The privacy INVADING Giants

Many years ago some website developers began with the disturbing modality of requiring too much personal information from the user to deliver content. Usually, when I encountered such sites I simply skipped them and went elsewhere for the information. You have no control over what they do with your information. Add to that the risk for you if their sites get hacked and this information ends up in the hands of people with bad intentions.

Then came Google with their Android operating System. Android is based on the Linux operating system which never required any information from the user other than a username and a password. Google’s Android however, is hungry about personal information, if you don’t tie an email with your whole profile and a personal phone number you can’t do anything.

With Android on your phone, and therefore a GMail account tied to it, most users are at the mercy of the giant that collects a lot of private information to resell and invade your privacy. Not to mention that unless you take actions to configure it tightly, it will track all your searches and wherever you go on the Internet. Even with the GMail account privacy settings to the maximum and location services disabled, a Google account will always be tracking you whether you want it or not. How do you think Google Maps can make such accurate real-time traffic maps?

And then came Microsoft with the same disturbing trend. Unless you are skilled in technology (and most people are not!) you will be forced to create your PERSONAL computer’s login tied to a Microsoft account. This Microsoft account, just like Google’s, is hungry about personal information that they use for their own enrichment.

In using Windows 10 for example, how many times have you been confronted with a suggestive pop up that unless you configure an online Microsoft account they won’t be able to provide you a valuable and almost life-giving service? To me it really looks as if they put a gun to the head of the end user and tell them “if you don’t give me your personal information I will shoot you” or in softer terms to deceive the end user “We will not not able to provide you with X or Y service or feature”. That means they collect all sort of information. If you share your computer and it is configured with an online account, whatever they do on the Internet will be associated to your account. Would you want that? When installing Windows 10 you will encounter that “mild threat” situation often. If you are not technically inclined you certainly fall in the trap and will be at their mercy.

Most disturbing is the amount of software applications being developed with the same modus  operandi. Your information is stored in their servers on their cloud at the mercy of every hacker in the world. With local account you are responsible for the safekeeping of your data.

When you come to think of it, you have to agree to give out all your present and future information for free, but are they giving you the operating system for free? No! you have to pay dearly for it.

We advise that you, as an end-user, retake ownership of your information and revise all the privacy-related settings of your operating system (mobile and desktop) and disable anything that gives them any of your data. Android is not free, it is paid as part of your mobile phone and the same goes for Windows. If you are in doubt about a feature that requires this privacy invasion, then we advise disabling it.