Simplified Privacy

Can people be changed?

It can be challenging to convince people to abandon surveillance technology. One of our readers on Nostr wrote the following about why should he bother switching from Google products. We will try to convince him otherwise. (His text is in purple font.)

He said:

First of all, you said “if I have to see ads”, which you don’t. If you use uBlock Origin browser extension or Brave Browser for example you won’t see them. Another option is a DNS block on Google. Even with a regular stock android any of these options work.

Second, you assume that the advertiser will charge you a fair price regardless. Our previous article on browser fingerprints, demonstrated from numerous academic and empirical sources that many retailers will abuse their knowledge about you to charge a higher price. For example Target charged a higher price on the mobile app when shoppers were physically closer to a store, because alternatives were much less convenient. Other examples include airlines knowing you will buy tickets because you checked the flight multiple times, and then jacking it up for you. You can find this article here:

He continues:

Yes, that’s exactly what we’re saying. Google can and will ban you for speech they dislike and by heavily using their services, you’ve become dependent on their will. This isn’t just about privacy, but it’s about power and self-sovereignty.

Now you might say, “oh well I’m not speaking out, and I’m not a controversial public influencer”. But what today may be normal speech or actions, may change in the future. For example, 10 years ago, would you have thought you might be forced to take a vaccine to enter a restaurant? Who knows what drugs future Google will require for accounts you’ve become dependent on.

Another example is politically correct people getting offended by past controversial humor, and comedians getting canceled from things they said 20 years ago. If all your speech is, as Edward Snowden refers to it, “on permanent record” then your mistakes can never be forgotten. Even though today, those mistakes are the norm.

He continues:

If your Bitcoin can be taken, what is even the purpose of it? That sounds like a bank account, and Google can see all private keys kept on Android. So you never really own self-custody Bitcoin with Google, you only have temporary access. Your own money is being loaned to you.

It’s not unrealistic to think the government will confiscate your Bitcoin or try to do ridiculous tax hikes such as unrealized capital gains. Not only are people such as Elizabeth Warren actively pushing for this in Congress, but past precedent has shown the steps governments will take when their currency experiences heavy devaluation.

For example, in 1933 FDR confiscated Americans gold . Another example is India literally going door-to-door to confiscate cash, to force people in digital surveillance. Yet another recent example is in Nigeria, the forced CBDC program, which tried to end physical cash.

The idea that they “already know” and therefore you should never change is ridiculous. The knowledge about your past activity becomes less and less relevant, the sooner you stop surrendering all future data to a malicious surveillance firm such as Google. Bitcoin can be sent to an empty wallet on a Linux computer or DeGoogled phone and now you “don’t have it anymore” in the eyes of the empire.

There’s the old expression of the boiling frogs. That if you turn up the heat suddenly, they hop out. But if you slowly dial it up, they boil to death, not realizing there’s a way out.

Then again, you may not know about this example if Google AI is deciding everything you see.

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