June 2, 2021

Privacy as a journey and "digital minimalism" w/ Techlore

This week, I got the pleasure of sitting down with Henry from Techlore to chat about digital minimalism, privacy education, and some of the tools and projects that Henry recommends for taking back control of our privacy and data in an ever increasing world of data capture, tracking, and sharing.


This week, I got the pleasure of sitting down with Henry from Techlore to chat about digital minimalism, privacy education, and some of the tools and projects that Henry recommends for taking back control of our privacy and data in an ever increasing world of data capture, tracking, and sharing.

More about Techlore:

Henry's recommended tools to opt out:

This week's project to help you opt out - Matrix:

Supporting Opt Out:

Transcript

Henry from Techlore:  mm Yeah,
Seth Simmons:  this week I'm excited to sit down with Henry from tech lure to chat about digital minimalism privacy education and some of the tools and projects that Henry recommends for taking back control of our privacy and data in an ever increasing world of data capture tracking and sharing. Thanks for joining me for the launch of Opt out Henry.
Henry from Techlore:  Yeah, totally, thanks for having me, I'm really excited for this.
Seth Simmons:  Yeah, yeah, hopefully you enjoyed your long memorial day weekend.
Henry from Techlore:  Oh it was long because it was just working, there wasn't much of a vacation sadly on my end but I hope you had a good day off.
Seth Simmons:  I did, I, I enjoyed it, a lot of work but just work around the house, which is is good, good to get things in order. Well why don't you just introduce yourself? Tell us a little bit about who you are and about what you do.
Henry from Techlore:  Yeah, so um my name is Henry, I manage a little group called tech Lore since 2014 and we're a team that spreads privacy and security to the masses through several different projects and videos guides, Community's resources, just we do a lot of different stuff. Um, probably our largest and most popular quote project would be our video content, which is on youtube, odyssey and pure tube, I think it's probably where most people know us from.
Seth Simmons:  Yeah, I mean that was, that was where I stumbled upon, you was video content, specifically a review of Salix os. Um, but I wanted to just kind of dive in and and learn a little bit more about what it was that woke you up to the need for personal privacy, like what was it that kind of shook you up and made you say, I need to really take this seriously and I need to, I need to do this for myself.
Henry from Techlore:  Oh, this is a fun story, so um I like to think many people will relate to this in middle school and high school we had wifi, but obviously they block a ton of stuff because they're trying to protect the kids from Youtube and porn and other bad things that kids shouldn't be watching at school. Um I was pretty sick and tired of it because I was constantly switching between cellular and wifi just to access a single blocked site and my data was starting to get used up. So I finally started doing some research and came across things like VPNS and tor and all these mysterious tools I've never heard of before, so that was my first indirect exposure to the privacy world, so it wasn't really for privacy reasons, um but from there, the more time I spent diving into tools and learning more about the technical side of things, the more and naturally stumbled on resources that related to privacy. I think probably the big moment for me that the ah ha moment was when I took the plunge and bought the The art of invisibility by Kevin Mitnick and it was seriously love at 1st sight, not for kevin, sorry kevin, but for the book, um I was fascinated by all the crazy ways that you can be tracked, like the way you move your mouse and your browser can be identifiable enough to isolate an individual. The way you type, the websites you visit when you walk outside your phone is constantly pinging cell towers that can be triangulated to get your location. It was just like entering Narnia and and kevin Mitnick was the white witch with Turkish delight just leading me further and further into this world of privacy. Um I'm a giant nerd, so I'll probably be using a lot of movie references today, but long story short, I fell in love right away. That's the simplest way to put it. And when I learned about it I just couldn't stop reading implementing and trying different software and hardware just kind of peeking out over it. It eventually just getting that information and sharing all that knowledge through Tekla for the world to here was what I wanted to do.
Seth Simmons:  Yeah, I think it's interesting, most people that I talked to and I mean really probably everyone that I talked to didn't get into thinking seriously about their privacy through like some scary story or like uh I mean and a lot of people I'm talking to you or in kind of the Western world, so there's little bit less like governmental oppression and that kind of thing that we have to fight actively at least. But most people I talk to you just like had some innocent need to get to something that was like blocked on their college wifi or like uh some resource that they couldn't access at home or something like that. And they start to kind of dive into technical ways to get around that and it opens up this this weird rabbit hole. I mean I had no real interest in privacy, but it was just the technology starting to mess around with my own computer, starting to build my own and getting a little bit deeper down that and then eventually stumbling or into the into the topic of privacy. But it's interesting, most people kind of come through innocent and like light hearted ways.
Henry from Techlore:  I think it makes sense too because you don't see privacy issues happening on the surface. I think it requires that technical knowledge to understand why this is a concern. So I think that might be why it takes there's that friction which is hopefully what we're trying to bridge to try to make people understand like this is why this is such a big concern in 2021.
Seth Simmons:  Yeah, that's that's a really good point. I think a lot of people don't, I think it's very intentional by the companies that are abusing a lack of privacy to not make it front and center to know, like, hey, we're tracking everything you do. No, no company does that, and maybe they'll give you a little cookie pop up or we'll give you something that says like, hey, can we collect some stats to help us make a better program? But it's usually not very clear. And that's something I found really interesting just in the the change the apples made with their recent update to put it front and center to say like, hey, do you want this app to track you or not? And I wish more stuff was like that and I'm hopeful this will be a good push for other Os and other apps to make it front and center. We're learning quickly when people have the clear choice, they almost always are going to choose like, hey, yeah, I don't really want to be tracked, but most people just don't even think about it or see it. That's a good point,
Henry from Techlore:  definitely.
