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How to create an internet where "big data" isn't a problem?

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Leandro Lucas de Oliveira Bandeira Oct 24, 2020
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The information control through technology has turned into a global problem. The choices of people (elections, politics, our future) are being influenced by large entities that control the information.

How can we create a world, where the information is liberated and not used as a means to control humanity?
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We might need to change the socioeconomic system first

Povilas S
Povilas S Oct 25, 2020
I think one of the main (if not the main) reasons why online surveillance has become so widespread is capitalistic society model. Maybe it's not so much the capitalism itself as the idea that you can do whatever it takes to sell the product, which has already become the norm nobody even questions. Internet and personal data collection are just very convenient tools for anyone who wants to sell whatever they want to sell. Internet wasn't built for that purpose, this came as a byproduct with more and more people using it and especially the start of widespread use of smartphones.

Sure, there might be other motivations for this and other types of people than just businesses collecting personal data, but the madness of online advertising and personalization only makes for them very easy to hide in the crowd of data collectors. After all, you'll never know when, by whom, and for what purpose your data might be used, it's all entangled. But online advertising only perpetuates this.

So unless we rethink our values and redesign the socioeconomic system accordingly, nothing might help. Maybe it would be enough to start with laws forbidding data collection for the purpose of gaining profit. Using alternative financial support methods (like donations or crowdfunding) also increases trustworthiness of that particular company when it comes to data collection because they have no motivation for abusing it. So I think promoting more of those alternative funding methods in contrast with online advertising business model is a very good way towards cleaner internet, but probably towards cleaner society as well.
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Some ideas discussed in previous sessions

jnikola Oct 24, 2020
I find this question very important and I am glad you started the exact session dealing with this.
Based on the previous discussions, I bring you a few potentially good ideas, all of them being totally different:
  • fully anonymous internet
  • plus - no data can be attached to you or your IP address, and thus, no marketing and companies earning money from your private data
  • minus - no personalization of the ads, contents and searching results making the Internet less interesting and efficient
  • internet for registered-only
  • plus - you can access all the data on the internet if you registered with your ID and you can also decide do you want and how do you want to trade your private data (sell or not)
  • minus - if they find a way, hackers can steal your data easily; requires hardcore internet security and firewalls; sites could limit the contents to users who do not share their data
  • no long term storage of data
  • plus - the best fast solution
  • minus - did not remove the problem, just reduced the effect a bit
  • government regulation and intervention
  • premium option - if you pay, everything is ok
If you want to read more, here you can find more details in a nice discussion on a similar topic.
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Easy and fast solution - VPN hiders

jnikola Oct 24, 2020
It would be wise to get people familiar with VPN-hiding providers such as TunnelBear, NordVPN, ProtonVPN, Hide.me, and others. They make your browsing look encrypted and like coming from some other computer, somewhere random in the world.

  • fully anonymous internet browsing (I guess?)
  • no long term data storage
  • premium option
  • still not safe from Trojans and other harmful contents while interacting with a website
  • we hope they are safe, but can we trust them?
  • they are often a target of hackers because people hiding their VPN usually hide more things

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Povilas S
Povilas S3 years ago
This isn't a real solution. It might help a bit by giving you a layer of security, but there are many problems with this.

Hiding a VPN only hides your location, this is not enough to make you anonymous or protect your data. The browser you are using does big part of the tracking job, tracking cookies are stored on your computer and you can easily be recognized even if using a different VPN. When you go to the public wi-fi place, for example, your VPN is also different (you changed the location), but sites can still remember you unless you delete all the cookies and browsing history each time you quit, but it's a question how much you can trust this "deletion" on a regular browser. Therefore it's better to use systems that are fully designed for this purpose, like Tor browser for example.

Another thing is trust, as you mentioned - VPN providers make a business out of it, they may not care so much about the security of your data, they always advertise it that way though. And they'll always have access to it if you're using their services. I've tried a VPN service for a month from one popular provider and one big problem was that it often wasn't fast enough to connect, my real VPN was leaked before that for some time. Another problem is that they considerably slow down the internet speed, but that's just the price you have to pay if you want more security online.

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic4 years ago
People are drawn to social media. When they log into their accounts, the VPN, or any other connection anonymization becomes pointless. Browsing the internet without simultaneously checking in with your friends feels lonely. I imagine that people would want to keep at least some kind of connection with their online friends. Any system that enables this, requires authentication - that in turn defeats the VPN anonymization.
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Povilas S
Povilas S4 years ago
Darko Savic This is known as anonymity vs pseudonymity. It's still better to use VPN even if you log in, cause it gives you a layer of security anyway, but that's not anonymity anymore. If one is more serious about this then it's better to use separate systems for different activities. For example, one browser just for sites you often login to and another, like Tor, for all the rest where you don't need to log in. So you'll kind of have two identities in that case and actually the more of those you have the harder is to trace you. If all you do online is somehow linked then all your data is on a plate. That's why smartphones are the worst in this.

There's an operating system designed for security and privacy of your data that works by this separation principle. It's called Qubes and it's free. You have different sectors for work, fun, personal stuff, etc. that have different levels of security and there's no data access from one sector to another. It's actually a really smart system, but I'm not able to explain it properly, you should check out their website, if you're interested, they have it explained well in a video. But it requires a powerful enough computer because that's like having multiple operating systems running on the same computer at the same time. So it might not be a fit for an average user.

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