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What is the cost of privacy online?

masonbee Privacy

It is an interesting question. And, to be clear, I don’t mean the cost of not being private. The targeted advertisements, chilling effects, restrictions of freedom, loss of power, breakdown of trust and so on. I mean the actual monetary cost of choosing privacy respecting services with which to live our online lives.

It turns out it isn’t much. No money at all. The only cost is in time and finding the right providers. Fortunately, much of that work has just been done for you. With the release of the Basic Privacy Bundle from The Privacy Shop there is now a list of free providers of,

  • Web browser
  • Search Engine
  • Browser plugins
  • Email
  • VPN
  • Cloud Storage
  • Messenger
  • Anti-virus

It is just a basic list (thus the name!) but it creates a good first step for somebody to start moving their life away from the current system of wholesale surveillance on the Internet. I’ll run you through it step by step.

Step 1
Download and install Firefox.
Firefox is one of the best web browsers on the market and, unlike Chrome, doesn’t track you.

Step 2
Change your search engine.
Both DuckDuckGo and StartPage are privacy respecting search engines and both give easy instructions about how to add them as your homepage. If you are coming from Google then StartPage is Google results....without Google.

Step 3
Install plugins.
There is a lot of tracking on the web. Third party servers are attached to almost every page. Luckily the EFF has created the Privacy Badger and HTTPS Everywhere and while you are at it Cliqz has Ghostery to protect you from advertisements.

Step 4
Get Protonmail
Gmail was such a leap forward when it came out. Unfortunately it also scans your emails. Protonmail is a much better option privacy wise and is free as well.

Step 5
Get ProtonVPN
While on subject of Protonmail, you can use the email account you just signed up for to sign into ProtonVPN who offer a free VPN service and one of the better VPN applications I have seen.

Step 6
Get Mega
Mega offer a 15GB free cloud storage package for all your cloud storage needs. Fully encrypted and the phone app will upload your pictures automatically.

Step 7
Get Signal
Signal is a fully encrypted chat, voice and video messenger for your phone and computer. You do have to have a phone to set it up though. If it is good enough that one of the co-founders of Whatapp can give the Signal Foundation $50,000,000 in funding then it really isn’t bad.

Step 8
Hold on. There isn’t any profit....The only cost was maybe an evening of your time signing up, downloading and setting up your devices. I think that is a small price to pay, don’t you?

Oh, I almost forgot. Your probably be needing a free anti-virus as well. :)

If you want an easier way or you want to make your own Privacy Bundle then take a look around the shop. And if you do make a bundle then post what you got and why in the comments. It would be interesting to see how peoples choices differ from mine and why.