How to keep digital privacy in real life?

TLDL: how to keep privacy and find a job in IT as a rookie?

Hello everyone, I became that kind of person who learned something about privacy, moved on GNU/Linux and LOS systems from closed ones, trying not to use non free “evil” services such as facebook/google/MS/etc. And I’m pretty much happy with it. But that’s just me, and as we all know - we live in a society, and society doesn’t care about theirs, and as a consequence also yours privacy. And well, there’s nothing you can do about it.

To the point, rn I’m studying and looking for a job in IT industry and I understand that it’s almost impossible to find some poor programmer job without using a non free services. Because, when you apply to an offer and you got the reply, the first thing that will be is an interview in google meet or zoom, because it’s easy to use, handy, nice and friendly services that everyone uses, right? And for sure they have some important stuff for you to interact somewhere in google docs like or another equivalent that forces you to register account to use it. And of course it requires your phone number, for your security ofc. Aaaand you also should use real name in these “corporate” services, because why wouldn’t you do that, right?

You probably got the point already. When you say that you don’t use google services and you suggest to do the interview using Jitsi meet or SimpleX chat instead of google meet, that is kinda a bad sigh, thats a first trigger that this dude is… not like us. And if you’re not a master of your craft - it’s probably not worth it, because hiring a junior is the overall risk to the company, and if hes kinda different - thats double the risk not fitting in the team.
So, if I wanna get hired - I should pretend to be a normie and forget about privacy. Or become a badass skilled dude who can afford to dictate his own rules :smiley:

Well, what are you guys thinking on this topic, how do you handle with such privacy issues irl?

Maybe someone has experienced a similar situation before? Or even there are some HR’s/interviewers who have encountered with such type of candidates?

I introduce myself with a preferred name and fill out my legal name in the paperwork. Everyone at the company will know me as preferred name, and on the website I will be listed as such, if at all.

Software I don’t trust goes into a VM, and I hope to influence the company enough to direct them to software that aligns with my ideals in the future. If I feel that isn’t possible from the onset, maybe we don’t quite align.

I figured out that in the long term, I don’t quite fit in with companies that have no room for concern for things like privacy.

10 years in, I have not provided a phone number during the interview stage and I don’t plan to. If you do, make sure you give it to someone at the company, not a recruiter. You end up in their databases which are broadly shared across recruiting companies and associates.

EDIT: interacting with company software you don’t like will also happen with a company account, probably on a company machine. What you use on your own time or on your own machine is up to you.

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TL;DR you don’t

Okay to get more into the weeds, you basically aren’t going to get a job by completely avoiding everything big tech unless you want to work at the FSF and nowhere else.

But the question is, should you avoid all big tech and is it even worth it? The short answer is, it depends. The longer answer is that in any IT industry job, you’re going to be working with big tech products, like it or not. But those big tech products aren’t the consumer stuff that gives you an alien probe, it’s a whole different beast due to lots of things including but not limited to compliance and security. And by giving the company you’re applying to your personal information, it’s not like you’re breaching your privacy – your employer and their internal systems will legally need to know who you are for various legal reasons, it’s not something you get around and especially if you’re working in an office, people will literally know you.

And say you do get the job, it’s not like random small businesses or medium or any business is going to be 100% FOSS products only; again, the IT industry makes heavy use of the products and services delivered by the big scary big tech companies. Which isn’t a bad thing, and it’s not going to “ruin” your privacy because enterprise products =/= consumer products.

I guess another TL;DR would be “Google Meet via G Suite is not Google Meet via Consumer Google Account”

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I know from several European Hosting companies they are using linuxOS based development computers and also their IT security departement is linux based. But their customer service departement is windows based.

So maby a hosting company is your possible way to go.

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Yeah, and this could also be a problem of some kind

Yeah, I understand that and I gues it’s fine. I’m more worried about communication in general. For my experience, there are always some need for whatsapp group that you need to be participate, or to have a personal facebook page account somehow linked to company, or regular mandatory meet up in zoom and so on.

I mean that you can’t VM you face and voice during video-calls, and most of companies are not about security, they’re about flexibility and comfort where all those popular technologies come for help.

Just kinda feel like maybe it’d be better if I never know about all this privacy stuff and would save a lot of time, cuz you can’t actually be private and stay a normal person…

Well anyway, thanks for answers!

I think you are confusing anonymity with privacy.

We want both but even in a perfect world, complete anonymity is not even realistic. People still know you and you (or your parents may have invited them to celebrate your birthday. People still know where you graduated, where you’ve worked and where you are working. So complete anonymity is impossible in your day to day life. Your resume/CV is a bit of an extension of that.

Sadly, this may extend into other “bad” corporate entities. Yes we don’t want Google, Microsoft, Facebook, etc to know us but there are already data points surrounding us. Your family and close friends may have your real number and has saved them in their stock Android phone. You are asked to be seen in Microsoft Teams/Google Meet/Zoom/etc and you really cant say no in the cases of interview.

Quick alternative to this if you have had the right social connections to skip the interview process and just be straight hired by the higher ups that know you. I’ve had people talk to me face to face and had landed me job opportunities in the past by having other people in my life with social skills. It doesn’t have to be you, but it certainly helps if you have good real life social networking.

Anyway, what matters is you keep personal data and work data separate as much as you can. There will be times that there will be blurred lines (are pictures going out with work friends count as work data or personal data?). You will have to make a judgement call on that and partition accordingly.

As much as possible, we take the wins that we can. For me it is using a Graphene OS phone, Linux OS for work and home as much as I can. Self host services as much as I reasonably can and so on. I recently enjoyed some streaming services again from a relative with a nice big TV and I was wondering at the back of my mind if I could do the same but in a more private manner.

In the end there will be priorities and threat models: if you are dying in an accident, you should be dialling 911 in your phone’s direct cellular call function and not through a VOIP bridged voice service that may or may not be down at the time of your call.

Keep it sane.


Indeed seems like anonymity and privacy are kinda mixed up in my head, but now it has fallen into place.

Perhaps you are right, there always will be blurred borders where you need to keep balance and stay sane. Anyway, it was only my choice to care about privacy.

Thanks for reply.
p.s. nice point about “Privacy is Undead” : )

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