I have to note first that the few lone voices trying to warn against the dangers of technology did not start in early 2017, I was one of them and like many others was a computer industry veteran. We were fully aware of the potential for abusing the web’s information gathering and filtering capabilities even before some bright spark came up with the cutesy-pie handle, The Web.
Before that, the talk had been of “The Information Superhighway” which is a clumsy phrase, sounds quite threatening and does not slip off the tongue easily.
Anyway there we were, yelling into the abyss, saying “Yeah, this could be great but it needs to be regulated with a light touch. One of the things that came up again and again was the topic of email spam. Easy enough to say “OK, every ISP account needs a cap on how many emails per day can be sent, 200, 500, something like that, (professional spammers sent hundreds of thousands, with a clickthrough rate of perhaps 1 in 50,000).
“ARRRGGGGHHHH no you cant do that, it’s restricting internet freedom,” yelled the Silicon Valley weirdie beardies — meaning you’re restricting our freedom to restrict other people’s freedom.
Unfortunately the weirdie beardies had hired good PR people and lobbyists, thus they had the ear of politicians and senior bureaucrats in the way that public opinion never can. And so such regulations as were put in place tended to further the aims of the sociopaths who controlled the tech startups but did nothing to halt abuses of the internet.
As Arinanna says, more people are starting to wake up to scams like the new, must have Z-phone 666 being exactly the same as the former must have, the Z-phone 665, only with a few extra widgets and a slightly modified layout fot the sign — on screen. and more people are starting to wake up to the violations of personal privacy and its implications.
What can you do to help bring about change? Well OK, switching to Linux is a step too far for most people, but you can use a different search engine to Google, I find DuckDuckGo and Startpage good and neither tracks users. Avoid Google as much as possible, if you have a YouTube account you are probably stuck with it, but there are good alternatives to G-mail and other Google services.
Explore your browser, it probably has privacy settings most users are not aware of. Set your options to delete cookies on startup. There’s nothing wrong with most cookies, they are harmless and merely track your movements around an website which to my mind is legitimate. But some cookies are very sinister and those are the ones you ned to get rid of, expecially the Facebook ones. Did you know that Facebook tracks people who don’t have a Facebook account and have never been on Facebook. If you have merely visited a web page that has a Facebook ‘like’ button , Zuckerbugger has got you in the crosshairs. Lose those cookies.