I just finished reading a post at Activist Post by Philip Schneider, a well known liberty activist. In it, Mr. Schneider provides us with actions we can take to help end the privacy and liberty destroying juggernaut bearing down on us, in the form of the out of control private technology sector in symbiosis with the bloated and out of control Federal bureaucracy, otherwise known as the Deep State. Simple concepts, really, such as being careful of what products we buy and from whom we buy them. Very sound advice, which I practice as much as I can. There's nothing I can do at the moment about my electronics, since our domestic industry was destroyed while I was still a child. My computer is mostly from China, like it not, a situation which isn't likely to change in the near term. I read food labels, and regularly excoriate companies by phone and keyboard for using GMO's and pesticides whenever I have time. I make a point of hammering my legislators regularly on the need to curtail 5G and wireless in general until proper safety studies have been done, I do not have WIFI in our home, and I gently lobby friends and family all the time. However, when it comes to his advice to avoid using the services of privacy and liberty abusing big tech companies such as Alphabet/Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc., we run into a real problem.
Mr. Schneider points out that avoiding these companies and their products is difficult. No, it isn't difficult. It's absolutely impossible. I use the Brave browser because of its robust privacy protections. As I read Mr. Schneider's article asking me to avoid using Google and Facebook, Brave was busy blocking no fewer than twenty two cross site tracking cookies and plug ins being served from the Activist Post website, most of them from Google and Facebook. At Mr. Schneider's website, it blocked trackers from Facebook. Mr. Schneider probably has little control over this, as his site is hosted at Wordpress. I have the same problem here at Weebly. I've gotten rid of Facebook, but Google's Ad Sense software is here, quietly watching you from Weebly's servers on Weebly's behalf, and there is nothing I can do about it short of moving my entire website, which isn't a practical option at the moment. Add to this technologies such as web beacons, Evercookie and various fingerprinting techniques, nevermind technologies that are still hidden behind the National Security veil, and I think it's safe to say that we are losing the privacy arms race. Changing our habits online and using solutions such as browser plug ins helps a tiny bit, but in the end we'll need social and legal solutions with teeth in them.
For one thing, it's time that website owners collectively pull our heads out and, as much as we're able, stop using the services of companies that make violating visitors' privacy part of their business model. There are limits to that, of course, as the web hosting companies we all must use have their own bottom line to think about, and their own agendas. Ultimately, what is called for is a strong legal solution. We all need to start putting a lot more pressure on our Congress Creatures to get their spines out of the closet, dust them off, and start enforcing anti-trust law. Break up a few of these big companies (Google comes immediately to mind), and the others will hopefully get the message. Since data is the new gold, and irresistible to governments and Big Corp alike, another perhaps more effective option to explore would be laws clearly placing ownership of any personal data in the hands of the individual to which it pertains. With ownership of our data returned to us, we would then have the legal tools to force data aggregators to give us full access to what they're collecting, and pay us our fair share of the fantastic profits they are realizing from turning our private lives into a commodity. That would certainly cool the data mining market's jets a bit.
I've been writing my letters, and making my phone calls, but being a gadfly only works if you're part of a swarm. It's going to take all of us.
I am, and have always been, unafraid to voice my opinions. In fact I believe everyone needs to vent now and then, and we all have a God given right to do so. I despise willful ignorance and intellectual dishonesty, and take a perhaps perverse pleasure in puncturing the politically correct proclamations of those who have anointed themselves as our betters. I could be described as a contrarian and a bit of a curmudgeon, having now reached an age at which those labels no longer sound odd. Not everything I'll address here will be controversial. In fact, I would rather keep that sort of thing somewhat limited (and it should surprise no one that I probably won't succeed in doing so). We already have our fill of whining talking heads on the 'net. However, if you are easily offended or thin skinned, you might want to skip this blog. You have been warned.