Seth Simmons:  Um And then so you kind of stumbled upon this and you, you started making personal privacy of priority. Um but what was it that kind of made it such an important topic for you to um start sharing and start learning more about past that. Um
Henry from Techlore:  Well I could okay, I could preach the importance of privacy and how much we all need it in 2021. but let's pivot from that, because I figured most people listening to this likely already understand why privacy is such an important fight. So for me, I think privacy was important because of just how it was treated. I think that ties into what we were just talking about um but not necessarily by the world but also by by us, the privacy community. I felt, the deeper that I feel, the deeper people fall into this privacy rabbit hole, the more exclusive they try to make privacy because of that many people have an elitist attitude that if the people around them don't wake up and just get it, they're stupid and they don't deserve privacy for whatever reason. So I feel that we as a community need to be understanding that at one point in time we were not private on the internet and we were learning about this ourselves for the first time. Um, there was a time where I was on facebook instagram Snapchat, all those platforms that you might have used at one point in time yourself and I didn't know the difference between encryption and end to end encryption and how everything I did was tracked and abused by a bunch of assholes who want my information for their own selfish agendas. Um, I might have trusted that google cares about my privacy, just like we were saying. Um,
Seth Simmons:  and the thing
Henry from Techlore:  though that I really want to drill home here is that the brilliant thing about this realization and mentality is it's something that we can control, if we point fingers at the world for not being woke enough to be private, it's putting the blame on someone else and puts you at a disadvantage because you can't control other people. That's not the world we live in. Um but if you're able to see our inability to make the world private as a shortcoming of the privacy community ourselves, it puts the responsibility back on us. And it means it means that we need to be more creative with our educational tools to reach more people. We need to find new ways to teach people, um or to get people to switch to an encrypted messengers. We need to prioritize usability of open source software so that end users, in theory just choose to use the open source option not because it's open source, but because it's legitimately the better option. That just so happens to be open source. If I could summarize that, I think that we need to make privacy welcoming accessible and the better alternative to the norm. Um and we need to take more responsibility for when we fall short of that. Um that's kind of been my belief for a long time, and it's one of the reasons why privacy is so important to me because I just don't see enough of that attitude in the community for something that I see a losing battle.
Seth Simmons:  Yeah, I love that viewpoint. I think that's something that I've run into a lot. Um definitely the privacy community, I mean really just even in the technology community, people kind of start to get this attitude of like I can't help you, you can just kind of got to help yourself and you gotta wake up and you've got to decide that you're going to care about this. I mean, well there's there's something to be said that people have to choose. Like obviously there's not a whole lot we can do to force people into using more private things other than like you said, just making the actual apps and services that our privacy preserving better so that they just choose on accident because they like the service, but making it very intentional that we're going to make the tools, we're gonna make everything possible out there. So that people who even just start to think like, hey, maybe there's other stuff out there, like maybe maybe there's something about facebook, I don't like they can start to figure out like, oh, this is what that is okay. How can I change that? Make it really easy Onboarding experience,
Henry from Techlore:  definitely. Um, I, I just, I I think something that's always stuck with me, uh, there's someone called Mitchell shaw. They run the enemy of surveillance state podcast, something he said that always stuck with me is at one point in time we didn't know how to hold a fork and he was, he was tying this into a privacy discussion and it's true like at one point in time we didn't, we barely knew how the internet worked. Um there's no way for these people to know like why something is privacy intrusive, how their data is being collected, how it's being harvested. This is all kept behind the scenes on purpose. Like like we talked about already so we need to be understanding of that and know that the cards are stacked against the normal person who uses the internet.
Seth Simmons:  Yeah, we were all there once and we only got out of that because of other people who are making educational content or building tools or putting out information that helped us to see the need and to start changing. So yeah, exactly. it's vital. Um, a little bit of a pivot here. So I know something you talked about quite a bit in your your videos and content is this idea of digital minimalism. Um and I don't really hear that talked about very much, I just wanted to to hear from you why that's the focus of yours and maybe just a quick description of what that is and what that means to you.
Henry from Techlore:  Yeah, I found it funny that of all the things to choose, you picked this one because it's it's a huge passion of mine. Um I've honestly always unintentionally been a digital minimalist. So even in middle school I was constantly going through my phone, asking myself how to get rid of as many apps as I could and stabling features I didn't need, I was just really obsessed with maximizing battery and efficiency and I'm still like that if you're in our communities, I'm sure you hear about the random crap that I geek out over, like my speed shower techniques and just other random things I do to make as efficient as I humanly can. It's just how I live life and it kind of drives me crazy, but I like it because it keeps me busy. Um I just lucked out because it turns out digital minimalism has two of the same core goals as privacy, which is control and freedom. So digital minimalists want control over their data and what's happening on their devices so they can be the people in charge. This control then gives the individual the freedom to do what they want. It's the same thing with real world minimalists. Um privacy is also the same battle. We want control of our data to experience true freedom on the internet where we can do what we want with our information. So because these angles are the same, it makes sense that the steps towards digital minimalism happen to help privacy. So every app you install on your phone, every program on your computer, every extension in your browser, every accounts, every newsletter. It's just one more entity that you're trusting with your data. So the less people who can directly get that information, the better your privacy is going to be. It's pretty simple. Um now because it's so simple, it's also typically a wonderful starting place for people um just to go through and delete what I call rogue apps on your phone, which are just upset you haven't touched in years. Um you can also remove accounts that you don't use anymore. You can move services to better ones by using websites like alternative to dot net. You can migrate something like gmail to something else with an emphasis on privacy. Um it's really endless and these are all fundamentally digital minimum minimalism techniques that can dramatically improve, not just your privacy, um but your well being the efficiency of your devices and just the efficiency of your whole digital life since since, because you're having to manage a much smaller amount of services, there's just so many benefits and it makes everything easier to manage. I'm very, I'm a big believer in digital minimalism and it's just funny enough that I stumbled upon it as a kid accidentally. Um I actually didn't come across the digital minimalism community and lead speakers like cal Newport until pretty recently in my life and when that happened, I was like, oh whoa, there's other people like me out there, which was kind of awesome. Um Damn, it's hard to say minimalism every time correctly.
