How to use technology, and not be used by it, by Simon Black

A lot of solid suggestions about how to preserve your privacy and still be a part of the computer and Internet age, from Simon Black at

Amazon’s Ring video doorbells likely form the largest private surveillance network the world has ever known.

Millions of Americans allow Ring surveillance cameras to record and store video and audio of all activity at their front door.

Ring maintains access to users’ unencrypted videos, and has admitted in the past that at least four employees improperly accessed doorbell camera recordings.

Then there is Amazon’s Alexa, which is a voluntary wiretap people bug their homes with for the convenience of asking, “Hey wiretap, can dogs eat pancakes?”

Amazon employees can also access certain Alexa recordings.

Google also has a whole line of “smart home” products like cameras, doorbells, and voice assistants called Nest that feed video and audio back to the mothership.

Of course, if you’re a Gmail user, Google also keeps a history of everything that you buy. Every online purchase, travel itinerary, etc. is automatically parsed and logged. Google knows what work you do on Docs. They know your search history, what you like to watch on YouTube, and what you’ve downloaded on your Android device.

These tech companies have such detailed personal information on their users that J. Edgar Hoover would blush.

And they don’t even bother hiding what they do with such enormous troves of our personal data.

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