Privacy, in today’s day and age, is a question of sacrifices.
Can I live without talking to all the people I know (when they don’t have a private messenger)?
Can I live without social media (which gives you something to do when you’re bored, and makes you feel more connected)?
An open question: how far should we go on our quest for privacy? Or, how much should we give up our privacy, for things that would make us happier?
This is something I believe a lot of people struggle with. It’s a personal dilemma on what your willing to sacrifice for privacy.
I wish I could use GrapheneOS, talk on Signal with everyone and use Linux on my PC. I have a wife and son, that are very much integrated with the Apple ecosystem. I than use Apple but will minimize the amount shared to Apple as much as possible. It’s a reason why I appreciate PG still including iOS recommendations even though GrapheneOS is mobile recommendation.
When it comes to social media, I use it all in a read-only state and have private accounts so I know who is following me.
It’s all a trade off and making the best with what you can at any moment.
On a side note, I’m not sure it has been stated on PG forums but Apple stuff is so much better than GrapheneOS when it comes to having a family. The FindMy system, ScreenTime restrictions, all the sharing features. It’s hard to beat that with the FOSS alternatives.
This is a question that I think about a lot. On a personal level, it really just boils down to time and money. Money because companies like Google offer really convenient services that ultimately cost me a fraction of what I would pay for a series of alternatives.
Time is another reason- those same services from Google are so user-friendly and often technically superior that it means you don’t have to sit and potentially learn a new skill or piece of software in order to achieve the same results. It’s all done for you with minimal input on your behalf, and that ultimately saves you time. It’s getting better, and there’s no denying that there are a lot of fantastic alternatives out there and that there will be more options in the future. But sometimes it feels like you have to knit like 6 different services and companies together to get what you get with Google or Apple, but you also have to pay each of those companies, or spend your time learning how a sometimes complex piece of software works.
I know that Google is overall a monster, and it worries me a lot that I willingly hand over a lot of my data to them in order to benefit from the services that they provide. I’m not reliant on them for sensitive accounts and data, but I do have an Android and I do have a Google account that I use on a daily basis. It makes my life easier, it does everything in the background for me pretty seamlessly, and I pay like 30 bucks (Rand) a month for all of it. Sometimes I feel like it’s a no-brainer, but I don’t think I’ll ever be really that comfortable using Google; it just makes me feel uneasy deep down, and the hope is that other services like Proton will continue to mature until they offer many of the same benefits and conveniences. But right now in my life the sacrifice is almost unavoidable - a few years ago it wasn’t. But a few years ago I also had a lot more time and money on my hands, and was also willing to put the effort into adhering to the best privacy practices around, to the point of my own mental detriment.
Every threat model is different, and as people on here often say, it’s not about being perfect. There’s always going to be a balance that you have to find on your own. Sometimes it’s super easy, like making the switch to Firefox or staying off of platforms like TikTok. Sometimes it’s just a bit of pain, like having to manually back up your contacts or other stuff from your phone when companies like Google already do it automatically for you. Sometimes it can be really consuming, and your mental health can suffer if you dive too deep into the privacy rabbit hole. There’s always going to be a point that you cross where trying to be as private as technically possible actually takes more away from your life than it gives, and I think it’s just best to try and not cross that line.
I’ve pretty much sacrificed all of my older friends because I demand too much and they cannot seem to acquiesce to my simple request of using signal to talk to me.
I get my social dose by interacting here and on some forums at it seems enough for me, mental-wise.
Out here in the real world I am busy with family, work, my home lab and my gigantic unplayed Steam library of computer games.
I don’t have time for any of these modern social networks and this is bad because it makes me a bit fragile and a bit vulnerable, especially when it comes to career advancement and meeting the right people and general social networking. You will eventually need other people’s help. When that time comes, you should have built enough social capital so that they will be inclined to help you.
I have work acquaintances and the interaction starts and ends at work. I should do better. I really truly dont know what is the correct forward and I’ve always put this mentally as “tomorrow’s problem”.
It’s a balance to me, but I never give up.
I had tried to make my friends and family to move from Line to Element, but failed horribly. At that time, Element couldn’t start a group call in a group chat on mobile. A P2P call is pretty buggy too, e.g. couldn’t ever pick up a call, the ring never stop ringing. But the worse part is account restoration. None of my friends and family were able to login to thier ID with decrypted past messages due to a lot of hassle to verify the session on other devices. Therefore, I am using Facebook Messenger and Line everyday now. I wish I could ditch Line since it doesn’t support calling on Linux.
When it comes to communication, especially with your family members, you won’t have unlimited options. People are busy and easily get frastated when something doesn’t work.
But as I said, I won’t give up. I will try to persuade them again when I have a chance.
That entirely depends on your threat model.
I am in the process of adopting the “extreme privacy” lifestyle that Michael Bazzell wrote about in his book of the same name. I am fully on board with alias names + IDs, anonymous homes, cars, and payment methods. The use of VPNs, disposable emails. Faraday bags for my DeGoogled phones, encrypted messengers, etc. Of course privacy is a journey so it takes time, it doesn’t happen overnight and it requires constant maintenance.
My spouse on the other hand has a toe in the water. She wants privacy but doesn’t want to be inconvenienced. This has resulted in her doing basic things like moving away from Google services where possible, adopting a VPN when browsing online, using ghost addresses for account information, etc.
We have entirely different threat models. I used to work in law enforcement have people who would very much like to hurt me should they ever get the chance to cross paths with me. She just thinks it is morally wrong for all these big tech companies to harvest data from us. although by extension she recognizes that someone trying to get to me could target her.
The answer to “how far are you willing to go?” depends entirely on the person and their motivation for wanting a private lifestyle.