Peek into a Pi-hole with MUG – 5th February

The next Midlands User Group (MUG) meeting will take place on Saturday, 5th February at 2pm, at which MUG’s own John Rickman will be talking about and demonstrating Pi-hole, a Raspberry Pi-based solution for blocking unwanted content from your home network.

Unwanted content can mean different things to different people, but a particular form that we all see is advertising; while it may serve to provide an income to websites and help keep them free, these days it is often quite aggressively presented with pop ups, overlays and worse, all of which can make websites harder to read, and much less pleasant.

However, Pi-hole can do more than just remove advertising. A closely linked problem is that of tracking, and worse ‘analytical’ data gathering which is often analysing you and what you do online – as well as every member of your household, guests, etc – who you bank with, who provides your insurance, where you do your online shopping, and what sort of things you buy, not to mention your more general interests, possibly even what you watch on television if you have a Smart TV. The list goes on – if you have something connected to the internet, data is probably being collected from it.

Once gathered and analysed by data gathering companies, that information can be used to further influence your choices, and may not always be used with your best interests at heart – a prime example of which is the reported efforts by the likes of Cambridge Analytica to influence people in the run up to the Brexit referendum. Therefore, Pi-hole could actually make your home more private, and therefore safer.

John uses Pi-hole to keep his own network clean, and will take the group through the use of the software so that others can be similarly unburdened, including a live demo of the software, and how to install it. Not stopping there, the pros and cons of ad-blockers in general will be covered, and the differences between such solutions and Pi-hole, and the ethical considerations will also be explored.

The meeting will take place online using the Zoom video conferencing system, and is open for anyone to attend. Users of other recent online MUG meetings can use the same log-in credentials as before, otherwise please contact the group in plenty of time to receive the necessary details.

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