Anecdotal Evidence and Info about Disconnecting from Big Tech Data Collection

We all are interested in privacy. What I am interested is in how your lives or experiences have changed when you have stopped using Google services or other big tech spying services?

Has your experienced improved? If so, beyond the basic privacy improvements, what is better?

From the perspective of big tech, what do you think their view of you as a subject is or how does that change?

I haven’t stopped. But Like a viagra prescription, use as needed. If not needed, put it away until later. (Or let the wife have control of it, then you’ll never use it.)

On a more serious note, basically I enjoy the less frequent targeted ads of other services.

Operationally, there are always remnant files in temp directories. I use bleachbit once a week followed by a linux update.

P.S. I don’t know why the media calls bleachbit an “expensive” piece of software. On linux it is free.


There are many views on this, and mine, too, goes to the purely anecdotal column. This writing is about browsing particularly. I’ve used various (several combined) ad and script blockers over the years while surfing the net. It became evident early on that I began to experience web differently, as I was not bombarded with ads, popups or the like. But in the old days the bigger benefit was the decreased annoyance, decreased attack vectors and especially decreased size of downloads which directly sped up surfing. The rare times I had to use someone elses device or a public terminal, I was always amazed how more bright, colorful, chaotic and less usable/readable the pages were. Although, I must add, this has gotten better over the years. But the privacy invading techniques have also evolved, beyond what the evolved blockers can prevent or obfuscate. Bleachbit is good, but scrubs only user side.

In a way - and I’m trying come to a point here - there is difference in what user is seeing and experiencing (which user can control). I’ve been able to prevent a lot of unwanted snooping and screen away most of what is aimed at me, but this does not mean that this disconnection on my end would equally prevent the other side from getting tidbits to their datapools - it’s just that I’ve been able shield myself from some (I’d like to think most) of the effects of that, if the goal was to (just) get me to see targeted ads.

I’ve stayed away from all social media, because the described method would be too troublesome and the whole system is intentionally made to strip you of your privacy by design. Not just technically, but also using clever social tools, like “gamification” (basically addiction creation and enhancement) and “weaponizing” peer pressure for example, in many forms. I think this is sadder than the tech and data gathering behind it, althought they go hand in hand. The result being, that disconnecting from those services takes a heavy price in de facto social isolation at some levels when others in social group continue on. To continue on this train of thought, I see that SMS text messaging could be considered a social media that has been stripped down of all the negative aspects mentioned (not considering lack of security of course).

So, is the question only about data collection effects or the effects on the user? From my first viewpoint, I consider my web experience being much better. On the second, the price may be heavy to some to bear. It differs and it may be the things, like social networks, outside of the web that define how to feel about it. I hope this was in the realm of the original first part of the question.

On the latter question, I don’t think BT “thinks” of me. I think people developing these are compartmentalizing, going with the flow, just following orders and everything is aimed at “the other” - someone who deserves it, preferably in another geographical location. It’s easy to paint a picture for yourself or subordinates that a service is wanted, will make money and solves some particular problem. Small incremental changes can’t be bad - and they probably aren’t by them selves. But when these are all scaled, optimized and their intended use slightly shifted, we get the nightmare we are in now. So, the question may be a bit too simple for a very complex situation. The people involved may be in a form of “Stockholm syndrome” with their socio-technical systems (including all the aspect like politics and economy) and just can’t see what they are doing. Change… will come (inevitably) but I have no idea to which direction or why - and on the same note, I doubt there will be one single direction either.

Sorry for the rambling, still forming the thought.


Thanks. Interesting feedback.

I have been mostly off of social media and only use it to promote work related stuff as I have a business. There are informative videos I browse, but we are very much at an interesting inflection point where there is starting to be good content on other streaming sites, but Youtube still dominates.

I have tried to register for Facebook and Amazon and I must be banned because I can’t register. Anytime I do my accounts are immediately shut down. Interestingly enough, while doing so, Amazon still sells one of my books.

I know that by doing this, that I do not give in to the emotional manipulation offered by social media. They are largely a propaganda tool now, unless you view only what you want/need to.

I also do not get targeted ads, strange phone calls, etc. Also, while I have not yet implemented it, based on how my next phone will be set up, a targeted attack must happen in order for that device to be tracked. I do think that people’s addiction of social media will ultimately be used against them.

The use of SM is already being weaponized and I expect that this will only get worse, until it gets better.

