Going off grid online?

XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
Recently I have come to really hate the fact that my every move online is tracked and categorized and fed back to me in ad format. Doesn't seem to matter if it's from an email, facebook post, or anything, I always get it fed back to me (often times in less than 60 seconds).

What are good alternatives to google, gmail, facebook, and the like

So far, I'm thinking duckduckgo as a search engine (though I get ads from searches I make on there too). Slack as a workaround for facebook contacts (though at some point, I'd like my own website/forums). No real clue on email. I'm also debating just making a fake facebook account so I can continue to benefit from the groups (bands, hobbies, and etc.).

any help or ideas for reducing my online footprint would be great!

Posts

  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    edited May 18
    Why, though? Sure you could spend a con siderable amount of time and effort to try and block your search engine, but you would also have to stop using all credit cards, get rid of your cell phone, likely trade your car for an older model, drop high-speed internet by literally every provider, pull out from your bank and keep your cash in a bag, and a million other things to actually go off grid. All of those things currently track you and send information back to be sold.

    Your actions are being tracked in the modern digital economy, as metadata. There isn't so much of a big brother as a million algorithms, and the effort to extract yourself from it really doesn't do you any favors and can do things like lower your credit or make you more likely to suffer identity theft and/or physical theft.

    The risks are... that you get targeted add content. That's really it. Unless you are involved in illegal or grey-legality matters none of it is a hinderance so much as just the way things are.

    Enc on
    ShadowfireSmrtnikElvenshaeDaenrisPixelated Pixiezepherinspool32Moridin889kime
  • davidsdurionsdavidsdurions Your Trusty Meatshield Panhandle NebraskaRegistered User regular
    Just about all the platforms have a privacy settings option that allows you to opt out of targeted ads.

    You can do that but I’ll warn you, the non targeted ads generally devolve into the lowest common denominator type advertising and instead of seeing dumb ads about kickstarters I’ve already backed or race car office chairs I don’t want, I end up getting long form libertarian bs advertisements. I personally prefer the former intruding on my timeline rather than the latter so I’ve decided to let them go ahead with the targeted ads.

    PwH4Ipj.jpg
    OrogogusElvenshae
  • XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    I guess the long short of it is that targeted advertising is how facebook and google make a lot of their money right? (maybe I'm wrong!). I don't want companies with an overt conservative presence to have more money. I realize that in many ways I'm out of luck (banks are banks, all phones track you more or less (though I have as much turned off as possible) and well, I don't know about cars), but I'd like to do as much as I can.

    Mayabird
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    First step you'll want is something like ublock origin.

    Next you'll want something like privacy badger

    You might want some sort of javascript blocking beyond those, but honestly ublock and privacy badger will help pretty much completely.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
    XaquinzepherinRanlin
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Also, you may consider switching from google search to duck duck go, google can still identify you if you're using gmail/g-suite and doing web searches.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    Also, all of these services work by your participation being fungible. You not participating doesn't change anything if all of your friends, coworkers, and companies are (which they are and won't change because its too financially useful to do so). Google is a monster, but using a different search engine won't change anything, even if massive numbers of people started doing it. Because Google is diversified and collects information from literally everywhere. As does your bank, your credit card, dozens of aspects of your phone, your ISP, and most cars after 2015 have RFI chips that are used by state and local governments to track movement which, in turn, is also sold to eachother. Each of these folk share and sell their data to create a perfect image of you.

    Even if you wiped out, they would still find your data by picturing it together with the absense. You are off grid, but your previous records exist and your friends and family still use these services, so instead of as targeted as they currently have instead they build a predictive picture of what you would do from association maps between your network information.

    The only way you can stop companies like Google and their ilk is by voting. Only state and federal law can constrain them, no amount of end user changes will effectively alter their behavior.

    zepherinAridhol
  • XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    edited May 18
    bowen wrote: »
    Also, you may consider switching from google search to duck duck go, google can still identify you if you're using gmail/g-suite and doing web searches.

    I made that switch already =)

    I realize it's mostly futile, but what the heck. A few addons, a new email address, and a different browser won't hurt me. Not a whole lot I can do about the car or credit card. I guess it should be noted at least that I don't get location based ads anymore since I turned off google tracking.

    edit: and I vote!

