A new digital world is coming

Since I wrote on this blog a lot have changed in the world. I always have been against big technology corporations telling you how to use technology. From the early days a company imposing an operating system when buying a computer to the web giants looking at your activities online in order to show you online advertisement.

The world is has changed without us realizing. Since 2013, people started to realize including me, it is no longer those big companies looking on our activity online, but states who are looking at us. Depending where you are in the world they have different reasons and ways to do so. Looking back several years ago the politicians did not see the digital age coming, because it was something new that they could not understand. Now they do, or at least starting to understand the implications of technology into our world.

I am trying to think differently, how do we approach technology.

Dystopia of the Information Age

Dear unknown reader,

I am sure by now you’ve seen how the digital world have changed from age of liberation to a new age where everything we do online is monitored.

As an individual I refuse the fact that the web have been transformed from from place of freedom, to a jail in which you can no longer get out of those big companies. And they’ve very talented to make you believe that they are ubiquitous. I believe that we do have choice

Here is my advice. Saying out loud on their own platform that’re evil won’t changed anything in my view. First because we’re still using their platform, and that make business for them anyway, and they will still be able to monitor you.

If data is their new petrol, and they think it is valuable, Instead giving it to them for free, why not, not giving your data to them

  • Understand Privacy Policies whenever possible
  • Use temporary email address whenever it’s appropriate
  • Use a search engine who respect your privacy
  • Refuse to use a smartphone tied to your email address
  • Refuse to buy online in major platform
  • Live without social media who tracks you online
  • Use Open Source software on your computer/phones
  • Use an add blocker which use obfuscation techniques
  • Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) or Tor
  • Use your right to delete your data that an organization have about you whenever possible

Maybe by doing all or some of these above, scandals like Cambridge Analytica won’t happen anymore. Hopefully you will exercise you’re free will when you are about to vote.

Some the books on my reading lists among others :

Lost in data

Dear unknown reader,

As time goes along, I feel more and more sad, as I cannot see any hope that things will get better. We’re in a time of information overload, and I am not able to distinguish what’s important from what isn’t.

It’s up to the point that we can no longer make sense of the world we’re living in. This is because there is so much data available we’re not able to process understand it.

We need computers to understand a specific problem.

The next decade

Dear unknown reader,

I did not post any updates for a while now… Since my last post, I now have a smartphone, which is not mainstream, although it looks like simple black squarish smartphone it runs different operating system. (Sailfish OS). This allows me to live a bit off-grid.

That is something I figured out for while now, those companies are trying everything to tie you to their services. In exchanges of tracking your activities online, they can sell advertisement. This have been a very lucrative business for the last decade, and it seems now slowly people start to realize this of invasive they are. Still most of peoples are addicted…

In silicon valley they are preparing what will be next decade, and it seems now that the future of technology will be data and machine learning. It’s really hard to predict what will be the future. However I think we need to understand the world of today but it seems no one really understand what is happening. Only a few have the whole pictures, and know what matters and what does not.

Who would have predicted 20 years ago that those web companies would have so much impact on our daily life, so that everything they do is ubiquitous and now we can’t live without. This has resulted in a major shift of powers from government to those companies, and they are not run democratically. How much do you trust them ? It seems that everyone in the western world loves democracy, and we don’t tolerates dictatures.

Those corporations are now trying to use machines learning, with the all data we have given to them almost for free. What will they do with it ?

Microsoft Privacy Policy

Dear unknown reader,

I am guess by now you’ve heard if not try the new Windows. I switched to Linux as a desktop use several years ago, and I shall acknowledge I do not know much about the Windows well anymore. At the time I did not like to be limited by the Windows eco system. As time passed by I have made few attempt to go back to several version of Windows, and every time I went to back to Linux. Before you ask, yes Microsoft have improved a lot and Windows became system quite good and easy to use, and yes unfortunately I lost a lot of time too trying to make something working correctly with Linux.

I moved to Linux for technicals reason at the time. Now I will stay with it for different reason than technicity. For the end user I don’t think the technicals reasons matters anymore. What matters now is the privacy, and I am guess you’ve read a lot of articles online. Many of them explained how to set Windows to prevent getting information about you. A fewer numbers of articles complained of invasion of privacy, and ultimately many argued that we gave away our privacy to Google so what difference do that make whether it is Microsoft or Google ?

One year ago I have tried one of the Windows phone, as I wanted to move away from Android. As soon I as switch the phone, I had to accept their end user policy which I did not understand fullly. If I wanted to use the phone, I was forced to agree on their policy. That’s when I realized Microsoft was already doing the same as Google. So I returned back the phone and went back to use an old fashion mobile phone. (See my earlier post)

To me, you should not use any products of those companies Windows nor Google because of privacy issues it implies. The consequences of giving away your privacy are not obvious at first sight. Above a video from la Quadrature du net which explain very well why it matters. If you’re interested you may also look at the web series Do not track me episodes.

