Some ways you can have internet privacy

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Image taken from mohamed_hassan at pixabay.com


While we’re busy talking about carbon footprint and how to save the planet, there’s also one thing more subtle that we should also take into account — our digital footprint.

We are tracked online on a daily basis. From our mouse clicks down to the websites we visit and the things we share, our data are used everyday as market insights by many different companies. If you notice how Facebook would usually advertise to you certain things that you literally were just searching on a few hours ago, this is because your digital movements are being tracked.

Considering these, I wondered if there is still some semblance of privacy in the internet. We could use the incognito mode in Google Chrome, for instance, but ultimately we’re still being tracked online. What could be some alternatives?

Presenting: Privacy-focused internet browsing. Here are a few platforms that I’ve been using that promote internet privacy, among other things. Try checking them out if you want to keep your digital footprint minimal as much as possible.

Brave: A privacy-focused browser

As a user, access to your web activity and data is sold to the highest bidder. Internet giants grow rich, while publishers go out of business. And the entire system is rife with ad fraud.

Taken from http://www.brave.com.

For me, Brave is the best alternative out there for Google Chrome. Aside from promising a privacy-focused browsing experience, Brave also has a number of features, the main one of which is blocking ads and trackers from getting your personal data. On the home page, you can see the total number of ads and trackers you blocked — I actually treat this as a trophy sometimes. So far, my Brave Browser was able to block a whooping 440,000 ads! Sorry guys, you can’t sell me things I’m not really interested with.

Another important feature of Brave is the rewards feature. Here, you will earn Brave Attention Tokens for viewing privacy-respecting ads. These are ads that were carefully prepared by Brave such that they are not intrusive and actually look like they’re a regular part of the web page.

If you’re looking for an alternative browser, Brave is the way to go.

DuckDuckGo: The search engine that doesn’t track you

I’ve been using DuckDuckGo for over a year now. What I like about this search engine is that unlike Google’s search engine, DuckDuckGo provides you internet search results that you more likely need. When you search through Google, you’d usually be bombarded with a series of ads on the top results that you wouldn’t normally need. In DuckDuckGo, however, the searches are more refined based on the actual keywords that you placed in the search bar. Meaning, the search results you’re going to get are filtered from ads and aren’t a marketing strategy to draw you in.

As of February 2019, DuckDuckGo’s monthly searches have already reached one billion. You can learn more about them here.

Tor: Browse privately and explore freely

Another alternative to Google Chrome is the Tor browser. Tor blocks trackers and ads, defends you against surveillance, resists being digitally fingerprinted, provides multi-layered encription, and allows you to access websites that your home or country networks may have blocked.

For me, instead of subscribing with a VPN, you can just browse through Tor. It’s completely free.

We believe everyone should be able to explore the internet with privacy. We are the Tor Project, a 501(c)3 US nonprofit. We advance human rights and defend your privacy online through free software and open networks.

From torproject.org

And there you have it. These are the three main internet privacy browsers and search engines that I use. So far, I would say the experience has been exemplary, and I am all the more less distracted from unnecessary ads. While there are the exception of apps like YouTube and LinkedIn with tons of ads and trackers, I think it’s nice to have a right balance by also using privacy-focused apps.

Internet privacy-focused apps are also especially useful for people who are working in or are involved with very sensitive environments or contexts. Some of these apps are being used for such things. So while those people find use in the apps as a security protocol, for us people, not getting tracked by ads and trackers is the way to go.


Let’s take the conversation forward. Find out how we can collaborate for a sustainable future: https://berdeboy.blog/collaborate/

Schools and the youth: Pedestals for environmental protection, restoration

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The clock strikes noon. I’m walking along a pavement sprinkled with lush greenery and carefully placed blocks of stone and tiny lamps. I pass by a building covered with vines from top to bottom—a commune with nature I rarely see in city buildings. Within a hallway, I’m led to a bigger space with shoots of bamboo dangling from the ceiling. Towards the corner, a mural depicting Mother Nature’s beauty and charm captivates my eyes. When finally reaching my destination, I’m greeted by smiles and welcoming hands as we begin the day’s activities. 

I was fortunate to co-facilitate a workshop with MakeSense Philippines in Foundation University, Dumaguete City that teaches college and senior high school students how to create their own social initiatives. After the workshop, the students had brilliant ideas on plastic waste solutions, solid waste management, and solving unintended teen pregnancy, among many others. 

The workshop also came in at the right time for the students as they are beginning to be more aware and proactive with the issues facing their local communities. As Dumaguete City becomes more urbanized, they experience the same issues as other cities, ranging from air pollution to the improper disposal of plastic and other wastes. 

The role of schools

One thing I learned in the workshop was that schools should be among the forefront of providing opportunities to the youth to engage in social initiatives. These are not only limited to community engagement requirements, but also to the core curriculum and basic classroom activities. 

When speaking with the youth of today, I can confidently say that they are more aware and creative than any of the previous generations. Schools just have to give them the chance and the right environment to unleash their creative potential—not just their academic aptitude. 

Gone are the days of pure classroom instruction, paperwork, or recitation—the youth of today need to move, and they need to be taught how to move fast. It is not enough anymore that schools teach the youth how to articulate themselves and engage in intellectual discourse. In the world of forms that we live in, action and engagement reign supreme. 

The youth and tomorrow

The protection and restoration of the environment is the defining issue of today’s generation. Across the world, the youth are getting more and more involved with movements going against inaction and passivity on environmental issues. The likes of Autumn Peltier, Isra Hirsi, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, and Greta Thunberg—all youth below 20 years of age—have already jump-started global movements of their own. They are inspiring the youth like me to create ripples of positive change, wherever we are and however simple or complex it may be. No one is ever too small to make a difference. 

In FU, the youth have the same sentiments. They hunger for change and they want it fast. They are taking matters into their own hands and are starting to create initiatives in their local communities. One group of students I talked to wanted to create a machine that would recycle plastic bottles as well as incentivize with cash those who donate the plastic bottles. Initiatives like these are something that schools need to support—and it needs to be done fast. The students need to be exposed and engaged with the innovation ecosystem within their local communities and beyond. 

Biosphere consciousness

I recently watched a documentary by social and economic theorist Jeremy Rifkin where he says that the world is now entering a state of ‘biosphere consciousness’ or simply put, a spike in the increase of environmental awareness across the world. 

If schools—among many other actors in the ecosystem—could provide more opportunities for students to engage with this changing world order, then we can have better chances of supporting and advancing it. 

One way this can be done is by teaching the youth how to create their own social initiatives. It does not have to be only for the environment, because when we refer to the planet’s biosphere, everything under it is involved, from politics, culture, economics, and technology, to name a few. 

While the clock is ticking for the environment, together we will need to move faster than ever. Schools and the youth are among the pedestals for such change. 

This article was originally published in Manila Standard – Green Light.


Let’s take the conversation forward. Find out how we can collaborate for a sustainable future: https://berdeboy.blog/collaborate/