Presearch to the People

By Tigre | Crypto to the People | 27 Mar 2021

Among my friends it's a common topic of conversation, "Google spies on me," "Google knows more about our lives than our closest friends," and the most common one, of course, "The other day I was talking about taking a trip to Greece and now Google is full with ads about the Greek islands, boat trips, cheap airfares, etc." While I personally (thought that I) don't care that much about "being spied on," I do believe that ideologically it's wrong (I'll come back to this later). But I know many people who really do care, not just theoretically, they hate the idea of their data being stored and used and sold. They think about stopping to use WhatsApp because of an update to the terms they haven't even read.

But these very same people would never have the idea to switch to a different search engine other than Google. These very same people think everything that has something to do with cryptocurrency can't be anything but a scam. When I bring up that they should look into Presearch, the reaction is, "Oh, it's related to cryptocurrency? Then they are probably trying to steal my data." The fact that Google actually does that and Presearch doesn't is completely irrelevant, it's just the perception that if it is related to cryptocurrency it can't be trusted. Most of them didn't have any problems trying out Ecosia (and I have nothing against the project, on the contrary, I think it's great), but many abandoned it because the results weren't good enough, however there was no hesitation in trying it out, nor fear of being surveilled.

M. Zimmer argues that "dataveillance technologies [...] contribute to the curtailing of individual freedom, affect users’ sense of self, and present issues of deep discrimination and social justice" (see here). Which leads me to the real issue: We should go one step farther and even people like myself, who thought, "Well, I don't really care what they do with my data," should realize that it isn't just about them (or their data), it is about social injustice to which we are contributing by feeding the very infrastructures that lead to this discrimination. And each of us plays a role in realizing that it is wrong not to care. Or to put it in Edward Snowden's words: "Arguing that you don't care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don't care about free speech because you have nothing to say."

Because, as always, who will be the victims of this dataveillance? Those in power? I guess we all know that that won't be the case. The issue of surveillance is, in reality, an issue of gender, race, class, and sexuality (I'd like to recommend this fabulous feminist surveillance study on the topic). And we should all play our part in trying to make society more feminist, less racist, less classist, less homophobic, and less transphobic. And even though to some it might seem far-fetched to link this to Presearch, there actually aren't that many things we can do in our daily lives to actively try to help bring about these changes in society (of course, there are many things we could do, but most come with more effort or work attached than using a different search engine, or require a certain social setting to speak up, etc.).

Using Presearch is a mini-step into the right direction. Even talking about Presearch and the problems non-private search engines pose is a step into the right direction. So just like I had to convince myself, we should all make it our mission to convince our friends and family, no matter how cryptosceptic they might be, that it doesn't even matter whether they care about Google spying on them, but that it is a question of social justice and therefore we must all care. And search with Presearch.



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Crypto to the People
Crypto to the People

This blog ponders about ways to bring crypto to people who don't necessarily think it's the future or who have never heard of blockchain, who think that everything related to crypto is most likely a scam. How do we convince them otherwise?

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