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 :

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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.

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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 ?

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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.

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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.

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Do no track me

Dear unknown reader,

While going around on the web as I usually do every day, I have just found an interesting web series which I would like to share. If you have some time you shall spend a bit of your time to watch it. The episodes are still on going, so far I think the documentary explain well the new digital economy.

Link : https://donottrack-doc.com/en/episodes

 

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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/

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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

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My privacy is not on sale

Dear reader,

Thank you for passing by… I stopped writing for while. I host this blog a hobby to express my view. Life sometimes get you busy with other things, and I did not took the time to write.

Netherless I had plenty of ideas I would like to share talk about. I closed the comment as I received 95% fake comments or ads. Still if you wish to contact me you can do it by email.

If you have read my previous post you’ve maybe found out that I was concerned about privacy before that the scandal triggered by Edward Snowden came up. It’s seems that only the vast majority of us are discovering that we are spied and tracked online. (Governement or Google). On the internet you can read various things pros and cons against Snowden but I find difficult to distinguish between what is true or false and what is right or wrong. I will try on this post to give another perspective over this, and privacy in general.

I think we must distingish between being tracked by a companies and being tracked by the governement. Why does the goverenment spy on us (NSA, or GCHQ )? The govermnent claim is for our national security, and most of normal shoudln’t worried about that. My concern is why it is secret ? How do we know if it has helped to prevent terrorist attack ? The US governement, nor the other develloping country have proved with facts that it was an efficient to use all of this technology to prevent terrorism or protect the country national interest. The NSA activities remain unclear to most us. Many questions remained unanswered. Why collecting and store this huge amount of data ? Is it really efficient ? What exactly is collected ? How long this data is stored ? What do they do with it ? Almost none of us know…. What would you do at Edward Snowden place ? Take the money and live confortable life ? Act with courage and belief of what you think is right at the risk of spoiling your life ? Whatever are his motivation, and whether he is right or wrong he has the merit to have triggered a public debate. This public debate is essential for our democracy rights, and we must continue to push our governement for more answers.

However so far I still blog freely in favour of Edward Snowden without the fear of being arrested. Anyone can read article about him. I am not quite convinced it is completely 1984 yet. So it’s not because I believe the US governement is wrong to hide to the public the NSA activites that US authorities are complety corrupted. So far I don’t think live in fear, I don’t think I would be arrested because I am blogging against the NSA activities. I could be very dangerous and scary if the data collected is to be used against us and our democratic rights, take down political opponents. As far as I know the NSA data have not been used by the DoJ to prosecute anyone as proof of guilt. So things are not so bad as they seems. Intestingly I am not so much concern about it…

I am more concern about Google, and how this company track us for commercial purpose. I have read plenty of article about Google these days. As the NSA scandal rise many journalist now questions Google behaviour and I thinks that good. However I think many of the journalist does not raise the right concern about this company, and does not provide new perspectives…

Let me talk about email among other outrageous things. Did you know that Google open every emails and process it to dress profile for commercial purpose. Google claims it is a machine who does it and respect my privacy. That’s outrageous be to me it’s even worse if it a machine who open my email. Yes it’s worse ! I AM NOT A PROFILE ! I AM NOT A NUMBER ! You have to keep in mind is that

to Google you are just number. If a computer can open your email at Google datacenter, then someone also at Google can open your email. How much do you trust Google ?. Do you know exactly what they do with your personal information ? What information they collect for marketing purpose ? Do you have control over those informations you’re sending about you ? Why store our digital life to their servers ?

That’s why a year ago I decided to stop using Gmail, I transfered all of my emails to another provider outside United States, and I took some time before completely close my account in order to remember all the websites I registered to and tell the person around me that I am changing emails. I have defenitly closed my Google account a month ago, but before that I wanted to deleted all my personal information. It’s amazing that amount of data they store about you ! And it’s not easy to remove them.

They spend millions for their corporate images, and claim that they are good  and have nothing to hide. When would they make their search engine open source ? Never…We do not realize it but we are brainwhased at Google sauce…To me, I think for them you’re just a number their filling the sample of their statistics that they can sell for marketing purpose. The only thing they care is making money at the expense of your privacy whatever they say. That’s why I hate their double speech.

I could also talk about many other things they do, which I despise, such as Android or the Google glass but it’s quite late now…. Briefly they took the open source concept and emptied the real essence out of it. Android is not really open sourc. Only Google decide when to release the sources, and the apps are close source. The direction of the OS is not decided by a community but by Google.

I am taking Google as example because they are the leaders in this field, about it could be any of the high tech companies.

Those companies want to force you use the technology the way they want to make money. But accepting their TOS (Terms of Services) you opened a Pandora box which is very hard to move away….

MY PRIVACY IS NOT TO SELL ! I AM MORE THAN A MARKET SHARE!

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