“A Day in the Life of Your Data” by Apple

It’s a great illustration!

While the conclusion of that story is Apple-centric, with recommendation being to use their products to protect one’s privacy, the content is very true. We all must give it a read, possibly with our parents or children, to bring awareness on what’s truly happening.

It’s available here: A Day in the Life of Your Data by Apple.

Majority of these companies’ focus is on mining user data, for profit.

Choosing privacy-respecting alternatives do not have to come with a compromise.

Most think that by choosing Signal over WhatsApp, they will have to give up on connections with their friends. It’s true to some extent — I understand that network effect can be a friction, I can only hope that we consider privacy-feature-set tradeoff to make the jump. Signal is growing fast and already has basic features to get your communication going.

That’s one example.

NextDNS, ProtonMail, Tutanota, SimpleLogin are a few other privacy-respecting products that I use every day.

If you are looking for privacy-respecting choices in other categories, Privacy Tools has a great list here.

In particular, I want to note NextDNS.

There is nothing to lose by NextDNS. You will only see benefits by using such a DNS resolver, in that, your ISP (Internet Service Provider, like Airtel, Jio, Comcast) will not be able to monitor your DNS queries anymore. You will also get a great level of flexibility, like blocking ads/trackers from these data mining corporations, and like preventing unwanted content from appearing on yourΒ children’s devices.

Pi-hole is an alternative to NextDNS. It is a free, open-source software as well that you can further extend to devices on the go.

Let your change begin today!

Peering agreements between Backblaze and Cloudflare

I came across Brian’s comment on Backblaze reddit, where I learned of a few interesting things about how internet data traffic is billed between customers, hosts and transit partners. In particular, they explain how Backblaze and Cloudflare have peering agreements in place to enable free egress for customers. It’s great read!

The way the CloudFlare/Backblaze relationship works is that CloudFlare is very arguably big enough to be tier 1, and should be allowed to have the utterly free peering of a tier 1 provider, but they are “locked out”. They don’t get the sweet sweet deal the tier 1 providers get of running their businesses terribly and pocketing billions of dollars of profit without innovating. So normally, without contortions, if a Backblaze customer wanted to route a network packet to CloudFlare, it would flow over at least 1 of the tier 1 network providers and Backblaze and CloudFlare would both have to pay a lot of money. But here is the work-around: Backblaze is in several datacenters where CloudFlare has network cabinets (where their equipment is housed), and essentially CloudFlare and Backblaze run a network patch cable between our cabinets BYPASSING the tier 1 network, and therefore don’t have to pay the tier 1 providers to route packets between Backblaze and CloudFlare. That’s it, that’s the magic.

Exit nodes on Tailscale

Exit nodes are coming soon on Tailscale! I have been waiting for this functionality for a while now. I would like to run Cloudflare Warp on a Raspberry Pi, and route all devices traffic via that Pi. Super looking forward to it!

Brian Acton’s history with Facebook and Signal

Great thread on how Brian Acton, co-founder of WhatsApp, left Facebook post acquisition. He gave up 850 million dollars along the way, and invested 50 million in Signal, a non-profit.

Signal is a no-brainer. πŸ™‚

Signal UX – a 40 hour take by Built for Mars

I found this interesting 40 hours case study of Signal, by Built For Mars. Two key takeaways seem to be that prompts must be contextual. And, being a privacy-first product, it must be even more important to ask for permissions only when necessary. It’s actually better to read the post below, to get a visual overview of where Signal can improve on. A related Hacker News thread is open too.

I don’t remember how the competitors like Telegram and WhatsApp fare, but I am keen on giving it a look myself. Maybe sometime in the future.