A small A-Frame house on a grassy hill on an overcast day


January 1, 2021

I have deep mistrust for most internet properties these days. Whether it’s a social media platform, an e-commerce shop, streaming service, game, or financial institution, customer data seems to be up for grabs with little to no value of a user’s right to privacy.

I despise Facebook, I recently underwent a rigorous de-Googling, and I support Apple’s recent privacy moves — even if it’s in their own self interest. I don’t use Twitter really, nor do I have TikTok. I use an email relay service called AnonAddy, all my devices use NextDNS, I double that effort with Little Snitch on my Mac, and have outfitted my home with smart devices that don’t call home for telemetry purposes. In fact, I even removed the power to the telemetry control unit in my new vehicle so it can’t phone home. I try my hardest not to share private information online, nor do I mindlessly give out personally identifiable data when simply asked.

I think there are better ways for companies to cover their costs and make a profit without detailed customer information. The practice of using massive convoluted privacy policies and terms of service documents to manufacture consent is a horrendous commonality with way more tech-driven businesses than one could stomach. Some companies capture that data and find out how to make their services better, which is fine, others build extremely accurate profiles of users and often share or sell your information to third parties. The resulting privacy and ethics violations are breathtakingly intrusive, and sometimes go unseen by the person whose data was sold.

This is why shawncole.com / shawncole.ca does not install cookies on its visitors’ devices. I have chosen to use Plausible.io’s privacy-focused website analytics platform that collects country of origin, system configuration information, and other anonymous information about traffic to and from this website, but does not collect personally identifiable information such as name, age, gender, or other invasive data. You can read their Data Policy here. Should you submit your email address via a message form on this website, it will only ever be used for communication purposes with you — and only you. I use these tools to measure how my blog posts are doing, and how people got to them, not to make money.

I value your privacy as I value my own.

If you have comments, suggestions or concerns, please reach out to me here.

Shawn Cole 2021
Strategic Foresight, Research & Design