Why I started Paying for Apps, Platforms and Services
These posts describe my digital privacy journey. Some decisions were mistakes in hindsight, but I want to show all the steps I took.
I decided to start paying for services and apps that I used regularly. Companies like Google give us great apps and platforms for free. Well, that's not entirely true; we use those apps in exchange for our personal data. User data is valuable to the company and can be sold on to third party companies.
While my reasoning wasn't entirely correct (paying for a service does not guarantee data protection), I want to include this step here, as it was an important change in my perception of my own responsibility towards my digital privacy. I still pay for services and apps today, but am more selective.
Here are the changes I made:
- I moved from the free use of Evernote to a paid subscription
- I stopped writing in Google Documents and paid for Scrivener
- I stopped using Google Drive and paid for cloud storage and backup services Backblaze and pCloud
- I began paying for LastPass, a password manager1
- I paid for a VPN service
Obvious problems are cost and data limitations. pCloud is a good service, but I am currently running out of space, and the next tier of their lifetime subscription is costly.
I have since learned that many VPN services do not respect user privacy.
Scrivener is a fantastic writing app, but you have to pay a separate subscription per operating system (Windows, Mac), and cross-platform syncing was clunky.
Current use and looking ahead
I have stuck with pCloud. Its servers are in the EU and you can encrypt your data. I have since stopped using most of the other services listed above and found better alternatives. I still try to pay for apps and platforms that I use.
- pCloud's individual lifetime subscription plan
- A 2022 Reddit discussion about cloud storage providers
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I changed my mind about LastPass and now use KeePass↩