Privacy Balance

Throughout the years I have jumped back and forth between extreme privacy and going all in on being a product. I have used most surfaces out there and I am always attracted to new ones whether privacy focused or not. So, I have tried a lot of things.

The whys

Why privacy? Well Google, Facebook, Microsoft, or any of the other various companies that track our usage sometimes make me a tad uncomfortable. Maybe I can even say violated. I have used all these services for years and sometimes you see that headline in the news about some ethically questionable practice they may have been caught in. I do realize that due to some social and business pressure they have worked on these things also. But that news item never fails to show up every few weeks.

Why not Privacy? The biggest thing is convenience and fun toys. Especially on the Google side. Being full in on Google's ecosystem and having an android phone is quite the experience. Sometimes I would swear I do not need to think. It is so nice that the services know what I need or want. But the drawback is the fact that they are looking at every little thing I do.

Striking a balance

These days I am maintaining a sort of a hybrid mode. I have my toes in both waters.

I am using google services a lot still, but my Gmail and Google calendar are relegated to some newsletters, tech events, game services and experimental stuff. Google maps is well, google maps and I just use that constantly. Also, Google Photos is a spectacular service and until there is a better way for me to organize and backup photos straight from my phone, I will be using it for the foreseeable future. I also use Google Tasks for grocery lists and Google Keep for quick miscellaneous notes.

Protonmail, Protoncalendar, and pCloud are what I am using for my more private stuff. Emails and appointments with family and friends. My more personal docs like taxes, marriage certificates, the kids birth certificates, and the like are stored in the encrypted folder in pCloud. This may be replaced with Proton Drive when it is available. Keeping to main companies will help simplify things.

All my other notes are in Standard Notes. I also use it to publish this blog. It is one of the handiest services I have ever used. It is very secure and private also, a win win.

The Future

I do not know if I will ever strike the perfect balance with all these services. Someday I hope the privacy focused ones find a way to make life more fun and convenient, while ate the same time keeping me safe. On the other hand, if services like Gmail and Outlook.com could find a way to do what they do and maintain my privacy I could go for that.

Until the time comes though, I will be juggling apps and services, experimenting with new ones, and trying to strike a balance in my online life, which in these days is a big part of our lives. Only time will tell, I guess.


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