First Step Toward Privacy: Design Your Own Threat Model

As the creator of ThinkPrivacy, I often get asked why we list certain options, or don’t list others. It’s common for me to hear from a visitor that I shouldn’t recommend certain closed-source software and they will instead send me other recommendations. Often times their recommendations are great, but sometimes harder to use.

More often than not, this is because we have lost sight of why we are taking privacy and security seriously and instead have found ourselves in a competition towards who is the “most private.” This isn’t unique to the privacy community and isn’t a critique of those individuals who take more extreme steps to reduce the amount of information governments or corporations have on them.

We have moved away from assessing our own individual threat models. Instead, we are often jumping to the most extreme, without giving it much thought.

I want everyone to be as safe as they can be online, but within the scope of what they are willing to do and what makes the most sense for them. We know the old adage of “I have nothing to hide” is missing the point on why privacy is so important.

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