What's your position on tech privacy?

Devices, os’s, apps, websites.

For some years I have been running Linux on pc and LineageOS on phone for a lesser time, very little proprietary software, no non-FOSS apps, often alternative frontends for popular websites or alternative sites, mostly because of privacy issues. It hasn’t been without it’s issues for sure.

Late last year I was running a new laptop with Windows 10 for a bit to try out the machine, and more recently I installed Windows 11 on an old laptop for work (yes, you can install it without TPM 2.0, with an old 2nd gen Intel cpu, without a Microsoft account).

I tend to avoid any apps on phone, unless they are FOSS.

So my position has been a preference for privacy from tech companies with the tradeoff of some things being annoying to a pain in the ass. My reason for preferring privacy is that I think tech companies have too much influence over us. The more they know about us, the more leverage they have for pushing influence of various agencies. And it’s not just about myself. Tech companies having influence over family, friends, and coworkers tends to make anyone who seeks to avoid their influence an outlier in viewpoints, causing friction with those people around us, just like how the debacle with the covid vaccines caused friction.

I think I’ve finally managed to stop my phone being a tracker now I’m on /e/OS. I don’t mind the phone network knowing where I am, I just don’t want a big tech company and co knowing my every movement/action too. Just a lil’ bit too creepy for me.

I’m sure more people would mind if google et al manifested as heavy breathing holograms behind their heads, staring over their shoulders at their devices.

Things are only just getting started. The digital prison is under construction.

At least here in the US, tech privacy doesn’t exist.

Either you give companies permission to snoop on you by accepting their licensing agreements, or the government just comes along and takes it.

I think taking steps to prevent people from snooping on your tech is like taking steps to prevent someone from stealing your car. If someone wants it bad enough, no matter what you do, they’ll figure out a way to get it.

I look at it a little differently in thinking that if we choose not to resist data collection (and we can to some significant degree), then these tech companies have no reason not to continue what they are doing. Using your car analogy, it’s really like leaving the keys in the ignition with the windows down, when we do have a choice not to do those things. Of course, if someone wants to steal a car bad enough, they will. But really, very few cars are actually stolen in the scheme of things, because people don’t make it as easy as possible. And it’s a very similar situation when we take measures not to easily hand over user data. The harder it is, the less it happens. Unlike the car situation, I feel like generally people don’t know what measures they can take to avoid data hoovering. I have talked to lots of people in person who are aware that invasive data collection is happening but don’t take any measures to prevent it because either they don’t know how to resist it or because it is too much of an inconvenience to resist it.

Since I don’t use any of this stuff, explain to me how you prevent these companies using your data for whatever they use it for when you install one of their apps and accept the terms and conditions in their license agreement?

Or are we talking about different things here?

Toleolu. The only way is to throw away your phone or make it a Google less one.

I’m saying that there is often alternatives to installing those apps, using apps that don’t have terms and conditions. We all know this. Right? Sure, there are practicalities involved. Maybe the app that has no terms and conditions has less features, is less nice to use, etc. Maybe you use Linux instead of Windows, or an app from F-Droid instead of from Google Play. And there definitely are tradeoffs in many cases. Convenience or ease of use vs. privacy. And I’m not preaching. I do use Linux and LineageOS, etc., but I’m also dealing with working for a company who uses Windows and other Microsoft software. I think I can work out not using Windows at least, and that might be analogous to at least locking the car door. This privacy stuff is never perfect.

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^ Really worth a watch, in my opinion.

I’ve got an iPhone that I only use for talk and text. I don’t have any apps installed on it, a limited data plan mostly for Apple Maps and texts when I’m not home.

I do my email, banking, and some internet on my iPad. But again, I don’t have any apps installed on the iPad.

Then I have my PC which I do a little internet and play my Warship game and Reaper.

I’ve talked a lot in the past about ditching your devices. But to be more accurate, it’s not ditching your devices, it’s ditching a lot of the crap you do with them.

I still think they’re great tools for information and keeping in touch with people, but they’re a pretty shitty substitute for having a life.

The other thing I go back to a lot is here in the US, the two big secret laws that were passed that, as far as I’m concerned, allow the government to do pretty much whatever they want to do with this stuff. Those two laws again are the Telecommunications Act from 1996, and The Patriot Act.

Like was mentioned in the Reason.com article with the stingrays, nobody really wants to talk about what kind of tech the government has for monitoring this stuff.

Between stingrays, geofencing, and God knows what else, seems to me, at least here in the US, there is no privacy when it comes to tech, no matter what you try to do to protect yourself.

But then again, there’s nothing in the US Constitution about a right to privacy to begin with.

On the upside though, something I learned from days as a db admin, it’s one thing to collect a lot of data, it’s whole different ball game trying to get anything useful out of that data. Given how inept the US government is in so many other things they do, I suspect they may be sitting on mountains of data, but have no idea what to do with it.

But in the end, it is what it is. The internet has always been public domain, so people shouldn’t be surprised that they’re being spied on. It’s pretty much the same thing as walking around outside with all the surveillance cameras and facial recognition software they’re running these days, so just bite the bullet, drop your pants, and slide bare assed down the ice. :grinning:

That is a big part of what AI is about. Sifting through mountains of data to pull out useful bits.

The other one is thinking that it’s too big a problem for any individual action to make a difference. Not when billions of people have the same idea and act instead of doing nothing.

The fragmentation of degoogled phones doesn’t help. There’s not one target to point people at that fans of other ROMs wouldn’t argue against on the internet. Linux phone is getting there, but it’s got a squillion distros too.