Seth Simmons:  It is quite the tongue twister.
Henry from Techlore:  Uh
Seth Simmons:  yeah, it's really interesting. So I, until I kind of stumbled across your content. I had not really combined the two ideas. I mean, I've, I think I'm kind of similar to you. I've always had that digital minimalism in the back of my mind and it's always been something I've done. I mean it started for me because I didn't have a lot of money. I would buy gear that I wanted myself when I was a kid and it would be, I mean to be like the cheap tablets from coles and like all of this, this lower and hardware where when you have a lot of extra crap and normally the cheaper the hardware, the more preinstalled crap comes on it. Um I just kind of learned like, hey, to make this, do what I want, I need to start removing all of this. I need to start rooting this tablet so I can, I can remove all of this pre installed Spyware and just kind of trash apps. Um And that's kind of where that idea started. And I've just always been like that really since then and keeping any, any applications that are on my computer that on my phone it's going to be the bear set that I use regularly and if I notice I'm not using an app regularly it's gone and if I notice I miss it, I'll reinstall it. But it's been an interesting thing. I hadn't really kind of conflated the two ideas as one until recently. Starting to figure out like, hey, yeah, the Lesseps I have, the less services I used the less accounts I have across the internet, the lower the profile and the lower the risk I have of that data being abused or those logins being abused or something like that. Um Yeah, it's a really interesting concept. It's one I often dive more into that come into the community and into that idea because I've never made it, I've never made it an active quest other than just kind of what I naturally do.
Henry from Techlore:  Yeah, Well it sounds like from the sounds of it, it sounds like you already implement most of the advice that's recommended to people who want to be more minimal with their digital lives. Um Because the worst case of this would be you have 10 pages of applications on your phone, your computer has things installed that you installed five years ago. You have newsletters and accounts that you've had since you got your first email account. And that's actually probably more common than people like you and I who might be a little bit more proactive about those kinds of things. So if you were to look into, I think you'd find you already implement almost all of the core advice. Now, I don't want to I there is some advice that is specific to people who just care about minimalism. Like I know some people like using grayscale mode on their phone, that doesn't, that doesn't improve privacy. I'm not saying that it's a perfect comparison front to back, but generally speaking, the end goals are the same, which is control and freedom and yeah, it's just it's the two same angles, different, different fights, same. More weight, different wars, same fight.
Seth Simmons:  Yeah, it's it's great to learn more about that. I think more people hopefully will come around to that and see that intersection. Um, so I know we talked a little bit before we got running, but I mean, the way that I came across you was I was looking into kind of a copperhead, os cal Akzo s graphene, os trying to figure out like, hey, I want to go with something that's more privacy preserving for my mobile operating system. Um I had had an iphone and I know there are definitely advantages there, but I wanted again more control, so I started diving into that and somebody in the general community sent me the link to your review of Kalac's os, um and I have no idea how I hadn't stumbled upon you before that, because I've been active in the privacy space and looking and trying to find good content like that, and just had never, I guess come across you in the tech community. Um but that was how I stumbled on, on you and on the things you do, and I'm just kind of curious um why did you decide to start tech lore and what's running that been like for you?
Henry from Techlore:  Mhm. For me, well I'm glad you found our content first off. Um it's always nice to hear how people find us because like I want everyone to watch our content, it makes me feel happy. Um but for me it was coming to the realization that the journey was possible. Um I was and to this day still see so many people who consider privacy a hopeless fight, especially in in just non privacy communities where someone's like, oh I want to tape up my my computer's webcam and someone will say like why does it matter they're going to get this information anyway. Um and I like to consider myself living proof. That's not true. I'm in a place in my life where I'm aware what my strong and weak points are with my privacy and security. Um what I hope to do with my configuration across my devices, what my threat model is and what it means for me as an individual and knowing like the things I'm not going to be able to take care of and I wanted to convince people that I'm special. I learned about this just like everybody else obviously doesn't need to be something challenging. It's a human right. It's that simple. I mean a right should be accessible to anybody because it's it's a human right. Like that's the definition of a right. I just wanted to step forward and share what I've learned to the world in a digestible format that anyone can understand. Hence our slogan privacy for the masses and that's what we kind of base everything around. I don't know if that kind of answered your question.
