Violating user privacy in the name of safety & security

^ I often wonder the same thing.

As someone who once trained and worked as a photographer, I learned to keep all negatives for “just in case” scenarios. That habit replicated itself in the digital-photo world, where it is much easier to save the original digital photos than it was to save film negatives.

Photo editing – as in discarding photos that don’t meet a certain standard – is much harder, in my opinion, than photo taking, so I appreciate your challenge!

A complement to this is that it is always easier to edit someone else’s photos than it is to edit one’s own photos, especially when the subjects of the photos are not one’s friends or relatives.

I met the husband of a travel-agency owner who told me that he lost to theft all his expensive camera equipment on a tour some years earlier. He told me that he no longer traveled with a camera, preferring instead to absorb the scenery without all that intervening equipment.

I’m not ready for that, but, since ordering the Mudita Pure and hiding the camera app on my Android phone, I have become keenly aware of how many people use their smartphones to take photos.

I often wonder what percentage of cloud storage today is occupied by digital photos and digital videos.

I now wonder:

  • Is digital photography to film photography as smartphones are to feature phones?

Digital photography and smartphones have given us undeniable benefits over film photography and feature phones, respectively, but at what costs? Your post challenged the conventional wisdom that digital photography gives us only benefits, so thank you for that!




I’ll give one scenario that justifies file storage (in addition to sentimental photos).
Learning how to process photos in astrophotography.

I’ve never actually done this in normal photos, but I have had some exposure to image processing in radio astronomy and having raw data files is useful for future applications when you learn new processing techniques or develop new interests to investigate.

I agree with your premises that it’s good to think about WHY you are keeping something, but the answer is going to vary wildly from person to person.


You should read Zero History by William Gibson. There’s a fantastic hypothetical way to get around a surveillance network in that story that involves an ant.

Although given Gibson’s track record, it probably already exists.

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No, the EU will take it further:

In the future, this will include mandatory scanning of end-to-end encrypted messages for CSAM. I just don’t know how they will enforce that. Are they going to outlaw open-source?

Some extra notes for those of you who were not aware:

  • Apple was already scanning your photos in iCloud for illegal content, as does any other big cloud provider. Unless it offers zero-knowledge privacy through an open-source app, a cloud service provider should be considered compromised.
  • The reason this specific CSAM scanning implementation is worrisome is because it is on device, not in the cloud. It scans your photos on your local storage, offline. Security researchers warn that this opens the floodgates. The next step is scanning for any other illegal content, including content censored in totalitarian regimes. This scanning can be extended to anything the camera sees before taking a photo, in real-time, or anything the microphone hears. Don’t forget: it’s on device, no internet connection required for this scanning, and Apple’s special AI microships are tailored for this kind of work.
  • Apple was already eavesdropping you through Siri:

and also Google and Amazon:

  • Apple is spying on its employees:
  • Apple is also spying on your activity (including your apps) on your Mac:

In summary:
You should not be using any device with iOS, Mac OS X, Google Android and/or virtual assistants. They spy on all of your activity, your location, they eavesdrop on conversations and soon they will scan all your files locally on device in real-time for anything they deem illegal

For computers:
Linux is safe. Microsoft Windows is off the hook too, for now, if you use a local account (not a Microsoft account) and kill Cortana. You can use an app like O&O Shut Up to disable activity monitoring on your local account and exterminate Cortana.
For phones:
Use open-source Android like LineageOS, GrapheneOS, CalyxOS or any other. Or use a dumbphone, obviously.
(to protect yourself from companies, not from governments, then you just don’t use phones at all)


@nilss Thank you for sharing these links.
The ugly truth is that tech companies ARE tracking and misusing our data & unless we are proactive about protecting our data, they will find ways to circumvent most barriers that are set up to protect us.

About a month ago, I posted a thread about Google using deceptive tracking practices & how they are now being sued over it.

I also posted a thread to an article about Google sharing info with the Police.

The bottom line is, our data is a commodity for BIG TECH. Exploiting data to manipulate & monetize human behavior has always been the end goal. It’s literally how they make their money.

