After reading a recent book by Cory Doctorow, “The Internet Con: How to Seize the Means of Computation” I was inspired to go back to the past, when I ran most or of all of my own Internet presence, including:
- DNS hosting
- e-mail hosting
- website hosting
There are a myriad of reasons for this, but one of the most pressing ones is the tendency of the provider who hosts most of my current Internet presence, Google, to slowly either eliminate existing services that they have provided with little or no notice, or to gradually convert free services to paid services, particularly when users have deeply embedded these services into their operations.
This leads to the question of what Internet privacy means in practical terms. In this case it translates considerations like these:
- Does the country where the service is hosted coerce providers to provide user data to their own or other governments?
- Does the government of the country where the service is hosted have data privacy laws in place that protect Internet users’ data and privacy?
- Does the service exist physically within a single jurisdiction or country?
- Does the country that the service exists in belong to an intelligence-gathering consortium such as Five Eyes?
- Does the service provide encryption of user data at rest and in transit?
- Does the service store encrypted data for which only the user posesses keys?
- Does the service focus on providing only one service?
- Has the service been in operation for a long time?