Seth Simmons:  Yeah, Yeah, it does. I mean it's a really good point that I think a lot of people often look up to people who are vocal about privacy and they just kind of get that idea like I, I could never get there, like it's hopeless, I'll just kind of be careful what apps I install and whatever happens happens. Um Yes, yes, I think it's really important for us to reinforce to like, hey, we're normal people, like we may be more technologically savvy than some people, but I mean that's that's also why we're putting out content that's not just catering to technologically savvy people um especially, I mean you, your content is, is just incredible at taking you from kind of zero to having a really well defined threat model, to having very minute control over the way that your computer work. So the way that your phone works over the way that europe's work for you and not against you and I think I wish that we had more content that was like that that I can share with like my family who are not technologically savvy at all, like I'm the only one in my family who has that. So having content that we can say like, hey, like I care about privacy, like you know, I care about privacy, it's not just like these command line tools, like you don't have to be a Lennox specialists to to be able to reclaim your privacy. There's some really good things and really good tools out there that that you can use today to reclaim that and to start down that path. And it's one of those things where you're never really fully there, but it's just keep taking a step, keep taking a step, keep finding out what's the next thing that I can do to just kind of take back control of my data or my privacy and keep kind of hacking away at that as I have time,
Henry from Techlore:  definitely. And I'm it means a lot that you say that it's something you feel comfortable sharing with family, because that's that's obviously what we do, try to cater the to the advanced crowd here and there. But ultimately, even if we're covering an advanced concept, we still like to make it accessible to everybody. So it means a lot because we spend hours going through scripts and checking how we're going to. There's a lot of thought that goes into like how are we going to present this concept? People what a drawing make the most sense, what an animation make the most sense. Does it need any kind of visual? So we spend a lot of time figuring out how do we make this easy to understand for everybody? So it means a lot that you think that
Seth Simmons:  Yeah, absolutely. I mean there's a lot of your content that I've sat down and watched. My wife is not technologically savvy at all and she's been able to grasp it and see that need. And it's helped her kind of come down, come down the path a little bit more towards me and learn why it's important and the steps that she can take. So that's awesome.
Henry from Techlore:  I love her.
Seth Simmons:  Yeah, it's been a it's been a journey for sure. Been working on her for a few years. Digital minimalism. She's she's not there yet, but I'm working on her. Um let's go ahead and jump into a kind of a key question that I'm hoping to ask most of our guests. But what are some of the tools that you use regularly to opt out that you'd recommend others to take a look at and then maybe just a quick, quick comment on on why you'd recommend that.
Henry from Techlore:  Okay, okay, this is a good question. Um, to start, I hands down, go to simple login. There's also a nine used it as extensively, so I'm not going to comment on it for this interview. Um if you have seen a review of simple login, it's titled How did I live without this tool? And that that perfectly describes how I feel about it. So simple again allows you to on the fly generate email aliases that are all tied to just your normal email account. It's such a convenient and useful tool that I use literally every day. It just blows my last email configuration out of the water, which was having like 10 email addresses for different things, which was a complete clusterfuck and just mentally drove me insane every day if you like having emails compartmentalized for different things, simple login, that's all you need to know, it's false and the free version is probably good enough for most people listening. You can even self hosted yourself if you wanted to to kind of continue on the theme with aliasing. I'm a big fan of aliasing. Um and because of that, I'm also a fan of privacy dot com which offers alias debit cards to use online, which is also pretty useful. Um and then just I guess finalized the aliasing trilogy here, I'd probably go with my studio for phone numbers. It gives you alias phone numbers. When you bring these three aliasing tools together, you have a really extremely convenient but powerful ability to control exactly who has your real information and who doesn't. I used to do this stuff manually. So I would generate 10 different email accounts. I'd go to target to get prepaid debit cards for websites online and I'd go to 7 11 to get some prepaid phone numbers at the store. It's just such a huge inconvenience and the fact that I can do it cheaper, easier and more effectively with really the main drawback being needing to just trust three services out of the dozens out there, it's really allowed me to focus on other, more important things in my threat model and journey to personal privacy. So, so for for you who's listening, I think aliasing is incredible. It's easy and useful even for the lowest threat models. I mean no one likes giving out their phone number and email to people who are going to spam them. So I think they're just tools that everyone could use, like no one wants to give their phone number to a complete stranger. So I probably go with those aliasing tools.
Seth Simmons:  Yeah, very interestingly enough, or interesting to me, at least I have never used any of those three tools. So I'm gonna I'm gonna have to do do my research. I mean, I've I've done a bit of aliasing in similar ways as you're talking about just doing it manually having some unique aliases for for pseudonyms that I use for my email through proton mail, like that kind of thing. But I haven't had really a comprehensive approach. So I'm definitely gonna have to take into this. And I mean, the the beauty of those tools to is you're trusting those three services. But at the end of the day, the worst thing that happens is those three services can link you back to kind of your, I guess your core email phone number, that kind of thing. Which is the case you would have had before anyway. So all of the services would have separately had that info that you're using. So I mean even worse case you're just as quote unquote bad off as you would have been without the services and obviously so far the services have worked well,
Henry from Techlore:  well that exposes why threat modeling so important because there's no doubt that doing this manually is better Right? Like if you have 10 isolated email accounts and you have phone numbers that were each individually purchased with cash locally at a store, that is better. Um but it's just balancing like how much better is that? What's your threat model? What do you try to protect against at the end of the day I just want multiple phone numbers so that all these random websites don't have my real phone number and start sharing that information between them. And I'm okay with a service like my pseudo handling that information for my threat model. Not everyone might be comfortable with that and that's okay.
