Virtual over the shoulder

Photo by Noelle Otto on

In my line of work, I do a lot of “virtual over the shoulder” looking at a client’s computer. It’s the best way to help them troubleshoot issues they have in the software and we can help them (sometimes “holding their hand”) as work through processes to get the data they need. This is, of course, with their permission.

The matter is entirely different when you haven’t explicitly authorized a computer/mobile operating system, app, or browser, to look over your shoulder virtually while you use a device. Instead they collect more and more data about what you do and where you go, all in the name of providing information and data to people who want to sell you things (or have other motivations).

I am getting more and more wary of the intrusiveness that we have allowed, mostly without a fight. We just accept it.

So, I have started looking at alternative browsers that provide more of the privacy that we should want, but moreover expect. I have used Chrome for years and years, both personally and at work. However, as more information comes to light about business practices and intrusiveness (even the “incognito” mode tracks you) it becomes harder and harder to accept.

Transitioning to something different is difficult because you inevitably are going to be asked to sacrifice something in the trade-off. Weighing all those factors becomes somewhat of a challenge since there are benefits with the varying products that are out there. The nagging question is always, “What’s the best way to go from here? Am I making the right choice?” It’s a question I haven’t been able to settle as I look at the different options.

So, what say you?

Are you on a similar journey and what are you finding? Have you taken steps to move browsers and what did you consider as you did so?

Tell me what you are considering, or considered if you have already made the move.


  1. G. J. Jolly · March 17, 2021

    What do you mean by “move browsers”? If you’re talking about what browser to use, I’ve switched from IE to Firefox to Chrome back to Firefox, and have done this multiple times to get the ultimate service and extensions. Privacy is somewhat of an issue for me, but, for the most part, I handle it by not using the internet for aspects like banking or most of my shopping.


    • backuphill · March 17, 2021

      Yes, going from one to another is what I mean. IE is no longer viable, Edge isn’t that good, Safari is clunky, Chrome is good but they track the hell out of you. I have used Firefox in the past and use it on a limited basis at work, but back when I was using it for personal computing it wasn’t as good as it is now. I have considered going back to Firefox but I have also been looking at Brave and Duck Duck Go. There are quite a few articles out there comparing browsers for privacy and security and such, but trying to distinguish between paid reviews and genuine ones is a crap shoot because they don’t always tell you.


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