A little more privacy.

I've given a lot of thought this year to the control of my information. That's not to say that I have tightly reigned in the information that I put out on the internet necessarily, but I am a lot more conscious of what I'm putting out there and who's getting access to it. Actually, this probably started a couple of years ago when I deleted my Google account (an event I shared on Facebook that incenced one of my friends so greatly that he immediately unfollowed me). Of course, as of some time early this year I no longer have a Facebook account.

I no longer use Google or Facebook at all. This doesn't mean Google and Facebook are not following me around or getting access to some of my data but it does significantly curtail their ability to do so. There is no reasonable way to be completely invisible on the internet while enjoying the benefits of website logins and being able to share content socially. This isn't really all that different from meeting your friends in a public place. You simply need to be mindful of the context of your interactions and keep sensitive data secure. I don't actively dislike Google or Facebook, but I do not trust either of them and have no reason to rely on them.

Apps that don't provide a benefit for access to my location don't have access to my location. This includes most social apps. With location data apps can follow you around and with location data and background updates they can follow you around even when you're not really aware of it. I don't exclude all social apps from getting at this information but there has to be a beneficial use of this information for me as a user. Restricting location services and background updating also saves you some battery life.

I also stopped using Dropbox. I love Dropbox's service but not their security track record (nor the position of Condoleezza Rice on their board). Dropbox is not a unique service, there are a bunch of alternatives and I chose to self-host a significant part of my cloud storage on a File Transporter. It's not somehow magically impregnable, but I will always have the option of switching it off. I also control the storage space!

I've put a lot of faith in Apple's stated privacy practices, and so far I don't have any reason to believe that they're doing anything untoward with my data. They also have policies in place that will protect me from mine or a foreign government's attempts to pry into my stuff. The real selling point here is that they don't profit from the data I give them (well I'm sure it informs their internal customer research) and aren't reliant on selling my information to pay the bills or indeed selling my eyes to advertisers. Apple can't offer perfect security any more than another company could, but in this respect they seem to be one of the Good Guys.

I could self-host my e-mail but I won't — it's a lot more effort than it's worth to me now. My e-mail communication is much diminished from what it was a few years ago and is rarely ever very sensitive. All of my devices are fully encrypted (easy to do on a Mac these days and you don't even get the option not to on iOS). It's pretty easy to make a few simply choices to keep your stuff a little bit more secure, and it's probably something we should all be a little bit more invested in.