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Minimising the Impact of Surveillance Capitalism on My Life, Since I can't Eliminate it (Yet)

I do not (or no longer) consent to the use of products and/or disservices that compromise/violate my privacy and/or security, especially/particularly by participating in Surveillance Capitalism (bulk-collecting, mining and selling users' personal data to third parties, for profit). I am actively taking steps to eliminate such destructive technologies from my life (or, if it is currently impossible/impractical to do so, severely limit their impact).

"Privacy is no longer a social norm." — Mark Zuckerborg, CEO and founder of Faceborg/Meta

“If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place?”
 — Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Alphabet and Google

No, that's simply propoganda and it's wrong. Privacy is being selective about what we let on/tell to whom and it is very much still a thing. He whom would sacrifice privacy and security for convenience deserves none of them and will lose them all (to knowingly butcher Benjamin Franklin's words even further than they already are by those whom have a political agenda, which I do).

“I tell people, if you have nothing to hide, then you are nothing. This isn’t about Hayekian individuality, libertarianism – it’s a historical process of individuation that has developed hand in hand with political freedom and democracy.”
 — Shoshana Zuboff; Author of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism and other works on the destructive impact of information technology

"When we let others control us by the threat of disapproval and rejection, we give up far too much of ourselves and make it impossible for us to engage in authentic relationships."
 — George Robinson; Actor (known for Sex Education)

As much as I distrust Microsoft for its own anti-competitive and shady business practices (not to mention technical failings), I am inclined to believe that the company is at least inclined to make serious efforts toward ensuring privacy and security (given that it was fined for falling afoul of the US government's privacy and cryptography/security requirements and could face legal action for a repeat occurrence within two decades therefrom, according to Chey Cobb in Cryptography for Dummies). I don't like the company or its software, but it seems to be the lesser of a number of evils (including Amazon, Google and Meta), surprisingly for a company considered to be an Evil Empire.

For this reason, I will not be using Slack (when I can use Element/Jitsi Meet and Signal), Google suite (when I can use Libre Office), GitHub (when I can use GitLab) or related products if I can avoid them (which, unfortunately, I sometimes can't). I have mostly managed to get by without them and will continue to do so, despite the occasional personal inconvenience that choice causes me. (Going against the grain is never easy, but it's for my own benefit, even if it initially seems not to be for other people's.)

The only real challenge is completely getting rid of Scroogle and revoking my agreement/consent to the use of its products and disservices. The benefits of doing so are definitely worth it. The mistake I made was buying android phones, because I can't afford iPhones (not that Apple are much better regarding the issues, according to Edward Snowden, whom presumably knows more than I do). A lot of the apps I use aren't available on F-Droid (an alternative to Google Play), which makes completely getting rid of Scroogle that much more difficult (not that it's easy to begin with).

My generation existed before these technologies did, back in the days of dial-up modems and before. Although they've become a part of our lives, we can exist without them, if necessary. There are levels of survival we are prepared to accept.

Ideally, I want to buy a stock Android phone and replace the OS with /e/, Graphene or any of the other Scroogle-free GNU/Linux-based operating systems that are meant to protect privacy and increase security. That doesn't solve the issue with apps, but I could always learn to develop them. Ultimately, it depends on how much personal inconvenience I am willing to endure. The issue, as always, is one of a lack of funds (but not so much a lack of time; I have plenty of that) that I can commit to the problem.

Today, I intend to unsubscribe from any mailing lists that are delivered to either my Gmail or Yahoo accounts, change the email address used by those accounts that are still important/relevant to me, close others and at least close my Amazon, Tumblr and Yahoo accounts, since I no longer have use for them. If I've got time and energy afterwards, I'll research and write a post on how to blacklist Websites so that one's computer can't access them.

I've already uninstalled apps I haven't used in a while. A lot of this seems to be taking action once the damage has already been done, but it will hopefully prevent further damage.

The cost of privacy and security is inconvenience and vigilance, especially in a world where they are not respected rights (which they should be), but privileges for which one has to fight abusers and bullies devoid of ethics and morals. I must confess that I get tired of fighting, become complacent and lazy. Lassitude is always to my detriment, as it is to yours. We can do better and we must because no one will do it for us. Governments and corporations cannot be relied upon to do what is in our best interests, since it is clearly against theirs (or appears to be so from their perspective). The alternative, doing nothing and being “subsumed in unadulterated power”, in indiscriminate mass surveillance and behaviour modification/manipulation, is not an option for me, just as it isn't for Eli Pariser, Roger McNamee, Tristan Harris (Humane Tech, formerly Google) or Zuboff. I hope it isn't for you, either. Go ask Moonalice; I think she'll know.

“In the world of growth hacking [(unrestrained Capitalism)], users are a metric, not people.”
 — Roger McNamee; Author of Zucked

“We are not simply users. We are much used. We have to awaken to our shared future.”
 — Shoshana Zuboff

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Great White Snark
Great White Snark

I'm currently seeking fixed employment as a S/W & Web developer (C# & ASP .NET MVC, PHP 8+, Python 3), hoping to stash the farmed fiat and go full Crypto, quit the 07:30-18:00 grind. Unsigned music producer; snarky; white; balding; smashes Patriarchy.

Cryptographic Anarchy: (Mis)Adventures in Crypto
Cryptographic Anarchy: (Mis)Adventures in Crypto

The content of this blog is exclusively to do with online privacy/security, cryptography and cryptocurrency: Understanding it, investing in it, mining it (in groups/crowds), developing/programming it, the social problems it aims to solve and the various ways to make more of it (or not, as various losses and failures happen). Let's get away from banksters, Capitalists and fiat, to an anarcho-syndicalist commune. Banner image: Blogger's own. Contemplating making an HD NFT version if there's interest.

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