Home/Tag: privacy

The internet is for tracking.

One of the things I think most people don’t realize is that the internet—like, the whole thing, and the base technologies it runs on—are a giant tracking machine. Whether or not individual websites monetize (or exploit, or both) that is one thing, but the fact is that every time you load any resource (an image, say, or a font or script or video or, or, or…) from any website, you leave that website with a record of it.

It’s hard to even grasp the scale of this, until you, for example, read the lengths to which Feedbin had to go to to try and avoid it…

2018-09-20T11:56:22+10:005th March, 2019|Tags: internet, privacy, tech|

The GDPR works.

Tl;dr, the introduction of the GDPR has, in fact, caused European websites to reduce the amount of spyware on their websites.

2019-04-29T12:06:42+10:0011th February, 2019|Tags: privacy, tech|

The decentralised web.

Interesting interview with Eugen Rochko, a.k.a. Gargron the creator of Mastodon, on the growing resurgence of the decentralised, federated web.

2019-01-13T11:41:56+11:0013th January, 2019|Tags: mastodon, privacy, social media, tech|

Facebook is still garbage.

This seems… not particularly great. Even by Facebook standards.

Ironically, I finally deleted both Facebook and Messenger off my phone last night (I never use them, but still had the apps) and ahahaha I do not regret my life choices!

2018-12-19T15:35:52+11:0019th December, 2018|Tags: facebook, privacy, social media|

The bubble.

Will the GDPR spell the end of targeted advertising (and, by association, the commercial surveillance industry)? Eeeh… look. I’m dubious, but… one can only hope, I suppose.

2018-05-21T14:10:58+10:0020th November, 2018|Tags: advertising, privacy, tech|

Shadow profile.

More on the data broker business, including some frankly quite terrifying infographics.

The point here is that, a) pretty much all businesses are complicit in this practice, and b) it’s impossible to opt-out on an individual level. This stuff needs to be regulated. There’s no other way of dealing with it.

2019-01-17T08:35:18+11:0025th October, 2018|Tags: privacy, tech|


It’s interesting to ponder the ways in which privacy can be a privilege only for the wealthy. Not everyone can afford an army of hired goons and corporate secret police, an absurd wall in their backyard, and a buffer zone of razed lots around their house. Might similar class privileges someday extend into our digital lives? In the future, who will have the luxury of owning their data?

Jow Veix on stealing Zuckerberg trash.

Also, from this I learnt that there are apparently multiple legal precedents (in the US) that establish curbside trash as public, and because of that there’s a huge industry in the secure disposal of the garbage of rich people. Go figure.

2018-04-16T14:35:28+10:003rd October, 2018|Tags: culture, facebook, privacy|

The endless experiment.

But companies usually care about their products, protect them, try to improve their state.

If I were a product, Google would do its best not to destroy me. They have invested a lot of resources into this product, so why risk it by making baffling changes to both privacy and user experience? If I stay happy with Google’s offerings, I keep being the perfect product: I can be mined for data and “sold” perpetually.

Clearly, Google doesn’t care about me personally. And how could it? There are billions of people just like me who use their services every day.

Maybe we should stop thinking we’re “Google’s product” and start thinking we are data points in endless experiments.

Rakhim Davletkaliyev on Google.

I switched to using Firefox about a day before this latest round of being-evil from Google and… yeah. I do not regret it.1

  1. Even if the scrollbars in Masto are now hideously ugly… []
2018-09-28T08:40:09+10:0028th September, 2018|Tags: google, privacy, tech|


It’s not just Facebook; every single online publication, including all the ones reporting negative stories, are sharing your browsing data with third parties. Hell, the website at that link is sharing your data with third parties (9% of its page requests were blocked by uBlock). Hell, even this website is sharing your data with (pick one, depending on where you’re seeing it):

  • CloudFlare,, Google, Gravatar.
  • CloudFlare, Tumblr, Yahoo!, Scorecard Research, MarkMonitor, Cedexis, Fastly, FontAwesome, Google, jQuery.
  • CloudFlare, Dreamwidth, Google.

In theory, most of those sites perform “valid” services. CloudFlare and MarkMonitor do DNS.1 Cedexis and Fastly do CDN-style services. Google and FontAwesome serve fonts. Gravatar provides global user avatars. jQuery provides a popular JavaScript library. Tumblr/Yahoo! and Dreamwidth are their respective platforms. But just because they’re useful doesn’t mean they’re, a) 100% necessary, or b) not potentially tracking, commodifying, and on-selling huge quantities of surveillance data.

Oh, and then there are things like Scorecard Research, which is absolutely a surveillance company. So… yanno. There’s that.

  1. Among other things… []
2018-04-12T15:58:56+10:0027th September, 2018|Tags: privacy, tech|