I try to protect my privacy more than anyone else I know in my personal life.
Doesn't mean I can't laugh at myself.
I dropped Chrome for Firefox. I only search on DuckDuckGo. I run my own WireGuard VPN server with Streisand https://github.com/StreisandEffect/streisand. I use Proton mail e-mail almost exclusively. I try my darnedest to not log into google if at all possible & lock down as many settings that I know of. I keep my activity cleared out https://myactivity.google.com/. Same for Facebook. I won't even consider using an Alexa/ Google home/ etc. I'm sure I'm forgetting some things, also I know there is more I could do.
I'm always preaching the privacy gospel to my friends, and I think they are sick of hearing about it at this point. And there in-lies the problem. Many people just don't care, or are not willing to put in the work to defend themselves.
Look at all the steps I had to take. I don't have to tell you folks. Trying to protect privacy this day in age is no trivial task. Especially for non tech people.
I wonder why you thought the author was dismissive? It's okay if you didn't like the style/ tone. But the bulk of the article was promoting tools for protecting privacy. That's a good thing, no?
I learned of a number of products I was unaware of. I plan on trying out Anonyome labs/ MySudo, Burner & the Abine.com products.
The author seems to care and be excited about privacy. But in the end, he resigns to the difficulty and amount of work it requires. I think the point is it shouldn't have to be so hard.
The article make as good point at the end about laws and legislation. Until we convince our lawmakers to make privacy a requirement, nothing much will change. A small minority of people like us will continue the good fight, but the privacy landscape as a whole will keep eroding.
I don't think this article was aimed at hardcore tech people like you find on HN. I think it is aimed at a more casual internet user. A good way to get normal folks to read an article is to keep it fun & entertaining.
If it is to dense or feels brow beating, it will turn people off. Just like I have with preaching to my friends. My hope is that casual articles like this will make people more aware & get more people/ lawmakers on board.
Some of the stuff that he recommended strike me as ~useless. That rubber mask. The glasses. The silly personal assistant. And so on.
And he totally didn't consider how pointless it is for most people to focus on obfuscating activities in meatspace. Unless you're cheating on your spouse, organizing a revolution, dealing drugs, or whatever, it just doesn't accomplish much. And indeed, it flags you as someone who may be up to something.
Online is really the only place where you can claw back some privacy. But you gotta make sure that your uplink doesn't flag you. Using numerous VPNs. Using Tor, I2P or Freenet. Lurking around public WiFi hotspots. Those will all raise flags about you.
And the focus has gotta be on compartmentalization. You have your meatspace life. Your family, your friends, your career, your hobbies, and so on. And that's gotta look totally uninteresting, from the perspective of adversaries. You gotta blend into the crowd.
And then you have your online personas, and their friends, careers, hobbies, etc. Which must be entirely distinct from each other, and from your meatspace life. They must seem like entirely different people.
So adversaries can track you all they like in meatspace. And they can track your personas all they like online. But as long as they don't correlate any of that, you're safe.
Looking at it from the VPN provider's perspective, it's actually simpler not to log. Logs are like radioactive waste. They aren't necessary for management. You can do that in real time, and log nothing. All they can do is implicate you in legal bullshit, which hurts users and damages your reputation.
And even if there's a legal requirement to log, you can just ignore it. At least, if you have no legal presence in the country, beyond running a VPN server.
But more generally, users can use nested VPN chains to distribute trust among providers. That is, connect to VPN A. Then connect to VPN B through VPN A. Then connect to VPN C through VPN B. And so on. I do that using virtual networks of pfSense VMs. But you could do it in one machine, using routing and iptables.
It's the same strategy that Tor uses, routing circuits through multiple relays. With three nodes in a nested chain, no one node knows both who you are, and what you're doing. So adversaries would need to obtain data from multiple nodes.
In my case, I'm my own host. I'm using the Wireguard protocol, running on a Digital Ocean droplet I own. The Streisand project does the heavy lifting of creating/ configuring the server, then I can easing tunnel into it using my computers or mobile phone.
Streisand also support OpenVPN & other common flavors of VPN, you can even run you own Tor bridge relay if you into that.