17 votes

An introduction to privacy and security - Part II

You may have missed part I which is, specifically, meant for those living in the United States.

Most of us are aware of targeted advertisements in which companies (Facebook, Google, Amazon, and countless others) use web cookies and other tracking mechanisms to collect information from your computer, network, and browsing activities in order to display relevant ads to you. In fact, there are hundreds of companies collecting, selling, and reselling your data. This data is stored in, potentially, thousands of databases throughout the world. Most of these companies are acting in ‘good faith’ and may not be involved in any illegal activities. Even so, there are many people who think this is creepy or borders on the edge of unethical practice. Read more.

What happens when these databases are breached by hackers and end up on the dark web?

Imagine that information in the hands of a boss who wants to lower your wages, a political opponent, a business competitor, a disgruntled neighbor, or a criminal.

There are a growing number of people who are abandoning sites such as Facebook and Google because they are deeply concerned about their privacy. Journalist Kashmir Hill wrote an entertaining multi-part series, Goodbye Big Five, in which she chronicled her efforts to discontinue using Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Apple.

6 comments

  1. [2]
    retiredrugger Link
    Thank you for listing Part 1 as well, I went to set up a my Social Security account and it looks like my identity may have already been stolen. I'm on the phone now to figure out what to do, but I...

    Thank you for listing Part 1 as well, I went to set up a my Social Security account and it looks like my identity may have already been stolen. I'm on the phone now to figure out what to do, but I greatly appreciate simply knowing of this now!

    6 votes
    1. suspended Link Parent
      You're welcome and I hope that you get everything resolved.

      You're welcome and I hope that you get everything resolved.

      5 votes
  2. Grand0rbiter Link
    Thanks. Goodbye Big Five was a great read.

    Thanks. Goodbye Big Five was a great read.

    2 votes
  3. [3]
    Gully_Foyles (edited ) Link
    I liked your last post in particular, but that Goodbye Big Five article was a little overdone. If you're really worried about privacy, you don't have to down-grade to a dumb-phone. The government...

    I liked your last post in particular, but that Goodbye Big Five article was a little overdone. If you're really worried about privacy, you don't have to down-grade to a dumb-phone. The government could still track you if they wanted to. Just flash a custom ROM to an Android phone that has been vetted by privacy experts and you're good to go.

    And the whole audio file sharing thing was ridiculous. If you're really worried, encrypt the file and host it through a file hosting site or make a torrent for it. Honestly, just watching something like Mr. Robot and implementing some of his privacy techniques way more practical and effective.

    I'm probably reading too much into the article; it does communicate well that internet services and tech in general has consolidated around the Big Five. But we had Microsoft and Oracle before that. Fact of the matter is, technology in general centralizes around the cheapest and most efficient means and providers, and the Big Five provider that right now.

    1. suspended Link Parent
      You make some good points. However, this series of posts is aimed to introduce the subject of personal privacy and security. The 'big five' (and many others) do not care about people.

      You make some good points. However, this series of posts is aimed to introduce the subject of personal privacy and security.

      The 'big five' (and many others) do not care about people.

      2 votes
    2. Grand0rbiter (edited ) Link Parent
      I think it was the main point. How one would survive if you started boycotting them. You can flash a custom ROM to an Android phone, but it's still Android under the hood and it's still owned by...

      I liked your last post in particular, but that Goodbye Big Five article was a little overdone.

      I think it was the main point. How one would survive if you started boycotting them. You can flash a custom ROM to an Android phone, but it's still Android under the hood and it's still owned by google.

      I don't think the article was made so people could follow, it's not practical. It is about the "silent" monopolies that exists today that we don't even notice.

      2 votes