Working around inconveniences...what are some common pitfalls that you ran into when starting your privacy journey?

For me, something that I ran into that was fairly surprising was the fact that Bitwarden no longer synced if I closed and reopened Firefox. It apparently stores login credentials in cookies, so when I changed the setting that made them automatically delete themselves upon closing the browser, I would have to manually log out and log back in to Bitwarden to get it to sync.

I was able to work around this (I hope) by adding to the exceptions list in Firefox. But my initial reaction was a bit more panicky. I thought I had lost several logins I had JUST created in Bitwarden, including Proton, SimpleLogin, and the login to this very forum I’m asking this question on.

What were some of the initial “hiccups” or pitfalls that you ran into when you started out? I’d like to get a list going so that I can support the other people who are less tech savvy that are joining me in this, especially since the knowledge base can’t possibly cover everything.

I went way to hard on the blocklists when i initially setup pi-hole and my partner was unable to work because of it.

There is a balance to be found with shared resources and the restrictions you can put on them based on your own privacy goals.

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My biggest inconvenience was and still is undelivered e-mails. Either with Proton, Tuta and now Skiff.

Sometimes I succumb and send via iCloud Mail.

My biggest inconvenience was and still is undelivered e-mails. Either with Proton, Tuta and now Skiff.

When this happens, how do you know that they are undelivered? I’d be nervous that I’d send something important and miss a deadline of some sort.

I usually maintain contact by other means to request confirmation.

Well it’s not Proton, Tuta etc. failing at delivering anything. It’s just the other shitty mail server bouncing them for no reason. While I almost never have that happen to me, still I would take it as a sign of the other party not being able to use a decent email solution. Because obviously it fails at the most basic thing it is supposed to be able to do: processing emails.

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That is troubling. In what contexts have you had this occur?

I cant completely drag my partner into our collective madness despite the evidence and even downright “emotional blackmail” I put into it. It wont work 100% for both of us because sadly FB is the primary way people communicate where I am now and I have deleted mine since the late 2010s but I really cant force my partner to do the same.

Best I can do is to teach the kid proper usage of social media and try to keep the kid away from it for as long as I am able. The thing is education is a double edged sword. There is a risk that the kid will eventually make an account in secret and not tell us. But this is a bridge that I have yet to cross.

Best thing you can do is to reduce your online data point for as little as you can, better if it is totally absent.

You wont be able to 100% be “clean”. You live in the world with other people after all. Accidents will eventually happen and some aspect of you will be open in the future. The best is to be able to protect yourself from it. You can be private but you can never be 100% anonymous.


Absolutely right. But I believe I have to accept that not everyone is as digital literates as we are here and find a less secure alternative to send the emails.

Invoices to customers is an example.

It can vary depending on what you decided to adopt. For example, I moved from Windows to openSUSE (still duo booting), which doesn’t have the best support from software devs compared to other Linux distros. But I won’t install any of my apps from third-party repos, e.g. I use Proton VPN through wireguard-tools instead of the unofficial flatpak version. Otherwise, that would be another risk/attack surface/pitfall. Many apps I am using are official AppImage from the original devs, which I manage them using GitHub - mijorus/gearlever: Manage AppImages with ease 📦.

Another pitfall IMO is when you’re using inconvenience services, storing too many backups, too hard to remember passwords, etc. Basically, too much of an inconvenience. I wouldn’t adopt any privacy option if the feature that I use all the time have to be broken. For example, I use Storj in place of Google Drive because I can share links to my files like I could on Google Drive. If I use Cryptomator, this wouldn’t be possible.

My biggest pain point so far has been migrating away from WhatsApp:

where I live, that’s the main for of communication with both people and businesses. I managed to move my family and some groups of friends to Signal, but I didn’t manage to move some other groups of friends, and still, WhatsApp is the main way to book tables at restaurants, in one of the coworking spaces I frequent, and ordering food in many takeaways around me. Where I live, not having WhatsApp now is equivalent to not having a telephone in the 80s-90s. I might as well live isolated in a cabin all by myself the middle of a mountain.

I have a degoogled smartphone connected to the internet via ethernet at home, without wifi or bluetooth, and nothing other than WhatsApp on it (no contacts, no media, no permissions granted to the app…), and I have WhatsApp bridged over Matrix so that I can use it from my main phone while minimising what WhatsApp can know about me. But it still has all the metadata of all my communications over WhatsApp, which, except for location data, is probably what it most cares about, so I suspect all my efforts are futile on this end.

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The two pitfalls that come to mind were bookmarks and email.

Early on, I was trying out different browsers and I always had to keep the previous one installed to store my bookmarks. I decided I needed a dedicated app to store the bookmarks.
Floccus was the first one I tried but either it didn’t have a sort option or I just couldn’t find it. I always had to search for the bookmark I wanted - not ideal.
I started looking at note apps because some of them have clickable links.
After trying Simple Notes, Standard Notes, and Quillnote, I settled on Quillpad.
Each note has bookmarks based on topic and with markup these can be very organized.

I’ve changed the email in my online accounts 4 times by now.
The first one I tried was Proton.
I changed to Tutanota for the lower cost.
Around this time Simplelogin launched. After trying it, I paid within a day or two.
I’m just glad I didn’t have very many accounts to migrate, maybe 30.
I do enjoy organizing stuff so this was more of a waste of time v annoying.
Now I’m back on Proton with Simplelogin. This last change was quick due to most accounts having a Simplelogin alias.

Concerning bookmarks, my practice involves exporting and importing them whenever I transition to a different browser. The concept of maintaining them separately has not occurred to me, and I am uncertain if it would work. To me of course!

On the matter of changing email providers, that’s where services such as Simple Login, Addy, … excel. The streamlined process, requiring only 5-10 minutes, ensures that all incoming emails are seamlessly directed to the new provider. This convenience was a primary factor influencing my decision to invest in a custom domain too.

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I tried exporting the bookmarks but Mozilla and Chromium based browsers don’t always speak the same language.

I think you can export bookmarks in FF as HTML links and I am quite certain Chromium speaks that…

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Sure, the browsers will open the html file from the other camp but importing is another thing. The last time I tried this all I got was a long list of bookmarks on a single page.

That’s just how HTML files open. If you import it into a browser properly, it lays them all out like standard bookmarks. You can jump from browser to browser this way.

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I do it all the time.

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I tried this on android - exported from chromium, imported to Mozilla.
That was about three years ago and it didn’t work for me. No idea why. It’s entirely possible I was doing something wrong.

I currently have very few bookmarks in a browser, so I would have to do a bit of work manually adding those to a browser. Could be a good rainy afternoon project.