Seth Simmons:  Yeah, it's so much more approachable though. I mean that's using those services from what I've heard and again I haven't used them personally so I'm going to have to dig in and start to use those services. But from what I've heard that it's a pretty easy process. Whereas doing all of it manually, I can speak from experience. It's not, it's really,
Henry from Techlore:  it's, it's really
Seth Simmons:  difficult. It's obnoxious and it's not something I can easily recommend to friends like trying to recommend to a non privacy focused and non technologically savvy person like hey, you should have a different email address for everything and you should go get prepaid phone numbers to use for these different services. And it's just not, that's not something I can recommend.
Henry from Techlore:  You're going to love simple login man, I'm telling you, you gotta download that, try it out. Um I, I got a family member to use it and I think they love it as well. It's something that is like privacy aside, useful for everybody because they can just generate a spam email right there and then and it will still go to their main email inbox, but then they can just get the alias on the fly when they realize, oh, this person is just spamming me. It's, it's a really useful tool.
Seth Simmons:  Yeah, I'm excited. I mean this is episode one and something I've been talking about is like this is not just for people who are listening to learn. Like I'm hoping to interview people like you and just sit down and learn a little bit more about what's helpful for you because I'm going to learn about these tools that I haven't been using, but that are going to help me maintain my privacy, they're going to help me kind of take back so my data sovereignty and they're going to help me live a little bit more, little bit more privately, a little bit more sanely, especially not having to manually do this type of stuff, so I'm excited to check check out those tools
Henry from Techlore:  definitely.
Seth Simmons:  Um uh interestingly enough I learned about multiple of those from surveillance report, which is a podcast that you put out each week. Uh that that has been such a helpful find for me, especially my commute to work um and just being able to have those kind of 30 minute blurbs every week to jump into to to learn not only the kind of like cyber security incidents and privacy incidents, but learning the tools that can help to mitigate those issues. That's been extremely helpful resource for me. So you want to just talk really briefly about what surveillance report is. Um, and what you're doing there?
Henry from Techlore:  Yeah, Well if you're listening to this, you probably through a podcast. Um, surveillance support is also a podcast. Just just like opt out and what we do is we cover weekly news. We aim for weekly. We normally hit it, but sometimes we miss the weekly mark unfortunately. Um but it's, it's pretty much just weekly news. So we talk about data breaches. We talk about company news research. So the newest research that comes out like all the coolest new attacks that will likely never impact you, but they're still cool to learn about. We also talk about political news so we don't get political. That's that's what I like to say. We get, we talk about politics but you don't get political. And then we also just have fun news as well. Like um uh we call it the misfits, but it's it's kind of just like silly news, stupid things that happened that we just want to share with people. It's a pretty cool environment. It's a collaboration with the New oil, so that's run by Nathan. So Nathan is also a co host on that podcast and I have a lot of fun with it and we we hear the same thing from a lot of people. It's really hard to keep up with privacy, security news. In fact, I call it almost impossible unless it's your full time job like it is for me and like you can't expect people to keep up with that stuff. So the goal is to put something out there where people can just spend 30 minutes, 40 minutes a week just listening to a podcast and they need to know everything they need to know to keep up to date with things because this stuff is constantly evolving.
Seth Simmons:  Yeah, I really, it's impressive the amount of content that you all put into those episodes and I mean as someone who is actively trying to stay up to date with all those things and really like each of those categories of things I'm actively trying to stay on top of, but there's always a lot of new stuff that I just haven't heard of that comes across in uh, in US weekly episodes. So I'm very thankful for
Henry from Techlore:  that. That's after some cutting out, Like we normally have to get Nathan and I talked beforehand, it's like, hey, if we don't cut out five stories, this is going to be an hour long episode. So we normally do cut out some of the little stuff unfortunately just due to time restraints. But yeah, it's, it's crazy the amount of news there is out there. It's just, this is a constantly evolving field. I don't think people realize like within a week how much things can change your favorite messenger can go to shit in the week, right?
Seth Simmons:  Oh signal. I
Henry from Techlore:  think that's been overhyped. But yeah, yeah,
Seth Simmons:  I definitely agree. I'm still using it, that's still recommending it at this point, keeping a close eye on it. But the content that you'll put out for surveillance report because you all did the, you had an episode on it and you did kind of an extra side episode right? Talking a little bit more about the controversy there and the server code controversy and
Henry from Techlore:  definitely yeah, we had a little mini episode because we didn't want to spend 20 minutes talking about signal and the actual report. So we we published an individual discussion between Nathan and I covering you know should we should we should we be concerned about the direction signal's headed?
Seth Simmons:  Yeah, which was really helpful. I mean that was that was probably the most uproar I've ever seen across the communities that I'm in. It hit like every every segment and I mean I don't want to go on too long about this but I thought it was it was really interesting that there was pretty concentrated disturbances in multiple communities around that. And like I early on I put out a tweet thread about kind of like what mobile coin was and the impact that I saw, and that is by far the most popular tweet and tweet thread I've ever I've ever put out, and I'm not really that big on twitter, but that one took off in multiple communities, just because there wasn't a lot of clear info about anything going on in that situation.
Henry from Techlore:  I saw that thread and it really helped me understand what was happening, and I think the in for
Seth Simmons:  I don't remember,
Henry from Techlore:  I know that I used that thread to help me understand what was happening, to give, to educate other people, so like, what you're putting out that threat helped a lot more people than even all the likes and retweets that you saw on twitter, because I'm sure other people like, spread that information to others as well.