    Xaquin on
    Enc
  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    To give one example, if you take a look at state university systems they all have a required textbook authority. That textbook authority contracts with a specific vendor (like Borders, Barns & Noble, Haricourt, etc.) to distribute the textbooks to various students. Behind the systems those contractors use are google products that use predictive analytics to determine which students and where demand will be, often with better degree predictive ability than our own advisors and history tracking. Because of that, those systems are paid for both by the institutions, the state university systems, and the private sector vendors for their data. If every end user stopped using google, these systems would still work, and still grow, because data would still be fed to them by the university system. And thats one point of entry of literally millions. Your google searches are one of the smallest ways that these data images of your activities are used. Your local governments use them for minor things like predicting tax changes or logging public domain information, which is immediately added and adds value even though Google doesn't pay for it. Build a new addition on your house or get a permit to update a septic tank? Google knows as soon as the city publishes it. But, in reality, they probably already knew because you paid for the septic guy to come out last week and take a look at the backup and that money came from your bank, which already shares that info, and also that credit card you use, who is also sharing that information. They probably knew before that due to seeing you buy wet wipes instead of toilet paper when the shortages hit and, from volume and knowing your property was septic from public filing, predicted the future outcome.

    It's inescapable now, unless you divorce yourself from society as a whole. And the only thing that can constrain it is society as a whole. So swap browsers, use proxies, etc. If that makes you feel better, but it really won't make a difference and your end result will still feed Google, just through a slightly different automated process than filtering your searches.

    zepherin
  • XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    Enc wrote: »
    To give one example, if you take a look at state university systems they all have a required textbook authority. That textbook authority contracts with a specific vendor (like Borders, Barns & Noble, Haricourt, etc.) to distribute the textbooks to various students. Behind the systems those contractors use are google products that use predictive analytics to determine which students and where demand will be, often with better degree predictive ability than our own advisors and history tracking. Because of that, those systems are paid for both by the institutions, the state university systems, and the private sector vendors for their data. If every end user stopped using google, these systems would still work, and still grow, because data would still be fed to them by the university system. And thats one point of entry of literally millions. Your google searches are one of the smallest ways that these data images of your activities are used. Your local governments use them for minor things like predicting tax changes or logging public domain information, which is immediately added and adds value even though Google doesn't pay for it. Build a new addition on your house or get a permit to update a septic tank? Google knows as soon as the city publishes it. But, in reality, they probably already knew because you paid for the septic guy to come out last week and take a look at the backup and that money came from your bank, which already shares that info, and also that credit card you use, who is also sharing that information. They probably knew before that due to seeing you buy wet wipes instead of toilet paper when the shortages hit and, from volume and knowing your property was septic from public filing, predicted the future outcome.

    It's inescapable now, unless you divorce yourself from society as a whole. And the only thing that can constrain it is society as a whole. So swap browsers, use proxies, etc. If that makes you feel better, but it really won't make a difference and your end result will still feed Google, just through a slightly different automated process than filtering your searches.

    thanks to you, google already knows of my sadness!

    EncElvenshaezepherinMoridin889Jazz
  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    It's known about mine since before I had this epiphany. And immediately after it offered me tissues and alcohol.

    XaquinceresHappylilElffurlionzepherinShadowfireHahnsoo1spool32Moridin889Jazz
  • SerpentSerpent Sometimes Vancouver, BC, sometimes Brisbane, QLDRegistered User regular
    Enc wrote: »
    It's known about mine since before I had this epiphany. And immediately after it offered me tissues and alcohol.

    Clearly, Google knowing of your sadness made your life better!

  • TavTav Registered User regular
    from everything I've seen, protonmail is the mail alternative you're looking for

    Xaquin
  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    Google is often times confused... because my searches are varied and random. I wonder at what point they’ll be like. Please see a doctor for some adhd medicine.

    Xaquin
  • PlatyPlaty Registered User regular
    The easiest way to avoid tracking cookies is to have your browser delete them and other information every time you close it

    A good VPN also makes what you do more private

    Xaquin
  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    Platy wrote: »
    The easiest way to avoid tracking cookies is to have your browser delete them and other information every time you close it

    A good VPN also makes what you do more private

    Most tracking is done via server-side identity tracking at this point.

    What is this I don't even.
    ShadowfireHappylilElf
  • GarickGarick Registered User regular
    edited May 22
    I will say that most of the things enc said are not actually difficult to do and I do a lot of them not even trying particularly if you are living cheaply like me.

    I always use cash for anything I buy, I use a prepaid burner cell phone because of no monthly cost. Public computers for the same reason and a cheap old car.

    I haven't really found it to be that much more of a hassle and I save lots of money.

    Garick on
    Xaquin
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