Life without a smartphone

Dear unknow reader,

I was reading back a post I wrote “My Privacy is not on sale” almost two years ago. Since I gradually disconnected my life from Google. (I never had Facebook anyway) I closed my gmail account few month before the Snowden scandal. I started to use DuckDuckGo as my home page. Then I bought a Firefox phone trying to escape Android. When the first Firefox phone came out it has so many bugs I had to recompile new version of it and I broke my phone by flashing a boot partition whihc I should not have done. So I ended buying a conventional phone with keys and I have it now for more than a year. I am trying to protect my “privacy”

So I live without a smartphone. So far I don’t miss it. As time went by I realized that those kind a phone are phone designed to uniquely track you for commercial purpose. It’s pretty scary. It’s even more scary about how the NSA can track you if they want to.

At least I do believe that as we are consumer we can refuse to give our privacy away over their services. I don’t want to be tracked by big corporations, create account and feed more data to those companies and help then to make a better world. Simply because they don’t make the world better, their just doing business. The easier way to this is  to stop using “smart” phones and maybe those corporation will change if they know it won’t bring them any money…I know that’s utopic now..

I have asked you in my previous post if you think we were in 1984 ? In a short answer I believe we are in strange world of information over load. The Digital age. It is not 1984 but something different with similarities. As history unfolds it’s difficult to understand of what’s going on in the world. It’s not about propaganda anymore, it’s about information.

Information is much more valuable than you think, you should not give it away for free.

Winston Smith

Dear unknow reader,

The other days I saw on the news that they’ve installed a statue of Edwark Snowden in New York., central park I believe. I will find the link later. The statue have been removed from the authorities very shortly after it has been installed. This made me think in kind of society we’re in….Among U.S. citizen he’s consider by some as a hero by the authorities as a traitor a wanted man.

Snowden-BustAs hero because for some people he unveil the hidden part of the mass surveillance system, and showed the general public the scale of it. He did what he tough morally correct beyond his own interest. As a traitor because he unveiled secret documents that have undermine U.S. security and trust over this agency which is responsible for the mass surveillance. Which side will you be ? Do you think we’re in 1984 ?

 

 

Image source : http://mashable.com/2015/04/07/edward-snowden-hologram-statue-brooklyn/

Alternatives….

Dear reader,

Thanks for stopping by. I did not write any post for a long time. I moved my blog to a different country. Indeed my blog was previously hosted in United States. It may not change anything  but still I don’t like it. I am trying to do everything I could to prevent my digital life to be stored in United States. Yes I becoming paranoid, even if though I did nothing wrong. I would like to be in control of my digital life in the internet, and it’s becoming more and more difficult to do so. The first thing I did many years ago was to close my Facebook account.

For several month I have been trying to cut my dependence over thoses “free services”. (Remember that nothing is free) Are you aware where are you personal information stored ? Again it may not change anything, but be aware that the law and regulations are different from countries to countries. Do you agree with the U.S. law ? The NSA scandal is important, but it does not bother me is compared to the influence of those big companies who tells you how to use technology.

I noticed few month ago that I must have a gmail account if I want to use any Android phone. We are now in connected world, whereby thoses internet corporation push you to be more and more connected and know more about you. I don’t want them to know, what are inside my emails, my location, or what I buy or not buy. Did you know that your email are scanned by Google ? I searched how to use android without a Google account, and it has appeared to difficult (At least with the older version 2.3). I could explain how to do it but I don’t intent to make my posts technical. Moreover it is bit of pain as you cannot use the Android market/Google play because you must login with a gmail account. So if you want an app you have to install it manually, and it is not convenient at all. So I change my phone and stopped to use Android.

There are alternatives to get away from those big corporation even if they are not perfect.

This what you can do :

  • Use an email provider which does not scan your email,  share sell  your data with a third party. (Eg neomailbox.net)
  • Use temporary email when you need to create account.
  • To sync my files and contact remotely you can use owncloud on a Raspberry Pi
  • Use an alternative mobile phone like Firefox OS,
  • Use an open source OS for on my computer (FreeBSD Linux)
  • Use Duckduckgo as a homepage to search on the web
  • Try to convince people to use diaspora as a social network instead Facebook
  • Try to convince people to use XMPP message client on phone and computer

I am sure there is many others alternatives I can’t think about just now. Those are far from being perfect, but I do encourage you to use them if you don’t want those big corporations to decide for you what shall be internet.

Think Different