Seth Simmons:  Yeah, for sure. I mean that's that's something when a harp on to, like, I didn't I didn't do anything crazy for that. I just said like, hey, I want to learn more about this. And I just started digging around and in their Git hub. But like just in the, in the read maze and documentation, like I'm not, I'm not a developer, I don't have a deep understanding of code. So I wasn't digging deeply into that. But I just kind of said like, hey, I want to learn more about this. And as I learned to take notes and then I shared at the end what I've learned. Um, and that's something like, you don't need super technical knowledge to be able to do that. I would, I would love to see more people just kind of dive in and be like, hey, I had had an interest in this kind of dove in and these are my thoughts at the end. It's a pretty easy thing to do, but it makes a big difference, especially in situations like that, where the information is just kind of muddled and spread all over and um it goes a long way. Um and then we'll jump into another kind of intro topic. But um what advice would you give to someone starting to realize the need for personal privacy? We cover this a little bit earlier when you were talking about what it was that woke you up to the need for personal privacy, but for that person who, like, I mean, they're listening to this podcast, so they at least realized that they need to do something different. Um and they obviously they want to learn more. So what's kind of the advice you have for someone who's, who's getting started, but they don't kind of have all their ducks in a row.
Henry from Techlore:  So I actually, I probably, I'm probably gonna say something similar to what you said earlier, which was uh taking it one step at a time. I think that's, that's probably the most important thing that we can do for someone that's new to the community, take it one step at a time and don't feel pressured. Um the individual, the individuals wake up, call for privacy, I feel can be sometimes as dramatic as finding out santa claus isn't real, It's kind of a spooky awakening to discover as an adult. Everything that you've done in your life and still do is being collected harvested sold And you have absolutely zero control over any of it. Um because of that immediate realization that a lot of people tend to have, I see people trying to make massive changes over the course of sometimes days, like within a week and this typically leads to quite a few problems. Uh one, a sloppy job to burn out and three really just having the wrong approach altogether. Um, so a sloppy job explains itself. If you're going to sloppily transition your entire life within a few days to an ultra private set up, you're going to mess up in a lot of places and likely make poor decisions that's later, bite you in the ass. Um burnout is a very real thing. I've seen a good number of people in our communities take privacy to the absolute extreme going from 0 to 100. Then one day out of nowhere, it's like they're having an existential crisis asking what's the point of all this? If even after all the work I've done, I'm still not completely private and I'll never get there. Um and that leads to the third point. It's an incorrect approach to believe There's a tangible privacy and security. End result where you are now completely private in the world. Um, I hate to break it to you, but there's no end result. People. I'm a, I'm a huge lord of the Rings fan, but the privacy world has no mount doom where you chuck your problems in lava and now you're just done and now the eagles are gonna come and get you. And the whole story is over. This is more like a lifestyle. It's constantly evolving. New services come out, new technologies companies that used to be trusted are no longer trusted services add new features and settings. It's just changed drastically and that might sound disheartening knowing this is something you're going to need to actively focus on for the rest of your life. Um, but shift your thinking into more of a positive one and it's knowing that this is just a game of improvements. You can make the smallest changes today and be comfortable with that because there's no rush to the finish line, it's not a 5K, it's not even a marathon, it's just a very slow lifelong journey. Um if you take it one step at a time without pressure, you're going to see the best results in the long run. Um actually a good real world example of this, our course go incognito Has over 50 lessons. Now. We have a single lesson, just one lesson in section two, which is titled Delete your online identity. I've heard from countless people now that it took them months to implement. So a less than 20 minute video on the Internet took someone months to implement all of the advice and what I tell them all is that normal? Like that is entirely okay. The people who are willing to thoroughly go through this patiently are the ones who are going to see the results because there are patients, they're here for the journey and not for the race.
Seth Simmons:  Yeah, I think that that's a great point. It's definitely, it's a slow journey. It's not something you can just wake up one day and get it done and be like I did it like I'm private now, I've done it. It is definitely evolving and it's something that takes a long time. Um, but I think 11 quick point out of what you were just talking about, something people need to keep in mind too, is the more people actively value their privacy interactively, kind of fighting this fight and trying to take back this human right to privacy, the better the tools are going to get, because it's going to be larger user basis, there's going to be more money involved, more funding involved. And the bit of the communities are going to be, the more people that we have that are actively diving in that are actively learning, they're actually sharing what they're learning, the better it's going to get, and the better our future attempts at taking back our privacy are going to be, the better of the future tools that we get and the tools that are that exists now are going to develop into better tools over time, the more people are doing this so it can definitely feel unattainable and it can feel difficult right now. And the fact that things change so frequently in the privacy space can definitely be daunting, but it's going to get better, the more people make this an active priority. Um and that can be hopefully reason that people listening to this will take it seriously and take the steps necessary and take the time necessary to start valuing this and, and doing doing things that help out. Um, but also just that people will share with friends and family that they'll, they'll talk with people through like, hey, like I've been walking through this incognito course from tech lure and I'm on this step and this is what I've been walking through. This is a service I'm trying out and it's been difficult in these ways. It's been helpful in these ways and this is why I'm doing it. And just having those kind of, there was familiar conversations or those kind of everyday conversations with people who know you and who trust you. That's the way that people are going to be pulled down the privacy rabbit hole and are going to start valuing it. It's often not going to be from some privacy advocates going to be from from people who, you know, and people, you know, are they are going to be the people that you're able to to help kind of dive down this. So hopefully that's encouraging for people. Um
Henry from Techlore:  Yeah, that's 100% true, and really thank you for bringing that up because you're totally right, I'm gonna keep the Lord of the Rings stuff going. Um you should try to think of yourself as Gandalf into fellowship, right? Like, like Gandalf is very much a sacrificial character, he wanted them to continue. I don't think that he has had much trust in the beginning of the journey and getting to the end, but like, you need to be Gandalf, you need to be the person who's who's sacrificing what, you know, sacrificing your own time, your own energy to try to spread the word to other people and and get them to to also believe that this is something that can be done. Yeah, imagine that you're an old wizard.
