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Rug Pull Culture 101

If the definition of insanity is to keep repeating the same behaviour with the expectation of different outcomes, we are all insane. And our insanity is about to cost us dear. Literally...

There's a threshold in the normalisation of capitalist inhumanity beyond which public benevolence pitches into a Darwinian extinction spiral. We've reached that line.

Rug pull. The term is commonly associated with crypto hit and run schemes. But that narrow association lets other tech industry players off the hook. The rug pull has become a front-running resort for the tech elite and VC-backed startups alike. And whilst some of the methodology may be rather more elaborate than that which has defined crypto as a scammers' charter, the basic strategy behind the schemes is identical:

Bait the public into investing in something whose only value is the public investment itself, then cash out the value, run, and restart the cycle.

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The Nonpartisan Guide to Conspiracy Theory

What is propaganda-hacking? Why do we support people who don't support us? And do you ever get the sense that conspiracy theorists are just capitalists dressed as activists?...

Theories that don't pass even the most basic reality check are a perfect way to attract the fools most easily parted from their money. And that is, I would suggest, the primary reason why such theories exist.

The world of conspiracy theory is a pretty toxic menagerie, filled as it is with some deeply unsavoury ideological stances, hate-group recruitment campaigns, political, religious and commercial agenda, and flat-out insanity.

Yet dismissing the notion of conspiracy outright is just as insane as believing that the Earth is an inexplicably pancake-shaped freak in a network of wall to wall globes. Authority is corrupt. We know that. History - even recent history - is absolutely littered with irrefutable and fully-acknowledged conspiracy.

And the worldviews fed to us by the official propaganda machine can be just as impossible to reconcile as those extolled by deplatformed conspiracists. On the one hand, for example, we're told we should live by "Christian" values. On the other we're told we should worship capitalists who would rather employ Hitler than Jesus...

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Jobs Not Bots: There's No Such Thing As "Good AI"

AI was sold to us as a means to help some poor, disadvantaged penguin to waddle with better balance. But in the real world, 99.99% of AI's purpose is to stalk and subjugate the public, steal everyone's labour, destroy jobs and enrich the elite. It's time to put up the stop sign...

Let's be clear. The "good AI" vs "bad AI" choice that Mozilla is so desperate to shill on behalf of Google, is a false dilemma. The real choice is "NO AI" vs "bad AI". For all AI is bad. It's anti-human. A grand looting of the people, by the elite. Purely a route to mass joblessness, mass poverty.

It's not a bubble. That's propaganda. Propaganda orchestrated by the AI demigods themselves.

Yes, the "AI bubble" trope was manufactured by anti-human technologists who want their opposition to believe that AI is not a threat, and that it will go away when the "bubble" pops in the just-beyond-foreseeable future. In truth, by the time we all quit waiting for the "bubble" to burst and actually decide to meaningfully oppose AI's unprecedented attack on human rights, it will be way too late, and life for anyone outside the AI industry will be a living Hell. That's the whole point of the "bubble" theory. "Manage resistance". "Keep the public docile while we loot their assets and destroy their lives".

AI IS A SCAM

That's right. AI, as it's being sold to the public, doesn't exist.

There is no robot brain.

AI is just final-stage capitalists recording human labour for eternal re-use.

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The Delusionals: 2024's Online Marketing Circus in Close-Up

If you think SEO spam looks bad from the outside, you should see it from the inside...

Capitalism's approach to finding talent is roughly like trying to select a romantic partner by touring the neighbourhood in a blindfold and earplugs, soliciting formally-declared sexual histories and then submitting a marriage proposal to the community member who has previously had the most sex. And then wondering why the relationship doesn't work. It really is that dumb.

What's the hardest job in the world? Brain surgeon? Astronaut? Spinal Tap tribute act? If you've recently worked in the field of online promotion, you'll probably at this point be yelling out a fourth contender...

CONTENT MARKETER!!!

Actually, if you have talent, empathy and a sense of humour, content marketing per se is not difficult at all. What's difficult is fulfilling a content marketing brief that was collectively devised by every delusional moron who ever discovered the phrase.

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Averting the Internet's Great Decline

We don't quite know how we got here, but we did. As we sit in dismay amid the World Wide Web's Great Decline, our mindset is one of resignation. But history tells us that resignation has a threshold, and what comes next, is action...

