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mosbat
mosbat

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How Silicone Valley Betrayed The People

Remember the old days when the internet used to be the only escape you had to run away from our cruel reality and be able to enjoy watching movies, listening to music, expressing your opinion in a public community and be heard?

Unfortunately, those days are gone. It seems to be difficult if not impossible nowadays to have a presence on the internet without the state learning about your phone number, address, full name, passport number and what your wife was wearing last night.

I ran across few people during parties and gatherings who worked in surveillance companies or security; and when it was convenient, I spoke about the topic related to privacy and freedom of expression. The rhetoric that both government and those private firms keep repeating "It's a necessary evil". They claim that lots of crimes could have been prevented if they monitored and tracked people online to predict whether or not they will perform a crime.

The real question is, let's say we do trust them with their intentions of keeping us and our communities safer, can we trust them not to use the internet as a tool for brainwashing and totalitarian control over the society?

If you haven't noticed, voice recognition used to be very poor, and we barely had the ability to speak and for the computer to correctly interpret what we say. Nowadays, you open your Zoom meeting and it automatically generates a transcript of everything that went on in the conversation with an almost 100% accuracy and this was never spoken about in the mainstream media, not even did they mention this as a technological achievement. Their intentions are clearly "Absolute control".

Several YouTubers proved that our devices are listening to us. For example, whenever you speak or talk about something near your phone, your browser will begin showing you ads related to topics you were talking about IN REAL LIFE! For instance, this topic was raised in the below case where people have studied to what extent our phones are gathering data about us.
https://youtu.be/CVazBWGgg64

One of the Whistle Blowers, Frances Haugen who worked for Facebook testified before Congress on October 5,2021 regarding the unethical and highly gross algorithms Facebook applied on it's ~2.9 billion users:
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(Source: https://ethicsunwrapped.utexas.edu/a-whistleblower-faces-down-facebook)

Facebook is not the only corporation that abused it's fame and popularity. Almost all Silicone Valley are directly or indirectly involved in some unethical scheme that serves politicians in one way or another.

Company HP manufacture devices that enable autocratic regimes track human right activists and to hunt them down. Google, is already known to be masters of algorithms manipulation and invasion on privacy. As soon as Google acquired YouTube, the platform that once was a place where people were free to post videos and express their opinions, suddenly became a government propaganda machine fully controlled by the corporations. The level of censorship on YouTube have chased away a lot of passionate and well established YouTubers who made YouTube what it is today. First it began with people not allowed to play clips, music or videos from movies, not even for a few seconds and now it got so bad that streamers are scared of swearing or saying F words.

The list doesn't end here. Those platforms give governments and politicians full freedom to publish whatever they want; but when people speak the counter narrative, it gets either shutdown almost immediately or the algorithms will make sure that almost no one will see your contents except you on platforms of 2+ billion people and it is clear that they are using machine learning in order to track contents that certain politicians in power don't like.

If you thought that all of this wasn't enough, then be ready since the incident that was mentioned last year about the internet outage due to DNS accident, as a matter of fact, wasn't an accident.
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Right after the above "Accident", several websites that contained political contents that do not align with certain political view, were shutdown:
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The truth is, now any website whose host or DNS are located in USA or a state that has agreements with those corporations, will be simply shutdown without any reason or excuse whatsoever. Your only fault is that you are a citizen who would like to hear the story from several corners instead of hearing only the government propaganda. This is what we were warned of by the respected intellectual George Orwell, in his vision of 1984.

Following the backlash of the public against the gross suppression of freedom of speech, you hear now a new rhetoric such as "We didn't put you in jail so you can still have freedom of speech" but they forgot to add the fact that "We just won't let anyone hear you". So essentially, if any corrupt politician gets exposed, they can hide and get away with their corruption/crime since they can simply shutdown and remove any content that they want to remove.

Big tech companies forgot that it is us, the people who made them big and popular, and they thanked us by abusing their power to suppress our constitutional rights under the corporate policy umbrella that no one asked for.

We should fight this totalitarian control by responding the same way those companies responded to us.

  • Do not invest in those companies.

  • Do not sign up.

