Christmas is almost here. Considering the kind of year it has been, it only seems fitting to offer up some unusual gift ideas—specifically for those in your life that have serious concerns when it comes to privacy and technology. The kind of person who is sceptical about giving Amazon their credit card number, who leaves their ‘location services’ off, who uses the internet out of necessity, and is skeptical about ‘fun’.
Here are a few gift ideas for those who (rightfully so) don’t trust Big Tech.
RFID Blocking Wallet ($20)
RFID-enabled credit cards allow for quick and easy, contactless transactions. Tap or wave your credit card in front of a reader and you’re good to go. The downside is that it’s easier than ever for thieves to “tap” your money/information without your knowledge. A thief (with an RFID reader) can bump into you, scan your cards, and steal your data—with an RFID blocking wallet or sleeve, the transmission of any information will be blocked. A blocking wallet is an inexpensive way to create some peace of mind.
Burner Phone ($30)
A burner phone is a cheap, disposable mobile phone with prepaid service that has very little personal data attached to it. Burner phones are usually equated with spies and drug dealers—but they can be mighty useful for an ‘average joe’ as well. A burner phone is perfect for those who buy/sell on classified ad sites such as Craigslist or use dating apps—circumstances where phone numbers are often exchanged, between strangers.
Virtual Private Network ($120/year)
Right now, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) is probably spying on your Internet activity so that they can serve you more so-called “relevant” ads. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) keeps your data away from prying eyes and gives you access to geo-locked content—for example, you could check out the UK version of Netflix, even though you’re in Canada. It is simple software that will allow you to protect your privacy and unblock streaming services from all over the world.
Raspberry Pi 400 ($135)
More powerful than a Chromebook, the Raspberry Pi 400 is a complete computer (yet tiny enough to be embedded in a keyboard case) that makes basic office productivity and internet surfing a breeze. With a quad-core ARM processor and 4GB of RAM, the Raspberry Pi 400 comes with open source Linux-based Raspbian OS—an operating system that requires none of your personal information for daily use and is ideal for securing privacy.
A Subscription to The Decentralists (free)
Most people aren’t fans of the fact that big tech steals and exploits our personal data—more than ever, people are demanding control of their digital lives. The Decentralists is a podcast about social media, privacy, and self-sovereign identity. It’s the perfect listen for the privacy-fanatic in your life.
The Best Gift of All
Hopefully, the above list serves well for some last-minute gift ideas but the best gift of all might be the multiple antitrust suits being brought against Big Tech companies. These companies have proven that they care nothing about our privacy. They sell our personal information to the highest bidder without our consent. Finally, governments are starting to wake up. Just this week, the State of Texas accused Google and Facebook of an illegal conspiracy. Things are happening.
The age of privacy-abusing monopolies may soon come to an end and if so, this will help ensure more online protection and privacy. It will truly be the gift that keeps on giving.