I am returning to this blog after a long time. I changed few things and host it manually from scratch on a Linux machine the cloud rather than automated web services .
Nowdays I feel I am the opposite of social compared to most people online. I am not on any major social network, and never make any comments or part in any discussion or debate online. I tends run stuff on my own without being involved in any community. When I grew up in the 90’s it used to that being a geek was not so much a trending thing as opposed to now.. I guess the term nerd have replace geek, and I don’t want to belong to a specific community but do my own things.
When I started this blog, I had high goals, and always wanted to write a lots of stuff about what I have done, add real value to the blog, write meaningful carefully thought text about technology, but I guess I was wrong a blogging in general as I ended not doing anything at all, and I ended paying every year for a service I did not really use. Afterall, if I don’t make a mistake the meaning of blog is the contraction of web and logging which essentially a too capture your thoughts online. Then social networks came and ask you the questions :
What’s in your mind ?
In fact What’s the social network really say is what’s in your mind so I can monetize this by showing contents you might like. Well my answer to Mark is what’s on my mind is not for sale. As you can see this has not changed. I will always despise these companies But I guess these days I shall be more positive, and write about more other topics than technology. Maybe it will make this blog more lively, and I would finally use this blog, instead of wasting my money running it.
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 digital world 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 also states who are looking at us. Depending where you are in the world they have different reasons why 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 the real world.
I am trying to think differently, how do we approach technology.
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 :
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.
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 ?
It happened 20 years ago February 8, 1996, from Davos, Switzeland.
You may read the transcription from the Electronics Frontier Foundation :https://www.eff.org/cyberspace-independence
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.
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.
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
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.
As 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/