Are we wrong about Apple, Google & Facebook privacy?


I came across this post and was shocked at how on point it is, enjoy.


Firefox defends your privacy. That’s why its default search engine is Google.

Yeah very on point.
Except the reason that Mozilla uses Google as a default search engine is pure monetary:

You can dismiss anything that blogger says, it’s pure bs.


Pure BS? The post is clearly thinly veiled sarcasm. The fact remains that using any Google service compromises individual privacy regardless of why it is being used. That means that Mozilla is content to compromise the privacy of hundreds of millions of users just to make a buck.

I’d say that’s shameful at best.


I agree, it reads to me more like sarcasm. With respect, I must say that a person aware of recent events could not read this post and honestly think “I was wrong about big tech” without being completely naive.


It’s an excellent article. Some weeks ago I had started following “The Privacy Project” on Twitter because it seemed to be good content. Like Aral, I was shocked when I realized this whole thing is just a whitewashing honeypot of surveillance capitalism.

On Mozilla, I’m a bit torn. They are victim and perpetrator at the same time.
On the one hand, I don’t donate to them, because I know they did some shady stuff, on the other hand I realize that not donating makes them even more dependent on Google.
But a company that can, themselves, donate half a million dollars to other organizations, including ones that are very political (search “mozilla funding antifa”) also does not give the impression it needs my donations…

Both, Chrome and Firefox devs are reasonable guys and not enemies with each other, and officially, the management of both companies are also allies. But while feeding Mozilla, Google also did some mean tricks along the lines of “oops, our benchmark does not work with Firefox for no apparent reasons, AGAIN? oops… sorry… fixing it…” (sorry, don’t remember where I picked that up recently, I think it was a video on the browser monoculture of Chrome we’re heading towards.)
That is the victim part.

The other side is that Mozilla did not actively fight to prevent DRM as a browser standard in the W3C, and they had a little privacy blow-up by integrating Cliqz without asking users for permission.

@jaylittle, @dc3p, you’ll not often see me defend @s3ns0r, but I’m pretty sure he picked the sarcasm there. He just has… convictions :wink:

Aral also has strong convictions, such as F*** you Google, NYTimes & Privacy Project, F*** you WhatsApp and Just-install-Linux does not work for the masses, all of which are in perfect alignment with Purism.


Not to overstate it though … it will take you all of about 5 seconds to change the search provider that is associated with the search box. It’s not like they make it difficult e.g. it’s not like you have to use about:config to change it (or on Windows via some obscure registry setting that you have to add the key for :slight_smile: ).


I think the word you are all looking for is ‘satire’, not sarcasm… and in that regard I agree it’s a great satirical article [but pure BS if taken as fact].

In the article he’s pointing out the hypocrisy of Mozilla, Apple, FSF, et al as they, for example, compromise people’s privacy by pushing Google in order to monetize it, whilst simultaneously pushing a privacy agenda.

I agree with Aral’s assertion that they (Apple, Mozilla, FSF) should forego their associations with, and revenues from Google, etc., and truly stand by their convictions of putting privacy above everything else [especially revenue/profit] if they want us to believe them.


I agree, I think that was the point of the article. We must look beyond the simple monetization of data, and on to what more sinister things it could (and already is in some cases) being used for. Re: China and “social credit” (most extreme, but Google is helping to build it), Facebook unpersoning people, Twitter, YouTube, PayPal, Chase Bank bans, Apple’s censoring of podcasts and apps, etc.

In reality, Apple is no better than Google or any of the other big players. Sure, the info “stays on your iPhone”, and most people fall for that, but only stays there until you turn on iCloud. Messages in the cloud, photos in the cloud, documents in the cloud, contacts in the cloud, etc. etc. The server can pull that data as easily as the phone can push it. Even if you avoid iCloud all together and take very great care with what you do with the thing otherwise, because it is closed, who can say how secure it really is. As for iCloud itself, it is encrypted, but Apple has the keys. They have handed data over before.