Government and smaller enterprise has taken a stance of pandering to abusers like Microsoft, Google and Amazon, because there's an incentive to do so. But if providing the public with a means of escape becomes more profitable than sucking up to the abuser... Well, not even monopolists can fight the lure of money...

In October 2023, the broadband and telephone landline provider I was using at that time flushed an eighteen month contract renewal down the toilet.

I called them to renew; they demanded a mobile phone number. I told them they did not need a mobile phone number to renew a broadband and landline contract I'd had with them since 2015, at a stable address, with reliable payment, and to which a mobile phone was entirely irrelevant. Nevertheless, they insisted that they couldn't process the renewal without a mobile number. So I ended the call, went straight online, and switched my contract to another provider.

Over eighteen months, the money the old provider is now losing would obviously not be trivial, and I immediately began to consider the sanity, or otherwise, of a company preferring to lose that money rather than accept that a customer was not going to give them a mobile phone number that wasn't in any way relevant to the contract.

I wondered if the contact centre agent was new and didn't understand the system. I wondered if the company saw itself making more money from the sale of one mobile phone number than it would make from an eighteen month phone and broadband contract. Both options somehow seemed unlikely.

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Firefox - An Illusion of Choice

Why are we still deluding ourselves that Firefox is a competitor to Chrome, when it's really Google's weapon against competition itself?

Mozilla is not a rights activist. It's a Surveillance Valley theatre group renting its brand names, spyware and lobbying capacity to Google on pain of death. The whole idea that Firefox is a last bastion of light in the fight against monopoly is a joke. But we're so neck-deep in monopoly that all we have left is that delusional fantasy.

Have you ever considered that once monopoly hits a certain threshold, monopolists might get pretty desperate to maintain an illusion of choice? Although that's not something we generally think about, it's an essential part of the monopoly process.


MONOPOLY VIA THE BACK DOOR

The problem with being a monopolist is that openly swallowing up all of your competitors attracts the attention of all the wrong people, often in cataclysmic measure.

But what if, instead, you only capture your competitors? Invest in them. Then invest more. And then, as they become reliant on your perpetual-motion funding and other "kindly gestures", you slowly gain complete control over their activity. They keep their brand name, but effectively rent it out to you on pain of death. It's their face that greets the public, but it's your hands that pull the strings.

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Corporate Anarchy and the New People Trade

If slavery persisted because the law failed to restrain inhuman greed, we are dangerously close to entering a renaissance…

A new era is dawning. Don't dig out your party hat - it's no cause for celebration. Slowly but surely, a new realm of authority is re-normalising the concept of people as property.

The authoritarian cartel of new wave capitalists has absorbed almost every trait exhibited by old-time people-traders.

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"Voice of God": The Truth About AI Assistants

AI assistants are shaping up to serve as the most powerful brainwashing tool the tech industry has yet unleashed. If you're using AI as a consumer, brace yourself for a new, multi-billion dollar propaganda-pump.

There's a common belief that artificial intelligence took a giant leap in efficiency during 2022. All that really happened was that it turned into a search engine and repackaged the output to cut out the sources and the choice

It's true. Whilst AI assistants have been pitched as mindful robots with human sensibilities, they're actually just search engines in which the results are edited, reworded, and filtered to a degree we'd never accept from a conventional SERP.

ChatGPT, Bard and their ilk are an unfettered, direct and inscrutable means for demonstrably evil corporations to tell you anything they think you'll believe. What could possibly go wrong with a concept like that?

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Save The Password Or Lose Your Human Rights Forever

The push to eliminate passwords and replace them with police-data harvesting points is an inevitable consequence, as surveillance capitalists' traditional revenue stream lies on its death bed, and authorities offer dizzying sums for intelligence data.

YOU HAD ONE JOB… YOU'RE DOING PRECISELY HALF OF IT

Surveillance capitalism is changing. In the beginning, it genuinely was about working out what we needed, and then following us around with convenient options to buy that commodity. But over the years, we, the public, have orchestrated what's been described as The Biggest Boycott in History. We've taken steps to block online advertising. And we've done so with such incredible solidarity, that it's also become the most successful boycott in history.

I mean, why should we care about a bunch of evil, subjugative cyber giants? They're multi-billionaires. We know they see us as a product. We know their aim is to manipulate and exploit us. We know they don't even pay for the vast majority of the content they use to propel their ads. That's why they're so rich. They're monetising other people's work. On Web 2.0, OUR work… Let's sock it back to 'em. Open and shut case.

