Privacy in the Age of the Algorithm

The apps on smartphones may seem innocent enough, however, thanks to AI and algorithms which gather information about our usage, the apps know more about us than we ever thought possible.
In our most recent blog post: The Algorithm Effect: How algorithms influence our decisions, we discuss the use of algorithms in everyday life.
How concerned are you about how monitored we all are, and what kind data is being collected and where it’s all going? Let us know your thoughts.


Robert Epstein has been studying for many years how algorithms influence decisions. See this article for an example.


@kirkmahoneyphd I just read that article. :flushed: WOW. Is there a worse offender than Google? Deep down, I think we all know this, but sometimes I get this feeling that there is no turning back & there is really not much we can do, unless we REALLY take drastic measures.


According to what Ive read Google collects 12Mb of data/device in average per day. I think its more than that.
Interestingly there are quite a few projects aiming at “deGoogleing” your phone at the moment. Some are Linux based, while others are “liberated” android versions.
/e/ project is one of them.

Currently reading cryptographer Bruce Scheneiers bok “Data and Goliath”. Very interesting.

Edit: I was wrong, Its way, way more than 12Mb per day…


I just came upon this article in the WSJ about how Google/Gmail was caught giving third parties full access to user emails and also tracking all of your purchases.:


@john This is a very concerning trend. I think I’m gonna start a thread about secure email servers. Thanks for prompting this idea.


@urszula, here’s an article published this week by Robert Epstein:


Yet another reason why switching to Mudita is the right choice for me.

Cannot wait for later this year :slight_smile:


@anon13781037 Did you already take some steps to limit your privacy exposure? Perhaps, dumbing down a smartphone or experimenting with feature phones?

@kirkmahoneyphd Although I’m generally skeptical of the Gatestone Institute, some of their views are a bit too extreme for me :slight_smile: , I do like to look at all the sides of the story before I make up my mind. I think it’s important to read things which force us to look at the world from a different perspective. True understanding comes from the ability to see the same things from a different viewpoint or angle…

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Hi, urzula! Wishing you well.

I have dumbed down my smartphone, and am patiently waiting for the Mudita to show up on my doorstep.

In the meantime, I’m de-googling my life.


@anon13781037 When you say “de-googling” do you mean, moving away from Gmail/google drive/ etc.? Or taking it a step further & avoiding anything google related, such as search engines, maps & things like that?


Both, actually!
Most likely moving over to Proton Mail, as they offer much of the services Google does (mail, drive, calendar) without privacy intrusion.


Now there is this "Big Brother" news about iOS 15 from Apple – the company that launched the Mac with a TV commercial against Big Brother!:

Apple is also introducing updates to its mobile wallet that will allow users to unlock everything from their home to their hotel room with digital keys in the app.

“You can never leave home without your keys, so we are continuing to add keys to wallet and making them even better,” said Jennifer Bailey, VP of internet services and Apple Pay, citing recent additions such as car keys to unlock a vehicle from your iPhone. BMW and others will ship cars with this feature starting later this year, she said.

The company will also make it possible to store identity cards in Apple Wallet. Starting this fall, users can scan their driver’s license or ID into the wallet app — in participating states — where it will be stored in an encrypted form. Bailey said Apple is working with the TSA to use that digital ID at airport security checkpoints.

No, thanks! … Mudita Pure, please!


I saw what Google was truly up to several years ago so removed myself from all of their platforms. I moved to Protonmail. A secure calendar. I use Duck Duck Go search engine.

I have had no smart phone in my life for some time now. I got rid of my previously held iPhone. I have a basic Nokia call/text device, well, until my Pure arrives.

I have no social media accounts. I do not post on any forum or blog. This is my first foray into a forum since 2002. And only because I love the idea of Pure as a device, the minimal living vibe it promotes, and the non-confrontational air of decency on this forum.

I don’t watch, listen to, or read the news any longer. It is all propaganda, curated to drive the personal and political agenda of the owners and parent companies that own said news outlets. I have no interest in politics or self-absorbed politicians - wielding ego and power dressed in expensive suits.

I am about as under the radar as it gets. My mind is restful. My soul is fed well. And I am a million miles away from fake news, destructive echo chambers, vacuous entities like Facebook.

The ability to block and dehumanise on these platforms drives honest, reasoned debate into the weeds, and that, for me, is pushing the anger and anxiety we see on the rise in society. I like debate, a conversation, and a hand shake at the end of it regardless of opinion being divided. Decency costs nothing.

The way young people, especially young girls, are made to feel inadequate on platforms like Instagram is gut wrenching to see. Influencers with nothing but themselves in mind are moronic and narcissistic in the extreme.

I’ll take my Pure, and harmonise it with my disconnected life and have not a single shred of regret in me.


@texastwo KUDOS to YOU! However, I do have a question: you mentioned you had an iPhone & at some point used google products. Can you tell us if it was hard for you to transition? Did you do it cold turkey? Or a little bit at a time. Just curious about your journey.

Something I’ve been thinking about lately, is the potential privacy issues when you use a smartwatch. Except apples watchOS, every brand more or less use their own software implementation, Samsung = tizenOS, garmin, fitbit etc. Got a notification recently that Google has started to work closely with Samsung on the next galaxy watch and that they are approaching other brands as well.
Turns out that there are new health sensors on the horizon, measuring blood glucose levels without need of penetrating the skin, just to mention one example. Fitbit already measures stress levels and all the brands have ecg and sp02 sensors.

If I have issues with Google reading my mail and monitoring my online behavior, what should be said about giving them access to this kind of data?


There is a new trend of ‘zero data apps’ that hold no data and store your information in spaces you control: this is more private and gives you visibility into what kind of data they work with, and you can remove consent at any time. It’s part of the #OwnYourData movement. If anyone is interested, I will be talking about this with Fission on July 8th—be welcome to join or contribute questions to the thread:


The Creepy Line is a 2018 documentary about privacy in the age of Google and Facebook. Robert Epstein, deep into the documentary, goes into detail about how search results can sway an election.


@kirkmahoneyphd Another GREAT recommendation! Thanks! I just found it on YT.