Are we wrong about Apple, Google & Facebook privacy?



Do not understate your contribution, no matter how small you feel it is; it matters to those that are working on that project.


The big problems I see are:

The us vs them mentality (this does more harm than good every time it comes up)

Thinking that my lone actions don’t matter because more people are already acting another way (your actions affect more than just you and change can only happen if someone actually does something even if it’s a small slow start)

Being in the minority is not a bad thing (sometimes your opinion won’t align with the majority and that’s ok. If new, to a person/people, information causes that person/people to change their opinion and you become a part of the new majority, great; if new, to you, information causes you to change your opinion, that’s fine too) opinions changing with new information is not a bad thing.


I somehow hope the PureOS Store will at some point have, in addition to a pay-what-you-want model like elementary, a way to easily donate to certain projects especially those that are not necessariliy in the spotlight, but very important (like the Software Freedom Conservancy).
Maybe it can somehow indicate how much funding each might need.
And, more importantly, how much the whole PureOS community has given.

This has several effects.

  • it gives visibility to the projects
  • makes donation easy and without the need to care for 20 different payment systems
  • removes the “but I’m just one, I can’t do anything really” problem
  • gives a sense of “we did this together”


it’s not a question of money alone that i feel is the MOST important aspect but HOW they are used - and here also lies the trap of bureaucracy.

for instance software development happens on hardware. do we want hardware to be free as much as software or do we hit the same PATENT road-block as most of the industry ? or maybe it’s not a road-block but more of a REFORM needed … (shorter government protection, etc)

the biggest issue is not contribution imo but indecision followed by poverty (mostly spiritual followed by material).


I think the article misses the bigger picture (not that I’m an expert in the subject).

While I do believe there are good people with good intentions running the big companies (MS, Google, Apple, etc), it is also in their best interest to come across as privacy-friendly, especially in light of the privacy atrocities revealed over the past few years.
There’s a reason Google and Facebook have been hit with billion-dollar fines.
How come the NSA had total access to plain-text emails to people’s gmail accounts many, many years ago?
How come Facebook’s privacy violations keep coming out, and they never address the problem directly?

Consider for example the picture in the article about an ad from Apple: “What happens in your iPhone stays in your iPhone.” Sure, iOS and Android are secure probably don’t have any backdoors, but they control the app marketplace. They claim to scan every smartphone app to make sure its safe, yet they are full of privacy-violating trackers.
Don’t think apps violently violate privacy? Download one of the top, free, popular games on Android and scan it with an app like “Lumen”. Actually, let me do that for you now and post a picture in the next post.

Google and Apple are claiming responsibility for apps in those marketplaces to conform to their rules, and their rules allow for these blatant privacy violations. That’s why I now try to solely use open-source apps, and what I get from the regular marketplace I scan for trackers and block them.


I agree, their existence is not inherently an issue, but as the old saying goes… absolute power corrupts absolutely. When knowledge is power, and such organizations have access to almost all of the personal information there is to be had, they will always turn rotten given time.

This is why my solution is to simply not feed them, including not participating in any social media. Even a “good” social media platform that respects you, doesn’t censor, etc. can be used against you, as posts are public. A data hoover can still crawl the network, suck up data on you, and use it against you in other ways.


Ex FOSDEM co-organiser here. I noticed they got mentioned as well for allowing companies such as Google etc. to sponsor them.

Can’t speak about the rest of the projects mentioned in that post, but I very much expect their situation to be similar to that of FOSDEM: organising such events, or writing all that software, costs money. Especially if you’re giving it away for free. That money has to come from somewhere. And as long as the organisation doing the donation does stuff related to your field (and all those organisations contribute to the FOSS community, with code), and as long as they don’t interfere with whatever internal processes the receiving organisation has in place, their money is just as good and just as welcome. In fact, you should rejoice! We’re taking the enemy’s money and using it for our own purposes, while giving very little in return!

For example: you know what sponsorship at FOSDEM gets you? Your logo on the booklet, projected on the screen during the opening and closing talks, and I think that’s about it. Stands are negotiated separately from sponsorship; sponsors don’t enjoy preferential treatment (different team handles that). There’s also a job corner that’s open to anyone. So they’re free to use that, but so is everyone else. As a matter of fact, I was always surprised that those companies kept forking over money, given what little they got in return.