Well, not quite shut. The problem is, if surveillance capitalists can't hit their financial targets pimping us out to brands, how do they compensate? Where does their money come from if we won't look at their ads?

The world's richest and most powerful campaign group is shaping up to replace password logins with police-data harvesting points, and as advertising profits dip, they're stepping up their game.

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The Great Lockout: Online "Account Eviction" as a Business Model

It's an irony of our time that the excessive "account security measures" so aggressively pushed by Surveillance Valley, have proved more likely to lose you your account than protect it against hackers. But is the "account protection" scam just a data/control grab, or is locking us out of our rented cyberhomes actually part of the plan?

First we thought they were trying their best. Then we thought they needed to try harder. Then we thought they were grossly incompetent. And now?… Well, now it's slowly dawning on us that for many years, the cybertech giants have been breaking their products on purpose.

Forced implementation of a system which will blatantly increase the odds of a user losing their account, suggests that the intention is, in fact, FOR THE USER TO LOSE THEIR ACCOUNT.

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Why the Subscription Model is not the Solution to Dysfunctional Websearch

How do you run a search engine that disclaims its own fitness for purpose, on Google servers, drawing 'Bingle' results, and somewhow convince a paying userbase that they're not wasting their money? Ask Kagi…

We've recently entered the first ever period in which the progress of the World Wide Web is widely perceived to have dropped into retrograde. Yep, it's now obvious to more than just a fringe of tinfoil hatters that cybertech is going backwards, and no one really has a solution.

You're LOGGED IN. You can't not be logged in. They know it's you. Every search. That's not privacy. It's the opposite of privacy. And if you believe a Surveillance Valley startup when it says your data isn't being collected and exploited, you must have spent the past two decades asleep.

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Overpriced at $Zero - Why the Former Twitter Cannot Survive

X is set to shrink to an inconsequence as its owner fails to spot the chasm between public tolerance and his obscene greed.

The value of an account on an exploitative, ad-strewn Silicon Valley silo was established at $0, and it's always been considered expensive at that. There will soon come a point at which even the average Musk supporter will begin to notice that cattle don't pay to be farmed.

In 2022 I wrote a short piece called The Benny Test, which highlighted the truth about Twitter's value to its userbase. You may find the rather maverick method of analysis interesting, but if you don't have time to read the article, its conclusion was that the overwhelming majority of accounts on Twitter are inactive, and you can easily prove that for yourself. On this evidence, even at a cost of $zero, most people consider Twitter a poor deal. The platform has markedly worsened since then, and inactivity has risen further.

After owner Elon Musk recently floated the idea of charging all users an access fee, there was widespread debate about whether his X rebrand could survive as a full-on premium service.

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Is Big Tech Running a Secret Trade in Intelligence Data?

Or is there some bizarre new strain of capitalism that gets off on losing billions of dollars a year?…

Ah, that dreaded moment when they stop wanting your attention, and reveal that what they're really after is your body. I'm referring, of course, to Big Tech.

Yes, as the gatekeeping wars intensify, the Silicon Valley preds can no longer hide their one-track thoughts. They want our bodies. Literally. Detailed scans of our faces, our eyes, our hands… And they would rather check our identity papers than spin us a marketing pitch.

Big Tech will not pursue any initiative, ever, if it doesn't primarily involve spying on people.

Does it not strike you as strange that as a facet of commercial enterprise, whose job it is to sell us nice things, Silicon Valley corporations are now so pathologically hung up on chasing something entirely alien to that brief? Something so unsalesy, so central-governmenty, so, er… police-departmenty.

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The Code Is Not The Product - The Developer Is The Product

The amount of money that tech giants have spent capturing and co-opting the arena of Web-development is truly breathtaking. But where's the payback on that mind-boggling investment?…

I wonder what it must be like to have to buy a stake in every new programming framework that ever looks like catching on? Quite seriously, that is the position in which Big Tech now finds itself…

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The Weaponisation of Web Standards

Unrestrained by web standards arbiters, cybertech giants use over-complexity as a weapon, creating lock-ins for consumers, barriers to entry for all but the very richest competitors, and a global data checkpoint around which no one can realistically build a bypass. And the brainwashing has been strong. Most of us consider it totally normal when cyber giants turn the things we wrote, into things we can't even read...

Are you a long-time publisher of online content?...