Back to China as an example: there is a data center for Chinese iCloud accounts that has built-in government access to the data, as required to continue doing business in the country by their government. Apple capitulated to that, rather than standing by their principles. It can, and I believe eventually will, happen here. This is already the case in the US for Google services.


Speaking of Aral Balkan, he was recently interviewed (along with Laura Kalbag) for PCMag -


No. (In response to the title)


Perfectly concise :slight_smile:


the most scary thing happens when prominent Orthodox seminar schools use Google online “services” for education purposes of young-adults.

I mean you would understand the confusion and obscurity in pagan-technology-users but it is significantly harder to understand HOW the director of a Christian school would openly praise such online services and asociate them with the INTERNET itself on the OFFICIAL radio channel of the Church at peak audience hours and a PRIEST moderator agrees with such practices.


I think the most significant part in that post is the second part of the title; so say we all.

We. All.

How do we all, as users or more, contribute to these circumstances or otherwise allow these circumstances to be present? What can we do - or what needs to be done - so that this is not the case?


I totally agree with this guy.


I think part of this all spawned from so many jumping in with both feet early-on, coming to rely on the services for daily life, be it work or education. Some of it is simply convenience that is required for today’s face-paced life. There aren’t many alternatives to Google. While there are some, they aren’t something the average bear can use because it doesn’t just work.

So, what can we do? All we can do is to move away from the services. We have to stop feeding the monsters. Even then, they are so big at this point, I do not see them ever going away. Facebook and Google were founded with government money via In-Q-Tel, Amazon has big government contracts, etc.

If you are capable of using FOSS privacy-respecting alternatives, willing to invest the time and effort into learning about them, etc. More power to you.

I say, people got on fine for a long time without being connected all the time, and that is the route I took for myself.


I think the knowing part is really a big deal.
And also the many-things-under-one-umbrella part.

Like with LibremOne.
Or Framasoft.

And now they have a crowdfunder to get event-planning off of facebook.


you are mostly right except “they” are starting to get to us with-this-beeing-online-makes-you-a-target-crap. beeing online is not the problem here because the internet was founded on principles of cooperation and good will among scientists and generally the brightest minds. the problem started with DARPA and later developed gradually into this mess we are now ALL in.

the internet is not the problem. quite the oposite i think it is the best self-discovery tool man has ever achieved besides fasting and meditation.

the problem is that we let the bullies win simply because we play the game with “their” rules. now a game played like that can only end one way. to win you have to build your own rules on top of theirs (something like what RMS started with his GNU project and the FSF movement)

the problem is legislation and the way people can hold those in power accountable for what they do (what is the point of having laws if you can’t enforce them ?) - this applies to the big G as well as M and A and all the BIG TECHS out there. the problem is NOT their existance but their WAY of conducting business.

if you are fed soda from a young age when you grow up you spit mountain water for not tasting the way you are used to. same in our case.


His sarcastic critique is correct, unfortunately with things like Gnome the problem is funding. How many of us actually fund the projects we use? And if we do donate, those few dollars don’t go very far. Hopefully they are temporary deals with the devil until a better solution can arise. Windows for example costs between $200-$300 dollars plus the cost of any software to make it usable. Can we as FOSS users pledge to add up the cost of all our software as if it was closed source and promise to donate that much each year to FOSS projects? It sounds nice, but I doubt many would take that pledge.


I do. Can’t speak for others.

On the contrary, they go a long way. Don’t look what others do. I you feel a donation is in order - do donate whatever you can spare.


I try to do my best, but with so many projects I wonder how far those donations go. If the blogger is correct about the billions google may spend to get their hooks into software, I just can’t picture we as a community could ever match that investment. So I think it’s an unfortunate reality that those hooks will, for the forseeable future, always be there. I think the only way to fight back is to help educate users outside our communities and provide technical assistance, because I found informing people just isn’t enough when they feel it’s too complicated to switch.