China; heard about China in these recent days?

The app bans and censoring websites of Chinese origin under the so called name of national security and privacy of Indian citizens?

While ironically the Government relies on American services and #BigTech giants like GAFAM

Google, Apple, Facebook (Instagram and WhatsApp), Amazon and Microsoft and they don’t face the ban hammer because of their countless privacy violations.

The Indian government has no problem with the American government spying on us. While have problems when their Chinese counterparts do, heads up both are bad for you

India does not have strong data protection laws yet, these companies often partner with the political parties or influencial companies to keep their market share.

Infact try it now a device nearby is listening for the phrases 24/7 Ok Google or hey Siri, Alexa or Cortana.

Microsoft partners with schools to trap children in using their proprietary platform and don’t show exposure to better, alternative solutions.

It goes deep down the rabbit hole having numbing effects for the use of free(freedom respecting) software and far better ecosystems often cheaper than their proprietary competition.

FACEBOOK alone earned $75Billion in the past twelve months

ending June 30, 2020, a 20.05% increase YoY in ad revenue selling your data and you seeing very relavent ads on WhatsApp and Instagram.

Guess what? you get paid nothing and this is status quo and the standard to emulate.

This is just FACEBOOK, 1 out of the big 5 tech companies. More the people in their platform, more customers to sell ads to and they intern bring more profit. Nowadays every message sent is through Facebook. Don’t get it? I mean via WhatsApp and Instagram. Which have backdoors in them, because they’re American [PRISM] project and are non free. (Proprietary)

Data IsTheNewOil

The price of petrol topptheired 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. Edward Snowden a whistleblower exposed this 2013. Even though you may live in India the companies you sign up for are under American Jurisdiction or partner with the 5 eyes surveillance states.

A really lucky ecosystem for companies and governments as they push to colonizes every budding internet market including India we will lose our digital-sovereignty.

India is indirectly under American and Chinese surveillance programs depending on what apps and hardware you buy.

The majority of people don’t bother to switch from proprietary spyware shipped by default on our laptops and phones and continue to use user subjugating operating systems.. Just pause.. your Laptop ships with Windows or MacOS and belongs to Apple and Microsoft not you. You just rent it from them. Even after you pay for the hardware.

They control everything, you loose your freedom because they run nonfree software. Designed to keep the developers in charge of the very computer you think you own.

Explaining the importance of privacy is like explaining climate change

except that it’s not nature who’s suffering it will be you. You reap 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.

What about China?

Test it out now 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 / suppressed.

We’re seeing this in Hong Kong and recently ~ Belarus, 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 to exploit.

Stay away from non free software

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. Don’t prioritize Google, if you do, use their tools which are free/libre so it can be tweaked to not spy on you

  • Switch to privacy focused messaging apps like Element (Matrix), Telegram and Signal and use them for ]different purposes each](/blog/messengers) (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 over Google Chrome.

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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

Why do we have a lock screen or password on our Phones. Why do we have locks in our houses why not let anyone look and hear what we do in our homes. Curtains in our rooms.

Privacy is an integral instinct we developed through out generations and is as ever as important today than ever before.