You might not know it, but on nearly every website you visit – code is running in the background to track your every move around the Internet.
Facebook & Google are amongst the worst offenders, and through the Facebook tracking pixel, like & share buttons and Google Analytics code used by many websites – your data and the data of billions of Internet users is fed back to these companies.
But these services are free, and work great…and what’s the alternative anyway?
Theres a saying:
If you are not paying for it – you’re not the customer, you are the product being sold.
This tracking is not just about learning more about your interests and shopping habits so that you can be advertised to in the interest you buy more (although this is a big part), these companies have built detailed personal profiles on billions of people, and every website that includes these scripts are feeding every mouse-click and minute detail about you and everyone you know, into computers that will store this data forever. Waiting for hackers or AI overlords to use this data for their villanous purposes.
These companies know us better than we know ourselves.
You are the product.
We’ve watched the Terminator and The Matrix…we know this does not end well.
What can we do? while it might feel like farting into the wind, if enough people do these things it will make a difference
- Use a privacy respecting search engine (Duckduckgo, Startpage & others)
- Use privacy respecting online services – here is a great list: https://github.com/nikitavoloboev/privacy-respecting
- If you run a website, don’t use Facebook pixels, or Google Analytics. Use self-hosted analytics like Matomo
- Use an Ad-blocker in your web browser that also blocks tracking cookies – like Ublockorigin https://ublockorigin.com/
- Use a privacy respecting web browser – Like Firefox, Brave or Safari (not Chrome)
- Encourage your friends & family to use Signal or Element instead of WhatsApp (this is going to be a tough one)
- Use Mastodon instead of Facebook / Twitter
- Use Linux (like Ubuntu, Debian or PopOS)
- Use disposable email addresses to sign up for online services
- Learn how to make strong passwords, and use a password manager on your devices