STOP Sign Year

This post is a second version because for some strange reason my original version suddenly lost some of its paragraphs! I’m watching you WordPress!

Greetings to you all!  (I won’t bother with the usual Happy New Year stuff simply because it couldn’t have been, and isn’t likely to be).

That nasty virus isn’t content with invading our lives, causing mayhem and then refusing to leave which gives it much in common with a soon to be ejected white supremacist thug! The difference is that the virus is only doing its job, whereas the other only plays at it through golf and spitting nocturnal tweets at opponents.

But more is in the real news and its looking a bit better for privacy & democracy!


In The News – WhatsApp & Facebook.

But first I will backtrack. You may have seen that I wrote in our ‘Covid Spring’ that Google expatriated all of your UK data on its platforms in Ireland  (our then GDPR protected zone, inside the EU) to the Wild West (USA). So I deleted my Google account before this and implored others to do the same.

Before that event, WhatsApp failed to find a massive security hole that others discovered in its phone App. That backdoor was wide open to state level spyware that opened up smartphones data with no user intervention! So I also got rid of that App after closing my account!

Here it comes! Zuckerberg’s Facebook, who we all know to make zillions from flogging your privacy details to its ‘affiliates’ have announced two more encircling moves.

Move#1 is that your phone data that WhatsApp accesses on your smartphone including contacts, and transactions you do through the App (plus who knows what else) will become accessible to Facebook and its ‘affiliates’ from February 8th 2021! The ‘choice’ they give you is ‘do it our way or stop using the app’.

Move#2 Another announcement made under news coverage of #pandemic outta control is that your private data they hold on Facebook which. lets face it is huge, will be shifted to the wild west during this year.

Yes, I know, following a rush to other apps by the tens of millions, WhatsApp have tried giving ‘assurances’ on privacy protection, and those might be as they claim for now. But when we remember through past experience the tendencies of corporations and politicians who carefully manage the release of disturbing changes that often appear silently during public holidays, or under cover of disasters, do we ‘really’ trust them? We remember Zuckerberg’s refusal to explain his part in the Cambridge Analytical data scandal to Parliament! Both he and other owners of huge platforms behave like Bond film villains now and there is no real James Bond to stop them (sorry if I just busted a myth).

Assuming you feel as I do about being treated like a piece of farm livestock, then here are some ideas I have, they are not advice, but are based on experience.

WhatsApp (WA) – Best to message all of your friends through it to tell them you’ve had enough and then open an account on another platform, I use Signal because it has a long good reputation. Edward Snowden also says its better than Telegram security wise.

 

 

 


Suggested Method –

Open a new account on your chosen replacement platform, install its app onto your devices, TIP – Signal lets you video & audio call from a laptop/PC/Mac, unlike WA.
Send messages of joy to your friends from Signal (or other) and invite them to also escape!
If you want to retain any messages on WA then copy/backup them! Then use WA’s app to delete your messages and account, then uninstall the horrible thing from all of your devices.

Facebook (FB) doesn’t yet present you with such a rush to action as its data move deadline isn’t yet announced, though it will be this year. If you are also minded to get away from the risks it poses with your privacy (and possibly your sanity by its content controlling algorithms), then next I would take a look at other social media offerings. Again I won’t endorse any here, its up to you! But I can point you to some I’ve looked at.

WT.Social is fairly new and is still developing, so its in its growing phase. That said its fairly easy to use and lets you post like FB does and without the word number constraint of twitter posting. And you can join groups that it calls ‘SubWiki’s’. Also you can befriend and have followers just as you have before. These are its proud claims;

WT.Social

You can view WT’s Privacy Policy here

 

Mastodon has been around, I think, for a few years and has a following that is less easy to gauge because you have to sign up to which ever of its many ‘servers’ you feel attracted to, according to your tastes. So maybe not as easy to get to know but if you are particularly into a niche social media experience, then it may be worth a look. It also offers a mobile device App. I didn’t take to it myself so cannot guide further.

Maybe 2020 may be seen one day as the ‘demo version’ and 2021 will be the full release version that has yet to prove itself, who can predict?

 

Keep well and Safe!

 

Greg