What do you do when you have a raft of old, disused material strewn across various platforms, and you want to bring it under your control? To pool it. To assess it. To cherry-pick it for use in future projects. To make it genuinely portable. Or just to meaningfully possess something that is, after all, yours...

The answer is pretty simple. Download it, store it to your own computer and preserve it as a local archive. Pretty simple, that is, until you try doing it...

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POSSE and the Indieweb is Big Tech Bullshit

IndieWebCamp was not about "owning your data". It was about sharing your Facebook content with Google - at your own expense.

Google's singular goal was to prize content off the crawler-inaccessible Facebook, put it on the Open Web where Googlebot could reach it, and then, as a tidy bonus, advocate pushing it to G+. That, in a nutshell, is what POSSE was about.

POSSE. Publish Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere. It may seem like a grassroots concept to those who have encountered it in the wild, but if you trace it back to its roots, you'll find yourself deep in Silicon Valley, in the company of Big Tech developers.

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The TRUE Reason Why Google Won't Integrate ChatGPT

If anyone knows the value of information-laundering, it's Google. And you cannot launder information through a chatbot alone.

Prologue: frictionless query and response (a la ChatGPT) appears to almost guarantee the demise of Google Search in its current form. So why is Google refusing to integrate an advanced chatbot system into its flagship product?

To answer that question, we have to consider what happens if it does...

Early this month, Microsoft ended a period of speculation, announcing that it would integrate OpenAI's frictionless ChatGPT Q&A system into its search engine, Bing. Given Microsoft's existing connection with OpenAI, this came as no surprise. Google's reaction, however, did prove a little more perplexing for some. For now, Google will hold back on the integration of a rival system.

Publicly, the Big G's rationale is that AI-driven Q&A is not reliable, and merging it with a resource that the public expect to give them gospel truth could result in reputational damage to the corporation.

Okay, so it's certainly true that ChatGPT talks a lot of crap. And there probably is some hopeful dream at the back of Google's mind, in which ChatGPT blights Microsoft with a deluge of woefully bad publicity, reinforcing Google's position as the Good Samaritan of online discovery. But is that just a dream, or can Google see something Microsoft can't?

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Hyperlink Poison: The 'Nofollow' Story

"If there was no existing mechanism through which Silicon Valley could justify unfair and anti-competitive self-preferencing, Google could be relied upon to invent one."

Today, they're everywhere. Nofollow-attributed hyperlinks have become the web publisher's default means of linking out to external sites. But the "nofollow" property was never meant to be used by all and sundry. It was designed by Google as a self-preferencing scheme for the Silicon Valley collective.

We, the plebs, were not supposed to discover the dark secret of the nofollow link, or use its poison against Silicon Valley as Silicon Valley set out to use it against us. But in the end, we wised up. And our eventual retaliation has rendered the nofollow attribute entirely useless, to the point that Google had to quietly replace it with a new attribute called ugc. The damage, nevertheless, was done...

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GooglePlustodon: Mozilla Mastodon Instance Redirects To Google

Many people cite companies like Google as "leftists", but they're as right wing as it gets. Raving capitalists, deeply elitist, tax-dodgers, anti-union... And if they're not exploiting the working class or telling them to work for free, they're putting them out of business altogether... They passionately HATE the modern day hippie culture that prevails in the Fediverse. They don't want to "join in" with that culture. They want to destroy it. But the route to the latter is via the former, so...

If ever you doubted that Mozilla's forthcoming Mastodon instance will be the designated flagship for "GooglePlustodon", you might like to pop along to mozilla.social and see whose login you currently find staring you in the face. Better be quick though. Google's involvement will likely be much less blatant by the time of launch. But as of 5th January 2023, Mozilla Social's home URL redirects to accounts.google.com, revealing the obvious suspect behind Mozilla's Mastodon venture, as predicted.

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Will the Era of "DIY Journalism" Save Our Privacy Rights?

It seems the only measure of a journalist's efficiency in the 2020s is the number of hours or days it takes them to regurgitate something someone said in a Tweet.

Q. Why is privacy dead?

A. Because journalism is dead.

It's true. You can blame the collapse of privacy rights on many other factors, but if journalism still amounted to anything more than a propaganda-pump for hire, those other factors would never have gained a footing.

The public - traditionally the media's bread and butter - have always needed a powerful press to hold corrupt systems to account. But the Internet Age has seen the public's diminishing news-consumption-spend comprehensively outbid by the exact corrupt bodies that the press once sought to expose. Result? A U-turn in allegiance. The media no longer work for us. They work for corporations, politicians, NGOs - anyone who will backhand them lump sums to have a message disseminated via a supposedly neutral voice.

