I’ve recently refocused my attention on privacy and my online life. Spurred on by issues such as the What’s App change of terms of service, I’ve since taken the following actions to improve privacy, increase my control over my data and how it is stored, and to improve my working life. I’m not planning to go to extremes with privacy, but rather a balanced approach while consciously deciding what to share online. I’ve discussed my workflow elsewhere, and parts of that have been inspired by the concepts of deep work and being “indistractable”.

  • Upgraded computers to Windows 10 from Windows 7 (I know, I had a hard time letting go)
  • Switched from Chrome to Firefox on all computers
  • Turned off notifications for almost every app
  • Turned off auto-sync on email (must manually check it)
  • Enabled do not disturb mode every night until morning, only close family members can get through
  • Audited my email for 2 weeks and unsubscribed from anything that wasn’t useful or a priority
  • Installed a hardware firewall and disabled all port forwarding and UPnP
  • Installed KeePass to generate and store stronger passwords
  • Set up a Yubikey for 2FA on any site that supports it
  • Set up 2FA wherever it was an option
  • Installed uBlock and DuckDuckGo privacy extensions on Firefox
  • Switched to DuckDuckGo as search provider
  • Switched to DuckDuckGo browser on mobile devices
  • Installed piHole for local DNS resolution and ad-blocking at home
  • Switched to OpenDNS for upstream DNS resolution
  • Deleted Facebook account (was only used to manage pages, but still…). My only social media accounts now are related to professional activities (LinkedIn etc.)
  • Uninstalled most apps from my phone and tablets and switched to using web versions where needed (rarely, signed in to almost nothing on these devices now)
  • Uninstalled What’s App, switched to Signal
  • Update 9/3: Uninstalled Mendeley, switched to Zotero

I’m still victim to Gmail (personal and institutional accounts) – I switched to my own private email server a few years back (but, his emails!) and kept missing calendar invites etc., so switched back.

My home automation system is locally controlled via Hubitat, and the only cloud device is the Roomba – I have plans to switch over to local control of that too with dorita and rest.

Is there anything else I can improve?