  • Do not be intimidated or driven by employers who force you to have an account "LinkedIn".

You are not obliged to deal with a company based in the US. There are tons of alternatives; it is in your power to say "No" and do not allow others to drag you into this mad cult brainwashing machines.

Instead of LinkedIn, use Xing.com, instead of Facebook, use whatever social network not owned by Mark Zuckerberg, instead of WhatsApp, use Signal, instead of Android, use the new privacy based solutions such as Ubuntu Touch, instead of Windows, use Ubuntu, etc...

Don't be a pawn, don't be a slave to corporations; it is in your power to say No and every single individual who gets determined to say No, is going to make a difference eventually.
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Top comments (25)

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polterguy profile image
Thomas Hansen

Great alternatives are ...

  1. DuckDuckGo
  2. Brave (Browser)
  3. Telegram
  4. Protonmail

Vote with your feet ...

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robkenis profile image
Rob Kenis • Edited
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polterguy profile image
Thomas Hansen

Signal is good too

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stojakovic99 profile image
Nikola Stojaković

You should use Signal instead of Telegram. It has open source clients and server code is open (although it may not always be the latest but still better than nothing).

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polterguy profile image
Thomas Hansen

I use both, but I prefer Telegram

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jpkeisala profile image
Jukka-Pekka Keisala

Telegram Cooperates with FSB news.ycombinator.com/item?id=30661335. So, switching from WhatsApp to Telegram you switch from CIA to FSB. Also Telegram does not end-to-end encrypt group messages.
Just like others here mentioned already. Don't use Telegram. Signal is much more secure and private alternative.

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polterguy profile image
Thomas Hansen

YCombinator has literally funded every single Silicon Valley company for the record. So their "credibility" in these regards isn't really that high I'd say ... ;)

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jpkeisala profile image
Jukka-Pekka Keisala

Just search Telegram and FSB if you think a user of Hacker News is bias toward YCombinator. Tldr: FSB demanded encryption keys then banned Telegram, raided offices arrested some people. Then suddenly openend the service in Russia again. Telegram founder says they did not give encryption keys. You can make your own conclusions from this.

I stand in my argument that use Open Source fully encrypted messaging is better alternative. As it is today Signal from security point of view does better job on this. By to way. Signal is Silicon Valley based just as DuckDuckGo and both have same investor. (Brian Acton founder of WhatsApp)

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polterguy profile image
Thomas Hansen

OK, I believe you - Just a bit sceptical towards most of these companies, since they all tend to bend over after a while. WhatsApp used to be E2E crypto for instance. Me and my wife ran a test on it where we could literally prove that whatever we chatted about over WhatsApp turned into targeted ads on Facebook a couple of minutes later ... :/

As to Telegram's employees being arrested. Most Russian companies ends up there at some point in time, which is a known method for the "cleptocracy" to coerce founders to literally "give away" their companies to some distant cousin of Putin or something ...

The nGinx founder just spent some time in jail over similar accusations ...

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nyxb profile image
nyxb

when duck duck go and Signal are both funded by WhatsApp's founder. Are they corrupted you too or not?

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polterguy profile image
Thomas Hansen

If I remember correctly WhatsApp's founder quit WhatsApp due to "being in disagreement with Zuckerberg", at roughly the time WhatsApp pulled E2E cryptography - So it doesn't worry me that much actually ...

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russ0133 profile image
russ0133

For a vast majority of people, Google/Facebook/TikTok is the internet.

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codyseibert profile image
Cody Seibert

I was expecting this article to have some type of argument for web 3 near the end and some promotional links. Good job keeping the article pure.

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smpnjn profile image
Johnny Simpson

Is Silicone valley the place where all the plastic surgeries happen?

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610470416 profile image
NotFound404

It is time for us to embrace the decentralized web.

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jwp profile image
John Peters

All true. Bottom line: If we use the Internet, we're known...

 
stojakovic99 profile image
Nikola Stojaković

Most people spend the time on computer browsing the internet. All the applications you have listed are not used that much or at all by the average users.

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lukasw12v profile image
lukas

but its from russia so its better then creepy joe's america spyware

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jonrandy profile image
Jon Randy 🎖️

Silicone?