It’s easy to be all zealous about FOSS and take moral stands such as “we should not accept money from evil organisations, regardless of the circumstances” when you’re a student and mommy and daddy are paying your bills, or when your job title is “Welfare Recipient”. It’s a lot harder to justify this attitude when you got a mortgage, bills to pay, and are unsure about your prospects as a breatharian.

So yeah, is it ideal? Of course not. But let’s be realistic for a second: all that free stuff you enjoy today would not be possible without for-profit organisations injecting some of their surplus cash into the FOSS ecosystem. There simply aren’t enough decent unemployed software developers with too much time on their hands ready and willing to donate all their free time to the FOSS community.


That’s a great comment. :clap:


is this supposed to be the excuse for imoral behavior ? what does this have to do with freedom ? free-software is not about free-beer.

let’s look at Purism - should we judge them based on the fact that they are using GNU/Linux/Debian as a starting point for their business. they didn’t create it all from scratch so why should they get to be overpriced ?

they get to be overpriced BECAUSE they respect users freedom and they ARE forgiven for NOT having done it all from scratch like many proprietary software have in the past. does that mean they haven’t contributed at all ? no quite the opposite. it’s just that the majority of the tools they use in order to create and improve this free-ecosystem have already been created/tested.


Nice try, but we both know that’s not what I was talking about at all, and you’re pulling choice quotes out of context. So no, I’m not going to engage.


you should know because you used the same trick above only no one faulted you for it.


Thank you all for adding your thoughts to this post. I have read all of them they made me smile, in part, because the future you all see, will make the past control irrelevant.

Synergy is a marvelous thing, especially when you don’t see it coming.



another one popped up >


Everyone can free time to follow a small list of instructions necessary to install GNU/Linux. People just do not want to because they prefer convenience over privacy. Such people cannot be granted privacy because there will always be privacy predators willing to grant convenience for privacy.

Besides his analogy is faulty. Mechanics repair cars, but in order to install an operating system you do not have to repair anything. What you need to do is operate your computer and the installation software. And what do we call someone who operates a car? So really he should be saying that those brain surgeons do not have the time to be a driver. But they probably are drivers since they probably do have their driver’s license. So I guess the reason why he confuses operating a computer with repairing it is that otherwise his argument is more obviously flawed.


I regard installing Linux as “repairing something”. :slight_smile:


I agree with you but I still think it is much easier than replacing an engine and does not require an IT professional.


haha. so good ! though the repairing part is the gnu only with the linux-libre kernel - the normal linux kernel ADMITS proprietary software (drivers/firmware) most of the time.


change the engine of the car. Just read the manuals, get yourself a crane etc. pp… Just because you think one is easier than the other, does not necessarily mean your construction-worker uncle (who always asks you for help when an app acts up) agrees with you.
Just try that “everyone” with your elderly people and wait for them to ask you what the instructions mean by “rooting” and “flashing”, and whether this procedure involves a thunderstorm.
“No, but some devices can be flashed via Thunderbolt”, you reply calmly.

But if you insist that an engine is truly more complicated to switch for “everyone”, independent of personal experience, how about… switching tires.
I know how to do it, I did it. My mother on the other hand never did it, and I guess she would be uncomfortable, fearing the car falls of the lifting jack, basically bricking it.

Recently I stopped switching the tires myself. Reasons include convenience, but also that my car manufacturer

  • decided to ship the car without a lifting jack (am I actually owning this car?)
  • conveniently “forgot” to have designated pads on the bottom of the carriage where the lifting jack is supposed to be mounted

And because I’m “everybody”, I have access to a forklift, so that’s what I used a few times, but it’s a bit terrifying and you wonder if saving a few bucks is worth jeopardizing the car in such a way.

Certainly, my whole family would be way more comfortable to change the tires on a car that makes it unnecessarily hard, than to install an OS on any device.


I agree that making privacy more convenient is a good thing but in the end there is a lot to be gained by infringing on people’s privacy and therefore there will always be people who offer us convenience for our privacy. So people who value convenience over privacy will never have privacy because they will keep accepting those offers and we cannot make those offers go away. There needs to be a change in people’s mindset as well because privacy will always have a cost of some sort.


yes but it’s very different when you know EXACTLY what that cost is and WHO you pay it to … i think that we can all agree that homework coupled with a good teacher is the best possible way to have an acceptable sustainable cost to freedom.