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Silicon Valley to Invade Mastodon

We've gone past "First they ignore you...", and moved onto the next logical step in the game of tech monopoly: "...Then they embrace, extend and extinguish you."

Well that didn't take long, did it?...

I recently pondered how many moons would pass before a Google-funded, Silicon Valley cartel member waded unashamedly into the Mastodon limelight. Well, we need wonder no longer. Roll cameras, focus stage left, and cue Mozilla - a Google-controlled surveillance capitalist which, like every other org in its circle, signals fake virtues on a relentless loop, but has one genuine interest, and one only: money. Its key provider of which is Google.

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The Privacy Nihilism Litmus Test

"In anti-surveillance culture, privacy nihilism is the only true marque of authenticity."

Back in June, Brave Software CEO Brendan Eich took to Twitter to theatrically trash rival search brand DuckDuckGo, who were still reeling from two rounds of embarrassing media stories. DDG's bad publicity was thoroughly deserved, although it seemed more than a little rich for a dude with a search engine sitting on an Amazon server to be lecturing a Microsoft partner on privacy.

Eich, incidentally, knew he was safe from DDG exposing his sordid Amazon secret in retaliation, because it was just as great a secret that DDG runs on Microsoft Azure. The media blogs had only revealed a minor Microsoft tracker-preferencing scheme in the DuckDuckGo browser. The really serious stuff was still in the closet, so to speak.

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Before You Use Tor... The Odds of Surveillance

"When irrepressible stalkers are paying for, and even promoting a system that claims to prevent them from stalking us, we would be absolute idiots to believe it's not a trick. It is a trick."

Have you ever given Tor browser a reality check and thought... "Nah. Doesn't add up". I mean, here is a tool that supposedly protects the anonymity of its users, happily existing in a world where surveillance oligarchs will censor and/or block anything that cuts off their gravy train. Indeed, Tor is actively promoted by the EFF - whose financial support got it off the ground in the first place. And as anyone who's researched Big Tech lobbying shops knows, if it's endorsed and bankrolled by the EFF, it is DEFINITELY endorsed by Google. Tor's list of funders is telling indeed, albeit twisted to look as though the public are the primary donors.

The public are not the primary donors. They barely cast a drop into the ocean. The onion router's proxying relay mechanism is predominantly funded by the US authorities. In 2015, Surveillance Valley author Yasha Levine confirmed through Freedom of Information requests that Tor "was almost 100% funded by three U.S. national security agencies: the Navy, the State Department and the BBG". But currently, Tor also receives support from Google and Fastly. I mean, come on... These are surveillance capitalists. And they're not people who chuck cash or resources at a project unless they have a massive agenda.

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The CDN Trap: Hazards of a Multi-Origin Web

"The attention race is by nature monopolistic. People can't give their attention to two advertisers at once. So the various powers are now starting to block each other's access to users and their data. When websites are heavily multi-origin, the likelihood of broken pages rises. Already, broken sites have ceased to even raise an eyebrow."

Back in 2016, when Europe's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) [PDF] was first communicated to businesses, a warning shot echoed across the realm of online tracking. The forthcoming law came with a proposition of breathtaking fines, and it declared that tracking cookies could no longer be used as a default part of the open Web.

The tech industry came up with a notoriously annoying short-term solution that didn't actually comply, but looked, it was hoped, enough like an attempt to comply to keep the regulators at bay. Namely, the cookie consent popup. This hare-brained scheme was and is non-compliant for a range of reasons - not least because it needs to set a cookie on the devices of users who disconsent to cookie use, in order to recognise that they've disconsented. Pure farce.

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Is Geminispace The Great Escape From Nineteen Eighty-Four?

"At some point, we have to stop expecting technology to make itself unattractive to abusers, and start expecting our legal systems to punish abuse."

Imagine, if you will, an online world in which there is no such thing as Google. No Amazon, no Facebook... No such thing as a cookie. No such thing, indeed, as a tracker... Sounding good? Then rejoice, dear reader. For this is not imaginary. This is a real place...

As we plunge into the autumn of 1983 - metaphorically at least - a protocol called Gemini offers us a new online ecosystem. Known as Geminispace, the subcultural new environment promises greatly improved privacy. And that's a promise on which, at the present time, Geminispace delivers.

