Privacy by Compartmentalisation

According to wikipedia:

“Compartmentalisation is the limiting of access to information to persons or other entities on a need-to-know basis to perform certain tasks.”

It was originally used by the Greeks to keep the secret of Greek fire, but now it is used by people all around the world for lots of different reasons.

I like to think of it as a floor of a house. You have different rooms for different purposes, and you don't mix things up. For example, you wouldn't sleep in the kitchen, nor would you cook in the bedroom. This is a good attitude to have when it comes to privacy.

The simplest way to do compartmentalisation is by having 3 parts:

  1. Professional
  2. Personal
  3. Other

Let's start with professional. This should contain your work email, all of your files/documents (preferably on Libre Office), potentially your LinkedIn etc...

The best browser for all your needs will probably be FireFox with these add-ons:


Be careful when adding extra add-ons. Always make sure its open source and that it actually respects your privacy.
This is a collection of privacy-related about:config tweaks that will enhance the privacy of your Firefox browser. Enter “about:config” in the FireFox address bar and press enter. Press the button “I'll be careful, I promise!” Then follow the instructions and hey presto! The last thing you need to do is choose a search engine, I'd recommend SearX.

Next we are going to want a browser for personal stuff, like emailing friends and family or watching YouTube. For this we are going to use Brave . While it is based on Chromium, it has built in “shields” which are a combination of “Ad Control', “Cookie Control”, “Fingerprinting protection”, HTTPS Everywhere and Script blocking. I would advise setting your default browser to startpage.

Brave requires very little set up, however if you want some extra privacy there is a tutorial on it here (it starts at around 1:34) There is also a list of all the config tweaks you can make here in the Brave section. This is pretty much it for your personal section.

Brave also has an interesting ad feature which allows you to earn BAT. If you are interested in this then there are ways that you can earn BAT just by downloading the browser.

Finally we have other. This is for anything else that doesn't fit into one of the other categories. The best browser for this is Tor. Before installing Tor their are a few things you need to know. Never log in to anything on Tor. I'd watch this video. For search engine I'd use DuckDuckGo. If you want more info on Tor then this article will help!

But what Operating System should I use?

You should use Qubes. Its endorsed by Ed Snowden the NSA whistleblower and is focused on compartmentalisation. They even have a sub-reddit devoted to helping you set it up! And if you are wondering what operating systems to run in your Qubes I'd use debian for your professional and personal and have tails or whonix for other.

You may be thinking that this all sounds rather complicated, but after a while, like everything, it gets easier. If you are stuck there are lots of great tutorials and sub-reddits on the matter, so don't feel you have to suffer in silence.