Personal Digital Security

Some basics live in the One Thing and Tuesday Sweep series, but here are some great links to learn more about taking care with your digital footprint.

If you are a target of domestic violence, the New York Times article “Domestic Abusers Can Control Your Devices. Here’s How to Fight Back” has useful information. As does an older guide from Hack-Blossom. The National Network to End Domestic Violence also has an extensive resources list on their website. Refuge Tech Safety has a digital break up tool (2023) to walk someone leaving an abusive relationship through the steps needed it improve their digital safety.

Being aware of your digital space can be especially important for women, people of color, LGBTQ+ folks, other targets of hate crimes, victims of domestic violence, activists and journalists given that tech (and legislation) frequently fails to incorporate their threat models. Some good books to read on this topic:

  • Algorithms of Oppression, Safiya Noble
  • Rage Inside The Machine, Rob Smith
  • Technically Wrong, Sara Wachter-Boettcher

There are services to help people remove their data from online people finders like:


We get a lot of questions about VPN’s On the whole, they can actually be kinda shady. That said they make sense if the ISP you’re being forced to use is even shadier. There is One Thing To Do 2016 round up of VPNs, but The Mark-Up has done a 2021 privacy review of VPNs review as well. That article’s result were that, as of the publication date, the following 3 were the only ones that seemed to live up to the promise of no tracking.

Search Engines

Last reviewed 2016, the search engine startpage was the most privacy focused that also had 3rd party auditors. It still makes all the lists. See more options in this Jan 2021 article by NordVPN


There are two that as of 2023 still rank at the top of everyone’s list. Brave has been removed from the list.

Password Managers

Assembled from 2021 reviews on Tom’s Guide, Wired and PCMag, and ConsumerReports. The best password manager remains… the one you’ll use.