a concrete example: since the GDPR was implemented in May 2018, it is illegal to gather data that will allow identifying you without your consent [ADD SOURCE]. But Google and Facebook track you in a way that ties that data to your identity – it's just hard to prove and therefore hard to stop [ADD SOURCE = https://peer.tube/videos/watch/5e5aed81-3340-4082-bcc3-9105ef5d1564 – articles about A-GPS – more?].

It has real consequences in real life

Quick note: here the writing stopped, you just get a draft.

  • big companies shape a world where they make more profit, we loose rights, freedom, and weight of action

  • even when I "opt in", my data is gathered far more than my content/knowledge/understanding (eg. A-GPS, source on Kuketz Blog and make parallel with content in other contexts, eg. privacy in your own home IRL, etc.)

  • if we just accept this as a norm, we loose control and democracy to lobbies (brexit, trump, NSA, cf. privacyinternational.org)

  • it makes me loose money (eg. codecademy data brokers, elevate premium)

  • peer pressure that leads to consequences in the far future (insta pictures, sending nudes, tik tok)

The trade-off of trying to de-google-ise your phone, un-facebook your life, etc.

negatives:

  • it's a lot of work
  • not convenient (eg. your camera looses a lot of quality – to the extent where I've thought about going back to a regular android phone...)
  • you can't control what your friends do (like put your details in their google contacts)

positives:

  • you spend money on things that matter
  • you can find a better balance with social media
  • you act aligned with your values

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3. Easy steps to make it better NOW (and some resources)

Easy steps

  • habits (turn off Wi-Fi, location, etc.)
  • change router DNS
  • cover your webcam

Resources

Apps I would use on a regular Android phone, too

Note: bold is for really strong recommendations.

  • F-Droid store, on top of the regular app store
  • Bitwarden, password manager
  • DAVx⁵ as a synchronisation tool for address book and calendar (mine are hosted on posteo)
  • Emerald Phone App
  • Etar Calendar
  • FairEmail
  • NewPipe: youtube replacement
  • OpenTracks, to track your physical activities
  • OsmAnd as a navigation app
  • StandardNotes as an Evernote replacement
  • Simplenote as a Google Keep replacement
  • VLC as a video and audio player

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4. How I changed from Windows to Linux [draft]

  1. I visited librehunt.org and it suggested I should use ZorinOS as a Linux distro (and I totally recommend it)
  2. I went to the ZorinOS website and flashed a USB stick with the OS on it
  3. I had to download a software to shrink my disk space on Windows C:/, you should find it easily by searching online
  4. I backed up everything (in theory on a cloud + a hard drive, but I did only the hard drive // I also wanted to sort all my files before, but of course I still haven't done it to this day)

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5. How I removed Google from my phone entirely (I think) [draft]

  1. I went to the Kuketz Blog (take back control series, in German) and combined those articles with an article about Magisk on the droid alternative website if you want to root your phone
  2. I used the LineageOS installation guide
  3. A lot of reddit posts from r/DeGoogle

Note: if you root your phone, every time you update the software you have to un-root it first and then root it again. Takes a while.


Les courbatures

J'aime bien avoir des courbatures.

Les courbatures, c'est comme la confirmation d'un accord. Un accord entre mon corps et mon esprit de travailler dur.

Et mon être dans son entièreté se retrouve rappelé de l'accord que j'ai passé avec moi-même et de la complétion de cet accord. C'est agréable.

Chaque mouvement, quand je vais me coucher, me dit : « Tu as le droit d'aller te coucher. Tu as fait assez. Repose-toi. »

Musique : "If I Had You" du Teddy Wilson Trio + Jo Jones sur l'album "Complete Recordings".


Encore un lever de soleil

En écoutant « Relaxin' » de Jo Jones et Willie "The Lion" Smith (de leur double-album "The Lion and the Tiger"), je regarde la lumière se faire tout doucement autour de moi. D'un côté le ciel rougit, près à s'échauffer pour le sprint quotidien, et d'un autre la lune refuse d'aller se coucher, brillant fort et se découpant nettement d'un arrière-fond qui n'est plus si sombre. Les arbres autour de moi se balancent tranquillement dans cette très légère brise matinale. Il est déjà 6 h, l'heure où beaucoup se lèvent. Je pourrais commencer ma journée, manger une brioche et aller courir. (Je ne le ferai pas, ce n'est pas raisonnable de manger de la brioche au petit-déjeuner et c'est encore pire de ne pas se coucher, mais la tentation est présente.)

Le sens de la vie, au-delà du partage et de l'apprentissage, se trouve dans la beauté. La beauté des nouveaux départs, d'un texte bien écrit et d'un paysage prêt à être peint. Il se trouve dans la recherche d'un idéal artistique qui nous aide à nous définir et à définir notre environnement. Ou, disons, mon sens de la vie se trouve dans la beauté. Et le sens de ma vie se trouve dans la recherche d'un idéal artistique qui m'aide à me définir et à définir mon environnement. Car, finalement, il y a peu de choses aussi belles que de donner de l'art à d'autres, leur donner ainsi des moments de beauté et de bonheur, comme le font Jo Jones et Willie Smith avec moi. Un savoir immense qu'ils partagent avec joie, dans une ambiance tranquille et humble.

Regardez un lever de soleil en écoutant « Relaxin' » de Jo Jones et Willie "The Lion" Smith, je voudrais savoir ce que ça vous fait.


Feeling hopeless

Dear friend,

I am writing to you in English because of the few languages I know, it is the most gender neutral one.

I am exhausted. The list of things that depress me is so long, that I don't understand why I should go to bed tonight, and why I should get up tomorrow. Maybe because somehow, we have to continue? Maybe because there are people I love and people who love me? Maybe because I belong to the most privileged people in this world and should use that privilege to serve the people who suffer from injustice?

I am exhausted by being an artist who has to struggle in this capitalistic world, by being in a capitalist world at all, at a time where right-wing bullshit leaders are at the head of the US, the UK, Poland and many other countries, but mostly in a racist world. I am so tired, inside my big house with no income and yet no financial trouble because my parents can support me. And I can't even imagine how it is for others who have to endure more. People from countries with wars, refugees, blacks, people who got raped, tortured, or had to watch other people get raped, tortured or murdered. I am angry at this world with all those entitled assholes, with the police forces from both my countries voting far right, sometimes even destroying evidence of discrimination.

Why? It makes no sense. I am impressed by all those who keep faith and hope, and find the energy to still fight, point out, correct the mistakes or actions of the unaware or, worse, those who don't mean well. Those who still have energy to fight even though Trump wasn't impeached and Johnson got reelected.

I am tired of this bullshit and I can't imagine living one more day, let alone have children, raise them, and teach them how to deal with all this. So, if you also feel like all of this is bullshit, well, you're not alone.

If you have ideas on what to do, please write me. In the meantime, I'll try to calm down with this: https://youtu.be/ClYpJC-6HFM

Yours,

Tulip


A little introduction

Originally I had started writing a few tutorials about de-googling your phone, privacy 101 for beginners, that kind of stuff. But being the perfectionist that I am, I just never got behind finishing any of those articles. Or even if I have finished some, I have't re-edited them, etc. So, anyway, not happening. So I changed strategies: I'm just going to have a personal blog. Whatever I feel like writing, I'll just write. We'll see where this leads us.