My PRISM Fallout

Sat 15 June 2013

So we've all read about the PRISM scandal and we know that the NSA have some kind of access to our data from a number of large internet based companies. Although I have 'nothing to hide' I still believe I have a right to privacy. It scares me that a huge, overreaching and seemingly above-the-law agency from another country can start digging around in my personal data. My mistake for using American companies.

For me it comes down to a matter of principle; privacy is my right and I will not support or use companies where privacy is either not valued or completely undermined (by PRISM). So the fallout begins; I'm a heavy user of many Dropbox, Google services (gmail, calendar, search) Facebook and Skype - they all have go or, where not possible, be severely limited.

Dropbox: I currently have the 100GB plan which I use to sync up my webdev directory, mysql data, personal photographs and other bits and bobs. We also use some shared folders for collaboration at Oxygem. Unfortunately privacy comes above ease-of-use so I'll be deploying a DIY solution using ownCloud.

Google: Moving email accounts is extremely annoying. Luckily I route most email via domains I own, rather than direct to my GMail address. Rather than looking for another (non-US) provider I'm going down the DIY route: I already run a mail server, I just need to swtich it to collect emails rather than forwarding to GMail. As for the calendar I will be using ownCloud's built-in calendar sync. Search is easy to replace with DuckDuckGo.

Facebook: Annoyingly Facebook is unavoidable. I'm tied in by the fact that all my friends use it and the chances of all of them moving are seriously slim. I rarely use Facebook anymore, mostly just to message people long distances away. I will be further cutting my use of Facebook, and remain always aware that anything put on there is free available to the NSA & friends.

Skype: I cannot wait to get rid of Skype; it takes way too long to start up, consumes way too much CPU when idling and is monitored not only by the NSA but also Microsoft (the https link scandal). I only really use Skype for communicating with other Oxygem members. HipChat is looking a likely replacement currently (although they are a US company and thus live at the mercy of the NSA).

So goodbye (mostly) American internet services. You were awesome but the powers above you have ruined you; I hope that, however unlikely, one day I will be able to return to your services.