Controling privacy with my own short URLs

According to a Dutch preliminary research, data of the average inhabitant of our little country can be found in 250-500 databases. Quite a shocking number for just your average person if you would ask me. I can probably double the amount for myself. Registrations on websites really add up. That is one of the reasons for me to try and stick to either open source, self hosted or paid web services. Tired of losing control, I have decided to grab some of it back.

The first step was installing this weblog. As I have explained earlier, it doubles as a platform for storing my notes. A reason for preferring this WordPress solution to other software like Evernote is the control I get over my own data by storing it on my personal web space. If the organization behind the software ever goes bankrupt, I won’t lose anything but support. The fact that the software is completely open source makes it easy for me to change and tweak when they can not. It also means that any user can check if data is stored securely.

My next dilemma was right after installation. More than 50% of the biggest websites use Google Analytics for their statistics. But alas, it is neither open source, self hosted or paid. In my search for an alternative I have found the open source Piwik to be a great replacement. It is open source and even offers a handy plug-in for WordPress integration called (how surprising) WP-Piwik.

Today I’ve added a third step in the progress. Anybody ever used tr.im? It is an URL shortening service that is shutting down. All the shortened URLs made through this service will no longer work by the end of this year. A big mass of dead links will be all there remains. I have installed YOURLS (Your Own URL Shortener) to avoid just that from happening again. It is free, self hosted, comes with a plug-in for WordPress and can be integrated into TweetDeck to make things complete.  The links on my Twitter should be coming from my own domain from now on.

These are just small steps in a much larger process but I think the effort is worth it. What do you do to keep control of your privacy on the web?