Image credit: Eero
Not everyone wants an always-on microphone in their home, no matter how cool it is to control your light bulbs with your voice. If you're buying gifts for someone who gets nervous about this brave new world with everything listening to us, showering them with a few of these privacy-friendly gifts might help them relax and enjoy the little things in life.
Like targeted ads, or unmarked cars waiting just around the corner.
Privacy Tape, for Your Spying Webcam
If Mark Zuckerberg is paranoid enough to cover his laptop's webcam with tape, you should be as well. Hell, even former FBI director James Comey suggests you obscure that sucker before you end up on sites that aggregate and stream unsecured webcam streams.
Instead of cutting bits of gaffer's tape to fit over your lens, provide your loved one with a set of webcam-specific privacy stickers. Ranging in three sizes, the removable and reusable stickers let you cover your webcam, peel it off for your conference call, and stick it back on without exposing yourself to the world (or putting on pants).
You can get 24 stickers in various sizes from Silent Pocket for $13.
An RFID-Blocking Wallet, for Managing Superstitions
Let's face it: the rumoured Mr. Robot-style hacker, walking around in a hoodie with a handheld RFID scanner, doesn't really exist. Reports of RFID-based theft are few and far between, making the outsized presence of RFID blocking wallets, sleeves, and bags a little overblown.
Still, a proper RFID wallet can also serve a different purpose, shielding card readers from other RFID-enabled cards on your purchase while one, let's say your transportation card, remains exposed to the world, ready to let you on the subway at a moment's notice. Waterfield's Finn Access wallet does just that, and comes in a variety of colours.
A VPN Subscription, for Secure Browsing
No one likes being followed, especially if the one doing the following is the same one providing you an internet connection. Giving the gift of a VPN is pretty easy, especially since you can just buy a year of service for someone and forget about it. Look for VPNs like NordVPN, TunnelBear, or PIA, which feature mobile apps for iOS and Android.
That means your loved one can protect their browsing data at home and on the go, no matter the device. Expect to drop, if you're buying a year's worth of VPN service, anywhere from $50 to $80.
Yubikey, for Easy Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication needs a username, password, and authentication code from either an authentication app or a text message sent to your smartphone. If your security-loving gift recipient spends half their day logging into devices and entering passcodes, shave a few seconds off the tedium that is security by gifting them a hardware-based authenticator like a Yubikey.
A Yubikey acts like a physical key, can replace your two-factor authentication prompts, and is compatible with over 50 services like Google, Facebook, and Dropbox. It also works with operating systems like Windows, macOS, and Linux. You can see a complete list of supported operating systems and services on Yubico's site, and get their latest version, Yubikey 4, starting at $50.
A Mesh Router, for Being Your Own Data Dictator
Just because you care about your privacy doesn't mean you are properly equipped to manage every aspect of your online identity. Make it easy for your loved one to manage what data flows through the network in their own home with a mesh router from a company like Eero, Google, or Luma.
Mesh routers offer a more accessible method of controlling aspects of your home's wireless network without heading to your router's IP address. They can use the accompanying smartphone app to view who is connected to their wireless network, pause their home internet entirely to dissuade megabyte moochers, and manage Internet access for devices belonging to youngsters.