Seth Simmons:  I'm all for the Lord of the Rings references. I'm I'm just through two towers in the extended edition, four K HDR. Kind of re watch them doing with my family so they're hitting home.
Henry from Techlore:  I'm planning on doing a rewatch soon. I haven't seen it at least like eight months. So I'm due for another rewatch.
Seth Simmons:  That's a long time without Lord of the Rings.
Henry from Techlore:  I know it's
Seth Simmons:  I will say this is completely off topic, but the the HDR remake that they just didn't released. Its, its a nine day difference. It's really, really noticeable if you have obviously the setup to watch HDR content. But yes,
Henry from Techlore:  sadly I don't I don't pay for subscription services. Um I don't really have any personal accounts that I could even buy a movie from and I don't have any media players, like discs for DVDS or anything at home. I live very simply. So, um I'm kind of restricted to strictly legal methods of watching movies.
Seth Simmons:  Yeah. See for those, that's one of the areas where I stick to physical, I really like having a physical disks and having a great player. It's weird to still handle disks at this point in time. But
Henry from Techlore:  yeah, it's not a bad set up. I, I like, I like to having the physical disks, but again, like I also apply minimal into my normal life as well. And so like I got rid of all my books. I moved all to an e reader, everything is managed in my local library and through culebra and like if I was to do movies, I would do something similar with that because I don't want to own the discs made with plastic for unnecessary reasons. That's just how, that's how I am. But like there's no denying having the physical disks is just such a good feeling.
Seth Simmons:  If there was an easy way to rip the disk that I actually own into like plex or something like that from what I understand, it's still a complicated process, but that would definitely use things as well. But
Henry from Techlore:  also, I'm pretty sure it's legal, legally questionable as well.
Seth Simmons:  Really even your own content.
Henry from Techlore:  I don't know. I mean I have to, I have to go through a few questionable things just to get my own books that I purchased on my own library. I don't know. It's unfortunate. There's no, we don't really have control over the things we buy anymore, which really sucks.
Seth Simmons:  Yeah, it's a really good side topic we have to talk about in the future, but everything moving to digital, video, audio, and e books really brings into question, What do you actually own and what happens when whatever you're watching, listening to or reading is either kind of out of popularity or banned for one reason or another or just kind of not in vogue anymore. And so it's removed. What happens,
Henry from Techlore:  definitely. It's it's that's something you could probably really talk to with with someone who's more in that realm. Maybe it's another guest speaker that you have on your podcast.
Seth Simmons:  You have to check with somebody about that. It's always been an interesting, interesting topic for me. Let's jump back in. I have one more question for you and you've talked about this a little bit, but I wanted to hear a little bit more because it's something that I struggle with, but how do you battle burn out and just kind of the feeling of the goal of privacy being futile or unattainable. I know these things are not true, but it oftentimes kind of feels like that as you learn more and more about the ways that your data is being used or things that you've done in the past that are coming back to haunt you. Um how do you kind of battle it and and stay focused on, on the objective and stay stay positive about how making these changes will impact the future for you?
Henry from Techlore:  Well, I'm in a very fortunate position where my job revolves around this, so it's a little bit different for me because even when I feel down about things, I still have to do them because it's my job, I work full time at tech lore, testing things out for privacy, trying it out with my own life. Um, and I just, I implement a lot of the stuff more for fun than anything, so I'm in a very fortunate grateful position where I can do that, but that's not the case for everybody. Um and all I can say is it sucks. I think coming to terms with the fact that this just sucks is probably the best thing that I can tell people because I see a lot of people in the community who feel like they need to act like this wasn't a big deal. Like, oh, just, oh, you're still on facebook, just delete it. It's not a big deal. Just get them to move to signal as if they just did it overnight and it wasn't any kind of difficult transition for them. So I think us being honest with people and telling them, hey, I know this is gonna suck, like this is going to be a journey, but it's a small step journey. You're going to take very small steps over the course of time. This isn't something that you need to do overnight, because if you do, it's going to suck even more okay. But I think just being honest with ourselves and other people that this is sucky journey and it's going to really suck sometimes and it's going to fail. There's going to be a service that you have that is going to be breached someday and you are going to see your information on the Internet, It's going to happen, I promise you. But that's okay because that's just one mishap out of the thousands of things you could have avoided. So that's really how I look at it. I think that there's way too much positivity about, oh, you're just going to become private and life is just going to be perfect again and it's just not like that, that's not the reality. So I think being realistic with ourselves and other people can actually be a very beneficial tool.
