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The Computer’s Secret Whispers

The Computer’s Secret Whispers

May 6, 2024

Hi everyone!

In this week’s newsletter I wanted to share some tips about how to block telemetry from our devices. We recently put out a video about how our computer constantly whispers secrets out to the internet about what we do on the device. This continuous transmission of data from our computer to remote servers happens silently, often without our awareness or explicit consent.

The privacy leak is often far more extensive than most of us realize. Fortunately there are things we can do to stop it from happening.

Latest video:

Stop Your Programs Reporting Your Activity with Little Snitch

GlassWire, Little Snitch, and Lulu are all tools that allow us to monitor the network traffic that leaves our computer, and block any connections that we don’t want.

(As always, these products are not sponsors. NBTV has no show sponsors – our job is just to try out privacy tools, and let you know which ones we like that we think will help you live a more privacy-conscious life. Let us know in the comments if you have any suggestions for similar tools that you like!)

When you have one of these tools enabled, it will alert you every time something on your computer tries to connect to the internet. You can decide whether you want to allow that connection or block it, and set a rule for any future connections to that server. Some of these tools also let you set more fine grained controls, like how long you want a rule to last for, and the ability to limit connections to certain ports, domains, or even entire protocols.

So if you’re using a calculator app, for example, and it’s trying to connect with some remote server, you should probably ask yourself “Why does my calculator need to access the internet?” By using one of these network monitoring tools, or any other preferred option, you can just block that connection from happening.

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Our Tips:

  1. Michael Bazzel has recommended configurations for setting these tools up in his “Extreme Privacy” book series, that you can download directly. If you’re interested in deep-dives, then do yourself a favor and check them out (We’re not affiliated with Bazzel in any way, we’ve just found his resources to be some of the best privacy educational materials out there).
  2. Simply testing out these tools can be really illuminating. The sheer number of alerts you will get for connection requests will make you realize just how often your computer has been communicating with the internet without you realizing.
  3. If you turn off all network requests for certain apps, they will no longer be able to automatically look for software updates. Be sure to manually update your software, or just allow connection requests related to automatic updates.

If you find our tips useful, please spread the word!

Note: This article was originally published by NBTV and is republished with the author's permission.

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