You note reminds of one other effect I’ve been trying to avoid. The mixing of my several interests at home and at work(s). I do not want to make one a weakness to the other (security attack wise) nor have to carry the burdens of questions that my random surfing might create to any profile(s). Context is king and that idea does not get attached to the data of what I may have been searching or browsing, the “why” behind it. So, on the “evidence” part, Ive had to have a talk at the office about boundaries and how to coordinate work to be done in a safe (privacy respecting) manner.

And skipping to a tangential path a bit, again. Advanced systems (icl. AI, algorithms but also any other complex entities) have the threat of using mis-contextualised data but also hanging on to that pretty much indefinately (no evidence to the contrary - or is there?), making it a de facto social scoring (a bad thing). When scaled, such would make it a form of coersion or manipulation or at least a preventative feature for users to change, to aspire to do new things beyond their historical or algorithmically selected paths. … This probably goes more to the “influence of BT” column (more than to the “BT intentionally wants this”).

Depends, is “BT” British or Beijing Telecom?

If we’re going down that path and excluding the title subject, I think the obvious answer is bluetooth out of context. More BT devices I’d guess, that what your BT and BT have combined, so it it’s BT - just not a company :exploding_head:

They used to be called FAANG but now MAMAA, I think. Should have used that.

Ah, I missed it. Well at least we know it isn’t BT for “Bottom of Text” at the bottom of teletype messages. Followed by eight carriage returns and line feeds then NNNN.

There have been similar threads over the years and as this is the most recent in this general topic, I think this fits, also as evidence:
A wiki of MAMA Big Tech wickedness was published (intro article)
by The Tech Oversight Project (only US centric but still a good collection - I especially liked the influence mapping visualisations)

  • I don’t think I count because I never signed up for anything with Google. Never will. But I am forced by the ass-imilated Googies to use Google -stuff-. But I power wash my desktop after I’m done.

If I compare myself to Googies, I’d say that the one big improvement over others is that I am not easily stalked, profiled, defiled and shoved into a box with many so many others Google married us up to.

From my experience with “big tech” is that we are the latest, and greatest fastest earning commodity. We buy goods and services and a portion everything we buy goes to Google and returned to us in the form of insulting, degrading, hard-sell snake-oil advertisements.
We are a means to bigger profit margins. Our Google ‘profile’ are sold to advertisers who in turn try to selll us more of what we don’t want or need.

One that is just as bad as Google, are the web sites that come with a template with preinstalled stalkers. Most wanna be site “designers” just grab a pretty template with a bevy of bells and whistles, and if they stay inside the lines drawn, they call it a professionally built site, complete with ‘apis’ better known as stalkers, or and the ‘designer’ has no idea, and their client knows even less.

Thanks to COVID I had to take work where I could find it,. so after sending out a few queries, three of us take on the task of gently removing and/or replacing stalkers with the same bell or whistle effect without the stalkers, Google included.

I find that once having talked to clients, they are gung-ho to make the switch to caring about their visitor’s right to privacy. So, I think in the long run, most businesses do care but don’t have any idea how their site can perform better without SMIRCr’s

I put that SMIRC up now and then because I think it’s high time we stopped being too polite and started calling it what it is - they are not cookies. In short, the burglar tools they use to break through our right to privacy go further than simple cookies, they STALK (follow for nefarious reasons), MONITOR (us 24/7/365), INJECT (more stalkers), RECORD (profiling), in order to CONTROL what we see, say, and do.

Government, Corporations, and Advertisers have been lying to us for years. I celebrate the end of the day by opening Google’s spy in the eye, turn of anti-stalkers, and search some silly thing such as ‘MIT application forms’, and play there for a bit, then off to ‘5 star beach front property for sale’ and take a look at the listings there while showing a interest in a few over $5m, then ask Goospy ‘why does Santa live at the North Pole’, or ‘what is a kardashian and is there a cure for it?’ . You get my drift. If everyone did that, Google won’t know what to tell the advertisers about direct marketing.

Remember though, the trackers, stalkers, smircers, peeps and pervs can only follow our devices - L5 excluded of course.

Lastly, when it comes to mobile stalkers people cart around with them, when some asks “What - you don’t have a cell?” My answer is, “No, I was never convicted.”


I could not stop using Google because of their Maps. So I went back installing the app to my new iPhone. Prior to that for over a year I was on Ubuntu Touch on compatible devices, but abandoned them, because I regularly needed to use MS Teams, Zoom and WhatsApp for work. The lack of a seamless contact synchronization with Microsoft 365 was a problem as well.

Years on I have settled with Librem 14 + Qubes OS with separate AppVM for Social Media, Personally Identifiable activities such as on-line banking and most importantly anonymous VM for activities that is separate to my real world activities. iPhone is till embedded in my hand and I can’t wait to get to replace it with Librem 5.