Digital #Privacy and #SurveillanceCapitalism.
by Nathan Paul
China, heard about China in the recent days? the app bans and censoring websites in the so called name of national security and the privacy of our citizens?
While ironically we use American services and big tech giants like GAFAM
Google, Apple, Facebook (Instagram and WhatsApp), Amazon and Microsoft and these don't face the ban hammer under the government because of their countless privacy violations as long as they have existed and the government has no problem with American governments (3rd party) spying on us. While have problems when their Chinese counterparts do, both are very bad for you, the user and India does not have strong data protection laws yet and these companies often partner with the governments to stay afloat.
Microsoft partners with schools to trap children in using their proprietary platform and not showing exposure to alternative solutions, it goes deep down the rabbit hole having numbing effects on for the use of free and freedom respecting software and far better ecosystems.
Facebook earns $50Billion or in revenue selling your data and you seeing very relavent ads on WhatsApp and Instagram. Guess what? you get paid nothing.
More the people in their platform, more customers to sell ads to and they intern bring more profit.
The price of petrol topped at ₹84/L recently. Remember Reliance the big oil company now it's Jio. Data is valued more than oil, and everyone's fighting to get your spot because that's how these companies work.
Even right now. Microsoft, Google, apple with the other big 5 partners with the American surveillance programs called the PRISM to give direct access to your account, even though you might now live in India, Edward Snowden a whistleblower exposed this 2013.
A really bad state for companies as they push to colonizes every budding internet market including India we lose our sovereignty..
So India is indirectly under the American and Chinese surveillance programs depending on what apps and hardware you buy. For the majority Your Laptop with comes with Windows or MacOS phone belongs to Apple and Microsoft and not you. They control everything you loose your freedom because they run nonfree software.
Infact try it now a device nearby is listening for the phrases 24/7 Ok Google or hey Siri, Alexa or Cortana.
Every message sent is through Facebook via WhatsApp and Instagram. Which have backdoors in them, because they're American [PRISM] and non free. [Proprietary]
Explaining the importance of privacy is like explaining climate change except that it's not nature who's suffering it will be you. You reep what you sow. I'll assure you that you'd have to pay more for your rent, taxes, if you ignore the importance of privacy. Let's take a real life example, China people are recognized by their faces and are given a rank. its called the social credit system they don't have access to the outside world.
Test it out [https://www.comparitech.com/privacy-security-tools/blockedinchina/(https://www.comparitech.com/privacy-security-tools/blockedinchina/)] They don't have YouTube, Google, Twitter, and other things we take for granted. Instead they're in their own cocoon and anyone who speaks out gets jailed.
We're seeing this in Hong Kong, where protesters hide from CCTVs using umbrellas, using encrypted messaging apps like Signal and Telegram.
They're ahead of the curve, they're seeing the effects now. They didn't have effective data protection laws.
While we take this for granted back here. Here's something to think about as India censored apps on one side and allows privacy breaching companies on the other. While Facebook and Jio tie up together and garner market share by selling products like amazon through Jio Mart in WhatsApp, that's a huge market, 400 Million users in India alone. These apps don't respect the user's freedoms, like the British who came to India which only saw it as a mere colony.
Finally it's the user who's losing in the long term.
Here's an analogy- Using these apps is like consuming a product for example, a cake – you can see the cake, taste it, use it, eat it, but you don't know how it is made, what ingredients it's made of or its recipe and they charge how much ever we want for the cake and still you never own the cake, only I, the cake maker [BigTech] can make and sell the cake and then you get sick because of the ingredients in the cake and you have to pay a huge bill for medical recovery
Stay away from non free software.
What I fear, in the not so far future/-
- Countries get colonized by tech giant and the ones which do not give up user data get shadow banned by ISPs, people, who are first time internet users fall for scams, get phished, spread fake news.
The ad industry gets ahold of everyone's searches and people are mined on the daily.
- A world where federation is irrelevant and using proprietary services at the cost of everyone joining you to jump on the bandwagon.
Now you might be thinking what do I do to protect my privacy at a basic level where I don't have to lose convenience.
Switch from surveillance tech giants. don't prioritize Google, use ones which are open source, privacy respecting and outside the US or 5 or 14 eyes countries.
- Switch to privacy focused messaging apps like Element (Matrix), Telegram and Signal and use them for different purposes each. (use disappearing messages in Signal)
- Use a different search engine like DuckDuckGo or SearX.
- Don't ever ever give your password or pass phrase and keep diverse passwords and store them using a password manager like Bitwarden
- Use hardened Firefox or Brave or ungoogled chromium over Google Chrome
Before we end Here's a common misconception or fallacy – 'I don't have anything to hide so why should I care?' I'm a law abiding citizen.
*Give me your password and username to any and all of your accounts as I please and let me take what I like, publish it and since you have nothing to hide right you'd agree right?? this raises some eye brows*