How to Resist Surveillance Capitalism

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Surveillance capitalism is a truly 21st century innovation which is having a major impact on society. Policies around data protection and privacy aren’t strong enough yet and trade deals don’t rightly aim to protect data privacy either. How our data is used and exploited isn’t up to us and it should be. Large corporations know more about you than you might realize and exploit that knowledge for their own gain- it doesn’t have to be that way.

How to resist collection of your behavioral data?
Solutions for consumers

Educating consumers and helping them make radical choices to influence the systems designed to harvest their data is one of the two important ways that can help us fight this crisis. We know that consumers stated privacy preferences are not reflected by the actions and choices they make, failing to act on recommendations they know would likely benefit them — this is commonly referred to as privacy paradox. I strongly believe this is something we can change together and that process starts with you and me. With the risk of being called a naive idealist, I believe we can lead by example in getting through the pains of giving up some of the convenience and ruthless pursuit of growth, ultimately affecting the course of history that is otherwise headed towards more surveillance, concentration of knowledge and power, and unethical exploitation of the human experience.

Privacy means having the agency to choose what you share, when you share it and who you share it with. The following recommendations can guide you, as an individual towards taking back that control and helping others do the same.

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Refugees Who Helped Snowden Welcomed to Canada

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One of the families who helped American whistleblower Edward Snowden stay safe while he was in Hong Kong have arrived in Canada. Snowden provided proof to the world that the USA spies on everyone including their own citizens. Due to his brave act he was the most wanted man on the planet and his safety was not assured by any state. During those few days in Hong Kong a couple families provided Snowden shelter since they too knew what it was like to be threatened by their own government.

It’s so nice to see that refugees who were struggling took time to help another in a similar situation get a happy next step. You can find out more about the Snowden refugees at For The Refugees.

“They are extremely brave people who have nothing, but when someone in distress needed them, they opened their doors,” said Montreal-based Guillaume Cliche-Rivard, one of the lawyers with the group.

“Instead of letting them live in a terrible situation without a future, we wanted to do something for them, as they wanted to do something for Edward Snowden.”

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GDPR Forces NYT to Serve Better Ads

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Online media companies were forced to rethink their advertiser policies last year because of the introduction of the GDPR. The New York Times decided to stop using ad services that tracked you across the web; exactly what the GDPR was designed to do. Most people claimed that because marketers can’t spy on you that media companies like the NYT will fail. The opposite has been proven true, revenues from advertising are up due to the fact that the NYT no longer uses these sketchy advertising services.

“The fact that we are no longer offering behavioral targeting options in Europe does not seem to be in the way of what advertisers want to do with us,” he said. “The desirability of a brand may be stronger than the targeting capabilities. We have not been impacted from a revenue standpoint, and, on the contrary, our digital advertising business continues to grow nicely.”


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Signal Foundation Launches to Fund Cryptography for All

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The privacy rich messaging app Signal continues to make the world of communication safe from prying eyes. With an announcement yesterday of the launch of the Signal Foundation the group will have a long lasting impact on the world of privacy. Private communication is healthy for a democratic society and the ability to have conversation free from the spying efforts of governments is getting harder. Signal wants to change this by making protecting one’s privacy simple and brainless.

Long before we knew that it would be called Signal, we knew what we wanted it to be. Instead of teaching the rest of the world cryptography, we wanted to see if we could develop cryptography that worked for the rest of the world. At the time, the industry consensus was largely that encryption and cryptography would remain unusable, but we started Signal with the idea that private communication could be simple.

As more and more of our lives happen online, data protection and privacy are critical. This isn’t just important for select people in select countries. It’s important for people from all walks of life in every part of the world. Everyone deserves to be protected. We created the Signal Foundation in response to this global need. Our plan is to pioneer a new model of technology nonprofit focused on privacy and data protection for everyone, everywhere.

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Be Safe Online

The American government recently repealed laws set to protect your privacy online, clearly the government doesn’t care about private communication. This impacts people around the world because a lot of internet traffic travels through the states via various online services. Safe and secure conversations are needed to keep a democracy running and we all deserve the right to not have our private conversations listened to. Still, we need to protect ourselves online. As a result of the recent privacy change, there is a lot more information published about online safety and easier ways to use implement practical solutions. Check them out and do what you can to keep yourself safe.

Use a Virtual Private Network

“The best option is going to be using a VPN, a virtual private network,” says Dillavou. VPNs are tools installed on a user’s device, like a phone or a laptop, that encrypt the traffic from that device, and mask the user’s IP address and online behavior from tracking tools.

VPNs are already a standard security recommendation for anyone working over unsecured WiFi—like what you might find in a coffee shop. But with ISPs now collecting data, and not just routing it, the workaround makes sense for home use as well. (They also come in handy when you’re trying to get TV streaming to work overseas.)

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