Dr. BA, InfoSec | Privacy Technologist | Writing Topics: Privacy, Mental Health, Health, and Poetry. Instagram @alexyswrites

The Future of Privacy

Exploring privacy in a circular economy

A girl standing in front of a gray wall painted with a large black circle
A girl standing in front of a gray wall painted with a large black circle
Photo by Viktor Nikolaienko on Unsplash

For decades, we’ve band-aided our planet’s wounds with recycling programs and slightly greener technologies. We need a better strategy like shifting to sustainable economy.

But will we have to sacrifice our privacy to save the planet?

Experts advocate for a circular economy

Our current economy is (mostly) linear. We take goods from the earth to make products. We use the products for a while before disposing of them, creating pollution throughout the product lifecycle. …

Cultural Prompt: “Learning to tame your grays between the dark and the fake…”

A poem

Sunlight shines on a pink flower.
Sunlight shines on a pink flower.
Photo by Mary Ray on Unsplash

Her tingling feet sway,
each step provoking demons.
Pleads flow to the Gods,
bartering with acts of treason.

The darkness holds a brush
painting the world gray.
Self-loss a constant torment,
the emotion she cannot convey.

Committed to recover joy,
she battled an internal war.
Light now shines brighter,
she lives a life to adore.

Thank you to Francine Fallara at Blue Insights for this cultural prompt: “Learning to tame your grays between the dark and the fake…”


A Minimalist’s Guide to Shopping for Your Minimalist Loved One

At least, that’s the surface-level perception of a minimalist lifestyle.

The reality is minimalists love receiving gifts just as much as the next person. We have a different relationship with things than most people, which changes the gifts we’ll fully appreciate.

Thousands of perfect gifts already exist for your minimalist loved one. When shopping for minimalist this holiday season, remember these three words: consumables, experiences, and replacements. …

Living with a Chronic Disease

Some days I don’t want to be in my body

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Photo by Catherine Heath on Unsplash

Now, I want to be a flatworm. (Yes, insects are animals).

My day-to-day would be weird, sure. But flatworms have pluripotent stem cells. These particular stem cells give flatworms regenerative abilities, allowing them to regrow any part of their body, even their heads. This power would change my life.

Instead of the scarred neurons littered throughout my brain and spinal cord, I would have a fully functional central nervous system. Nerves that send and receive appropriate messages, ones that feel normal sensations and remind me that sugar, not sriracha, goes into my Irish breakfast tea. …

Privacy by Design

A PIA creates a plan to operationalize Privacy by Design

A woman holds art in front of her face. The art is four squares of varying blue shades.
A woman holds art in front of her face. The art is four squares of varying blue shades.
Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

But as a designer, you need more than guiding concepts to consider when designing your product. You need a tool to quickly identify the users’ privacy and turn the PbD principles into specific features.

A Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) is one tool that will help you operationalize Privacy by Design.

What is a Privacy Impact Assessment?

A PIA is a privacy risk assessment tool that guides teams to identify the privacy risks present in new technologies or uses of personal information to implement controls to mitigate risks to individuals. At a high level, it…

A valuable lesson I learned from my dissertation chair

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Photo by Daniel Sturgess on Unsplash

By the time you make it to the dissertation phase, you’ve missed years of memories with your loved ones and added another $30K+ to your growing student loan debt. Your sacrifice was pointless unless you write an adequate dissertation manuscript by your deadline. Finding another publisher or self-publishing your manuscript aren’t options in this writing journey. …

Digital Privacy

Did the backers consider user experience or industry readiness before going live?

A man sits in an airport and watches an airplane fly away
A man sits in an airport and watches an airplane fly away
Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

The consumer’s right to opt-out is excellent in theory, but it’s flawed in practice because users have to contact each company they interact with and ask that they don’t sell their data. They have to visit the company website, find the Do Not Sell My Data Link, and follow the instructions to send their request.

Without automated tools, granting users these privacy rights creates a privacy self-management nightmare in practice. …

Data Privacy

Practical Steps to Protect Your Privacy and Autonomy

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Photo by Alex Pudov on Unsplash

But many of these Silicon Valley entrepreneurs made a critical, unintentional mistake in their efforts to achieve this utopian future. They monetized your attention by using an advertising model to grow their businesses.

Social media companies must capture your time to achieve their business goals because your time means an opportunity to advertise to you. They collect mass quantities of information about you to serve you the best-fit ads, and use techniques — such as personalized content, notifications, and dark patterns — to keep you engaged longer. …

Mobile Privacy

The new iPhone features tackle crucial privacy risks

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Photo by Ruffa Jane Reyes on Unsplash

Apple has long made privacy one of its competitive advantages. Still, this year they’ve stepped up their game with new iOS 14 privacy features and are crushing their competition by using privacy to advertise the iPhone in a humorous commercial.

The new privacy features are essential to include in your evaluation when looking for a reason to choose iOS over Android or if you need help deciding whether upgrading to iOS 14 is worth it. …

Why We Need Better Inspirational Stories For People Living with Chronic Diseases

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Photo by Kristopher Roller on Unsplash

I’ve taken this journey. The Internet is full of information that will both terrify and calm you when you are diagnosed with a chronic disease. When I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, I sought the expect knowledge of random Internet users and experts alike. I wanted to know the likelihood that a wheelchair purchase was in my near future, what types of jobs people living with MS held, and my new life expectancy. I spent many hours reading studies, news articles, and forums trying to understand and prepare for my potential future. The devastating stories I found, like of people whose spouses left them because of their diagnosis, were quickly shoved into a Do Not Open folder in my subconscious, but I held on to the hope many other stories offered. …

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