Until now, I have been parading around with my (comparatively heavy) 5-year-old Macbook Pro that is eccentrically covered in pop-culture stickers and has the webcam taped over. The very explicit act of covering my webcam is quite often a talking point and although I am not the only to do it amongst my colleagues, there were some jokes thrown at me as I deliberated over how I was going to set up my new laptop.

I have said it for months now: I experiment with digital technology to test the boundaries of just how far I can go to disguise my digital footprints. And so, setting up a new computer felt like a good challenge to me.

I went from immediately changing my browser, to downloading my VPN, to configuring my browser settings, installing browser plug-ins, changing my search engine, downloading a new email client, importing my PGP keys and downloading desktop apps from the service websites (not from the Apple Store). Of course, this all happened after I covered my webcam before boot-up, duh. 😉

Complete with Creative Commons and EFF Stickers
Complete with Creative Commons and EFF Stickers

I know for a fact that some of the people around me were observing with pity. What a world I have made for myself? Starting up a new computer should not be so labour-intensive – I mean, I had to use my other computer to find my network password and manually type in all 30-bits of it just to get online, to then connect to my password manager – But I feel that if I don’t explore these challenges, who am I to question them? The fact that it takes this much effort to undo default surveillance only highlights how pervasive, normalised and invisible it has become.

Configuration done, I’m all set up and ready to go.


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