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Tech Advice

We've allowed tech to creep into our everyday lives at the expense of our privacy. Time to take our privacy back.

Tech Today

Tech today has grown out of control in the sense we've allowed it to enter and monitor every aspect of our lives. In an interview with Edward Snowden, NSA whistleblower, he said our phones are tracking us constantly whether we want to or not. That even if we turn settings that says not to track us, it's still possible for tracking to happen. This page will offer a rough guide on how to mitigate this risk, but you may not like the conveniences you'll have to sacrifice to obtain some semblence of privacy.

How am I being tracked?

If you use social media, you're being tracked. Every like, dislike, comment, post, purchase, click, builds a personal profile on you that's shared with advertisers and the government on demand. In the latter, one could argue, "But they were trespassing" and they can be subpoena'd. However, they weren't subpoena'd by a court, BoA offered banking information of hundreds of their customers to the feds for investigation. Hundreds of people that may not have done anything criminal except be near the capitol that day had their personal data handed over without their consent. Anything that could be stored and tracked should be assumed that it is stored and tracked. If the potential is there, someone will ill intentions will take advantage of it.

Okay, how do I stop being tracked?

Unplug yourself. All major social media needs to be deleted. Start deleting one by one over time if you find it too difficult to do it all at once. During this process you may realize you have an addiction. I know I did. The benefits far outweigh the costs. More time for yourself and self improvement. Connecting with other people in more meaningful ways, whether in person or simply giving them a call. Less time staring at your phone in general helps your eyes, back, and neck. If you still have a social media fix, try Gab. They are unabashidly free speech and pro privacy with a subscription/donation based business model so they don't need lucrative targeted ads to spy on you. For video platforms, trying LBRY or Odysee, Odysee being the web application of LBRY. There's more out there, but there's your start. It's the easiest thing to do. Delete social media. Breaking the addiction is the hard part.

Social media is gone, now what?

Surf the internet more securely. Two browsers come to my mind: Brave browser and TOR or The Onion Router. Brave browser is based off chrome with the harmful tracking cut off. It's the closest thing to a "typical browser" while keeping privacy in mind. By default it blocks third party ads and cookies. You can have it set to block all as well. TOR is based of firefox and by default is the most secure by not only blocking every ad and cookie it can, but also sets you up behind layers of other shared routers so that no website can know where you came from in the TOR network. Brave has a setting to also use TOR as well, but some sites blocks TOR because they can't track you. I have both and use TOR primarily and Brave for websites I can't access with TOR. So, you stop using websites that you willingly give your info and using browsers that give your info unwillingly. Am I protected yet? Not quite.

Am I going to have to overhaul my whole computer now too?

Yes. Ditch Microsoft and Apple. By that I mean, Windows and Mac. These Operating Systems that your computer runs on are supported by mega corporations focused on forcibly injecting you, buying farmland for some reason, and censoring unfavorable opinions. Stop supporting big tech is a central theme, but what can you do? All of the stores sell Windows or Macs. There's a third option luckily called Linux, but it requires a bit of work. It's worth it because it's free and open source. Whenever you here something is free, by default beware. "If a product is free, you're the product." This is not the case for Linux because it's open source, which means an entire community of people like you or me develop it. Any changes not approved by the community is not made. The people in these communities are very much for an open and free internet with individual privacy. The most popular Linux distributions are Ubuntu and Debian. Ubuntu is "mostly" open source with some privately managed parts. However, it's very user friendly and has a large based of users that maintain the open source parts and trust it. Debian is completely open source and free with an even larger community, but is less user friendly. Installing these Operating Systems over windows involve burning the install .iso file onto a disc and in the setup of Ubuntu or Debian, wiping the drive clean and starting new. Yes, you can save your data and put on on Ubuntu or Debian as well. Once you have your base set, you'll be free from big tech and mass tracking other than finding a good Internet Service Provider (ISP)...unfortunately, there aren't any.

What's open source?

Other than that, find open source apps to use instead of anything backed by big tech. Why? You might ask. Simple because you can't trust big tech. You're the product they sell. Open source? Doesn't that mean anyone can make changes? How is that more secure? Because it takes a consensus of a community with open internet and data privacy at their core because the people making changes are beholden to corporate interests, but their own. Their own interest is freedom and privacy, like anyone else. So this community gets to work building their programs and apps, and if they notice anything fishy, they'll be first to alert anyone and everyone. Always look for open source alternatives to what you do and be sure to research them well. Open Office or Libre Office are great alternatives to Microsoft Office, for instance. So in conclusion, decentralized apps supported by the people always have good results, which leads me into the next great tech invention: bitcoin.

Bitcoin? That's a made up internet ponzi scheme!

Bitcoin has the same value as the US dollar: the value the people trading it give it. US dollar hasn't been backed by gold since 1971 that caused a whole host of negative effects. Plus, the amount of money printing going on is insane. Anyone with a base of knowledge in economics knows that printing more money causes inflation. That's what the federal reserve has been doing by design for over a century. Here's a snappy animation to give you a quick rundown. Bitcoin is completely decentralized and controlled "printing". Only so much can be made at once and only 21,000,000 bitcoins will ever be made, no more. Bitcoin can never experience inflation.