For a while I’ve been an advocate of internet privacy, and I was trying to realize am I a crazy paranoid that is freaking out for no reason? Because when I talk about importance of online privacy people look at me like a ku-ku.

The origins of this thinking

When I got my first computer that was completely my own, I was around 10. Internet was a “place” where I go to, to “get” information. Internet was distant in my mind, it was a place where I actually “have to go”.

Now there is internet ubiquity. There is no more difference between your computer and online. Those two are actually considered the same.

In those days my dad taught me how to protect myself from viruses. Back in those days, viruses were being spread via email. Virus could be nasty, and mostly it would infect your computer and inflict damage. There was always an inherent risk of being on the internet.

So one of the first things my amazing Dad taught me, was never to open emails from people I didn’t know. A lot of time passed since than. I am still grateful for my dad for introducing me to all these things. At the age of 15, I was full blown exploring the usage of “email bombers” and how can I “rape” someone’s email inbox, with a lot of unnecessary emails. I was also impressed with keyloggers and other form of back dooring and Trojan horses.

Mentality of protecting yourself

Inherently understanding those principles at such a young age, defined my culture surrounding internet. As the internet speeds were going up, and access was more and more accessible, I saw this radical shift in user mentality.

I remember when I first saw the concept of “NC”. I said to myself “NO WAY THIS IS EVER GONNA WORK!” NC was an abbreviation for Network Computer, and it implied that your device will only let you log into to the large main frame, where all your data is stored.

Fast forward 15 years to today, we already have devices like Chromebook that are behaving that way. Even our iPhones and various other devices are offering flat out services like iCloud, Google Drive, Dropbox and everything else, that makes the whole thing closer to the NC. It is not in the same form as it was described in the computer magazine I was reading at the time, but boy they were right.

That whole concept made me feel insecure, out of control, and made me wonder why would anyone else be able to delete my “video games”. (Give me a break I was a kid, and concerned about my video games) I remember ultimately protesting about that approach to the computing, it just didn’t feel right.

To this very day I still have “cloud trust” issues. Cloud is not something I have. Data still feels safer on my hard drive, than it does in “the cloud”. I have no immediate physical ownership of it. Perhaps this is the last remnants of this type of thinking, as the next generations won’t be able to diversify the internet from the computer. Those two are becoming, basically the same thing.

Where I stand today?

Today I am in a different place. I am thinking of taking benefits of both, internet and local data storage. Hence I still dislike Google services, and I gave up on things like Chrome browser and try to avoid Google search for DuckDuckGo. But ultimately Google took a toll on me, and enabled me to earn a lot of money so far, so I can’t really complain.

But! There is always a but. There is that thought at the back of my head, that somebody has access to my data. And I always have something to hide. It might be my novel in writing, it might be my something. Whatever. I don’t want anyone having access to the things I create. Nobody for that matter.

Special thanks to my Dad

My dad is an amazing person. I can never be grateful enough for cultivating my passion for computers by buying multiple computer magazines and kept bringing them in the house. I can’t be grateful enough for teaching me, and letting me blow up our PC on numerous occasions, and I am also grateful for him not lifting a finger in order to fix them.

It was all on me, and that is what made me a digital professional that I am today. A no fear approach to technology. Yes, it is expensive, and yes it might not work every time. But he taught me the valuable lesson of not being afraid of technology