Seth Simmons:  Yeah, and I mean that's where community comes in handy to being being plugged in to groups of people who are like minded and who's, who see the need and who are struggling through the same things you're struggling through or that are winning the same battles that you're winning. Uh, it goes a long way to have those people to talk with. And I mean I've just learned so much from just being in a few chat rooms with people who are serious about this and they're generally small, they're generally not these, these massive rooms or anything like that, but just having people to bounce ideas off of or to hear like, hey, I tried out this service today, this is what I liked and being able to, to have that constant pressure and community to keep trying new things to keep learning to keep exploring and keep experimenting is just so helpful. Um, and, and that
Henry from Techlore:  definitely that's, that also implies you're in the right community. Um, there are some, again, there are some privacy communities out there that don't have that kind of attitude if you're ever in a community where it feels like you're being shamed because you're not as far along as other people or you're discouraged. Um, then you're not in the right community. So make sure to get out of there because that's not helping you and you should have higher standards for yourself.
Seth Simmons:  Yeah, absolutely. I mean that's something we were talking about again before we, before we hit record as well. Just there's a lot of places in the crypto are, sorry, and the privacy and the technology space encrypted currency to where people just kind of take this attitude of you gotta figure it out if you're not there yet, you're you're stupid and you're you're a waste of my time and I'm not going to bother with that. And yeah, if that's the communities, your you need to you need to find new communities and I know that can be that can be tricky. And I'm going to shamelessly plug um we'll talk about this a little bit at the end of the podcast after we finish up. But um I have a room on Matrix they've created for this podcast and I'm going to be in there, people that our other listeners and guests are gonna be hopping in there. Um and that's going to be a place for this type of community. I mean, the goal is that it's a place that we can talk about, the things that we're learning through the podcast, we can talk about the things that Henry has been talking about today and just kind of help each other as we go through this process. It's not easy to do a load and that's something we're helpful. Community is very important.
Henry from Techlore:  The whole process fucking sucks. So do it with other people who also realize that and are there to help you? I'm excited to see that coming. I might join it. I'm not very active on Matrix, but I'll probably join that.
Seth Simmons:  You're definitely, definitely welcome to any time it is, it is open. Um yeah, the journey down the privacy rabbit hole is difficult. It's time consuming. It is worth it. Absolutely. And I can say that from experience and talking to lots of other people who have done it, but it is not easy and it's it's a shame that this is something that's necessary and it's a shame that it's something that we need to make educational content on and we need to have podcasts about because honestly that the best way that this work is the companies that were using the services that we're using, the tools that we're using should just be privacy preserving and care about that and put customers data first. But that's unfortunately not the world we live in. So having having resources that help us to dig into that and dive into that rabbit hole or are extremely important.
Henry from Techlore:  100%
Seth Simmons:  well, just real quick, anything that anything else you wanted to chat about or any questions you have for me, Henry.
Henry from Techlore:  Um no, that was mostly it, I think we covered a lot of good stuff,
Seth Simmons:  awesome. Well uh thanks for coming on, it's a real privilege to be able to kick off, popped out with with you on the show. I mean you're someone that I really respect in the privacy community and just as an as an educator, um your content is top notch, it's really well done, it caters to both beginners and advanced users and um it's really helped me in my own privacy journey, so I love getting to sit down and chat a little bit more in depth about a lot of different topics today. So thanks for coming on um before we close out. Where are the best places for people to reach out to you if they want to chat more um and then any other content or services that um that you do or put out that you want to talk about anymore.
Henry from Techlore:  Yeah. Well, first again, like thanks for having me on. And it really means a lot because sometimes it feels like a thankless job because um, we put a lot of work into this stuff and it feels good to hear people say like this really helped me. So it really, it really means a lot when, when we hear that from people. Um, now for where you can find me, I do regret to inform all of you, wonderful listeners that I used to open myself up to dems and messages, but our communities and platforms, uh, now have dozens of thousands of people. Um, and that's kind of a recipe for disaster. And I've learned that I need to respect my time so I can focus on all of our other projects that's people enjoy. Um, so for that reason there's not really an easy way to directly talk to me, but you can follow tech Lore, we're on Youtube, odyssey and Pierre tube and we have our own communities as well, which I really think are great on Matrix and Discord, which are bridged together. Um you can contact tech Lore, we have a form on our website at texas tech where you can send just general support requests and if you're really dedicated like you really want to talk to me. Um I do reserve that time for one on one consulting where I work with individuals, sometimes even couples and things like that for an extended amount of time with their privacy and security journey, More information on that on our website. Tech Tech. We currently do have some openings available for clients, so definitely reach out if you're interested. Um I love working with people one on one. It's kind of my new passion and I'm starting to find
Seth Simmons:  awesome. Well thanks for coming on Henry. We'll go ahead and close things out here but hope you have a great rest of your week.
Henry from Techlore:  No thanks. You too. So keep up the great work.
Seth Simmons:  Thanks for this week's project to help you opt out. I'd recommend you take a look at Matrix, a privacy preserving Federated messaging protocol and platform. I've created a channel on Matrix for anyone who wants to chat more about the podcast. The topics discussed where the guests we have on each episode as Matrix allows for excellent encrypted chats. Matrix is a great step forward for group messaging and provides a strong privacy preserving and censorship resistant platform for beginners. I recommend you check out the element application available in all major platforms and I've been to a great take on group messaging. Matrix also uses into end encrypted private messages by default, along with into an encrypted group Jets if desired. There are many clients available, though, so feel free to check out another one. If Element isn't a great fit for you for more advanced listeners, you can set up your own Matrix home server called synapse to host your own rooms, communities and chats while Federated with any other home servers, you see fit. Check the show notes for a link to some guides around getting set up with Element we're setting up your own synapse server if you're interested. Mm. I know.

Henry from Techlore

Musician, runner, privacy-advocate, dog-owner, and proud owner of Techlore.