Then. when we start to guard our privacy, BIG TECH claims to come up with ways to ‘help’ us with all sorts of different privacy settings. The only thing that does, it shut out some other tech companies from getting their hands on our data- but the ones who implement the privacy settings still have access to it.

In a way, it gives them a leg up on the competition.

Seems Google are aiming for older devices as well.

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@John_Andersson Google also noticed that more & more people are moving to feature phones, so they designed Google Go. A lighter version of Google.
I feel like they are on to us…and are trying to lure us back in :smiley:

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Of course they are :sweat_smile: …And expanding in developing countries. Asia 4.56b, Africa 1.22b, South America 422m ppl. That is a lot of phones AND data…

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I think you meant Cortana, not Alexa.

Corrected. As you see, I do not use those assistants :wink:


@john_dumpling, @nilss
When I first read the post, I thought, “who the heck is Cortana.??”
I use a PC, but I really never heard of Cortana. Then I looked at this…

Stuff like this just gets under my skin. They are not even trying to hide it anymore.

Meanwhile, in our “real” life:


“Open-air prison” is another name for it.

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@roberto YIKES! this is not good. I wonder how does that jive with GDPR regulations?

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@kirkmahoneyphd Now that they are not part of the EU, I guess they feel like they don’t have to follow any rules.

All this kind of nonsense is why I always use content-blockers (“ad blockers” / “tracking blockers”), and why I avoid proprietary software whenever I can, even if the alternative is inefficient or inconvenient (it’s usually more efficient and more convenient anyway).

Firstly - you can’t trust proprietary, closed-source software. The presence of a button in the interface which says “turn off spying” / “don’t track my location” / “don’t listen in on me” means absolutely nothing. There’s no guarantee it will do what you instruct it to. A prime example is that Google-infested Android has been proven to track your location even when you thought it was turned off. To the best of my knowledge, AOSP doesn’t do this. Similarly, Microsoft still performs a lot of unnecessary phoning-home even with as much of its built-in spyware “turned off” as possible. The source-code for proprietary, closed-source software is unavailable for you to study, to verify that it does what it says it does, and it is often against the EULA to reverse-engineer it. Maybe the developers have something to hide. Either you have control over your devices, or they have control over you. If it’s in any way crippled or restricted (think “unrooted”, “not jailbroken”, or “has apps that use DRM”), then you don’t have control over the device you paid for, and you are being subjugated and abused.

Secondly - I disagree with surveillance capitalism, spying, and being traded as a commodity. I therefore opt-out of it, even if it costs me. Plus, ads are a proven vector for malware. Therefore, if a site cannot exist without ads, and asks me to disable my adblocker, I always navigate elsewhere. Let the site either accept donations, sell a product to “make ends meet”, or just die. If I need to use a piece of proprietary software or spyware for some task in every day life, I just don’t do that task. I am not willing to trade my freedom for perceived convenience, or the illusion of “cheap” or “free” stuff.

I’m willing to use “Open Source” software, even if it’s not entirely free (either as in “freedom” or as in “price”). I don’t mind a modestly restrictive (non-free/libre) licence, or paying a bit for some software, where the developer has enough confidence and transparency to make the source available. I still favour truly free (as in “freedom”) software wherever a free/libre tool exists to do the job.

This might be too difficult or restrictive for some people, but I do really hope it inspires the confidence in others to do the same. That said, the above is just my stance and reasoning. If Microsoft Windows, and Apple Macintosh, and tailored ads work for you then great.

For me, one of the big attractions of the Pure, besides the main features (e-ink, low-SAR, simplicity etc), is that the software source-code is available. Circumstances don’t allow me time to look at it and contribute at the moment, but this is something I definitely intend to do in the future.


I’m curious what the “new” privacy relay option (currently in beta mode on iOS and macOS) actually do. It’s not a VPN but according to Apple they can’t see what websites you are visiting. Or anyone else.

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I’m having trouble entering some random websites, and I had to deactivate it while navigating. However, as they claim, I see it as a good feature since it is in a BETA version. I also use Adguard in my Safari and Apple’s native tracker’s blocker.

I’m not obsessed with privacy, but some things are too much.

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