Around three months ago, when I decided to switch to an iPhone, I tried to be more mindful about how I use technology. Computer, smartphone, smart speaker, and many other devices have been consistently present for the past few years of my life. I’ve never before thought about privacy as a human right. I think more people should start taking their online privacy more seriously.
Because of this concern, I decided to give myself a challenge. I wanted to find the most privacy-focused alternative for the currently used platforms in my daily life. I need to say that this challenge wasn’t easy in any way, and I’m still trying my best to switch to more trustworthy services. I believe that this is a never-ending war that we all should be more mindful about.
I would describe myself as someone who likes different technologies, and I’m a huge fan of trying out new things. In my past, I’ve tried all major browsers and search engines. I’ve been using different operating systems almost all my life, and I have a general idea of concepts and ideas behind all vital services. So, three months ago, I switched to a more privacy-oriented browser called Firefox. I’ve also started using DuckDuckGo as my primary search engine. Those two were the first switches in this direction. Don’t get me wrong I’ve used Firefox before, and I also tried DuckDuckGo but never because I was concerned about my privacy online.
Let’s start with the browser. I’m a big fan of open-source projects, and Firefox is one of them. That is the first great thing about this browser. Firefox also uses its browser engine called Gecko. If you ever used Chrome before I’m sure that you will get to used to Firefox in no time. I’m not saying that changing browsers will 100% protect you against those data harvesting companies, but I’m sure that is it the step in the right direction. There are almost no bulletproof techniques to protect you on the internet, but you can minimize your data stream. It is important to stay safe and mindful about how much data you want to give out.
Because sometimes changing browsers can be a hassle here are a few quick tips after installing Firefox. You can import your bookmarks from your previews browser. All major browsers have import and export bookmarks feature. You can also download and install all the extensions that you have on your previous browser. All major browsers aren’t that different from one another in terms of how you use them. It is a very different story when we talk about search engines.
Google is the most used search engines on the planet. In 2018, Google’s ad revenue amounted to almost 116.3 billion US dollars according to the statistica.com. It is an all-time high, and that is a scary thing to me. So because of that and many other factors, I decided to give DuckDuckGo a try. Using DuckDuckGo is a very different experience than what I was used to, but most of the time, it gave me the information I wanted.
For those who don’t know, DuckDuckGo is a privacy-focused search engine. They have been doing an excellent job for the past few years, and I believe that we all should try to use this engine from time to time. But since this was a challenge, DuckDuckGo became my “daily” search engine for a couple of months. Now, I’m switching between Google and DuckDuckGo since there’s a difference when something is privacy-focused and when something is beneficial. I think it is essential to draw the line when companies gather more information than they need. Services like Google Maps, Whatsapp etc, are so convenient and well made that most of the people “trade” their privacy for the convenience of those services. I’m totally on their side since I’m also using Google Maps, and my phone is Android, which is owned by Google.
So I believe that it is essential for an average user to find the right balance between their privacy and how convenient the service is. How to achieve something like that? I believe that we should start to talk more about this. That’s also the reason I’m writing this article to tell you about my experience with those services. Yes, DuckDuckGo sometimes sucks but that’s what you have to give away when you want this kind of privacy.
I will continue to use Google as my search engine because it is just that convenient for me. However, I believe that this experiment gave me some information and positive feedback about the topic I knew almost nothing about.
So this was my rant about privacy. I’m far from being mindful with how I use different services, but I’m thinking about it more. I would love to do more challenges like this, and I’m sure I will stick with some good habits from this one.
I want to encourage you to download and try out DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials on your browsers/mobile devices. You can find more about the app here. One of the few things this apps does is let you search anonymously with DuckDuckGo, blocks trackers on websites you visit and encrypts connections when possible.
For the conclusion, I would say that Zheano Blog has a B+ rating on that app and 0 trackers by default. It is something I’m proud of, and I will continue to improve your experience on this website. I believe that privacy is a fundamental human right, and I will work in this direction in the future.
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