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The Truth About Creative Commons

"Expecting creators to unilaterally renounce capitalism whilst everyone else drives it right off the speedo, is not anti-capitalism - it's anti-creator."

If you've never before published content on a Creative Commons licence, have you ever wondered what happens when you do? If so, I have a cautionary tale coming up at the end of this post. But before we get there, I want to pull up the floorboards and explore the reality of Creative Commons. Who's behind it, who does it really help, does it make creators more successful, and is it good for creators in a legal sense?...


WHAT IS CREATIVE COMMONS?

Creative Commons is often considered to be a grassroots drive to transform the world of content into a caring, sharing utopia of free knowledge and media, helping creators win wider success through licencing that shares the love in all directions.

But if you delve into the epicentre of Creative Commons, you actually find its driving organisation is a donation-nagging, Google and Amazon-funded, Mountain View-based NGO, established by Silicon Valley lawyers and cosily ensconced within the same cybertech lobbying circle that's spent the past two decades trying to trample copyright and patent law into oblivion.

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Privacy-Themed Tech Will Remain a Niche Market Until it Speaks to Women

"Maybe, in the end, the belief that VPNs are anything other than rear-entry surveillance capitalism, just runs off the same, male-only delusion circuit that says the stripper is your friend."

Have you noticed? It's all men. Check out the conversation around privacy-themed tech provisions, and you may find yourself asking a thought-provoking question: where are the women?

Okay, so there are obviously some women interested in and working in privacy-themed technology, but the weight of presence is so overwhelmingly male that we have to start asking why. Why is privacy-themed technology a male preserve? More importantly, how will privacy tech provisions serve women if women are not involved in the conversations that define the products' roles? And how can the privacy tech movement ever be taken seriously by the mainstream if it is perceived to serve only men?

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How to Fully Incapacitate Google Tag Manager and Why You Should

"We're long past the days when it was possible to simply say "no" to corporate stalking without consequence. Today, when we say "no", we get punished for it. But that only goes to show WHY, more than ever, we should be saying "no"."

Google Tag Manager. It's a product which, by design, cloaks a range of the Internet's most invasive and unethical scripts in an opaque closet, then springs them out in disguise. Combining immense power with obfuscation and vast scale of use, Google Tag Manager is the WWW's single most destructive tool to public privacy and online ethicism.

And it's getting worse. Google is now driving Tag Manager into the first-party domain, switching from third-party to first-party cookie usage, for example. Whilst this may look like a warm-hearted bid to increase privacy protection for the public, it's really just part of Google's relentless string of attempts to circumvent third-party content-blocking by shifting surveillanceware into a first-party container.

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How To Keep Big Tech Out Of The IndieWeb

"The endgame for centralised tech is always money. The promises of paradise are just a means to fatten up the goose for slaughter."

Problem... Utopia attracts its own destruction. The more utopian a community, the more it will be beseiged by grasping thugs who want to strip it of all its value and place that value in their own bank account. For those who are excited about the future of the "IndieWeb", this presents a sobering question...

If we build an alternative to the excrutiating glob of broken, control-crazed, repetitive, braindead spam that the existing Web has become, and that alternative begins to offer real value, it will just be invaded and taken over by the same exhausting, spamming, stalking, wallet-chasers who ruined the Web as we know it.

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Cyber Freedom: No Gain Without Pain

"If we really want freedom, we have to step outside the realm of mainstream browser cores. Doing that will require the construction of an entirely new digital ecosystem, with standards that true independent browsers can realistically support."

Late last month we sat with our popcorn watching DuckDuckGo CEO Gabriel Weinberg squirming in embarrassment as headline after headline dissected his operation's covert data deal with Microsoft. Only the tip of an iceberg, but proof, if any were needed, that in centralised tech, even the foremost champions of privacy are secretly working for the evil overlords.

So isn't it about time we walked away from this mire of deception and doublespeak? I mean, it's not like the DIY alternative costs a lot of money. There are forty-seven and a half bucketloads of free indie software out there, and creating a personal server on Linux has been heavily simplified by packages such as YunoHost and FreedomBox. We can install a personal search engine directly from a Linux package manager. We can host a website from our lounge. We can run our own online communication services. So why don't we take the DIY route?...

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Is The Downfall of Cloudflare Nigh?

"The nemesis for Cloudflare could prove to be the very thing it claims it's there to protect against. What would happen if bots reached critical mass?..."

Cloudflare. It presents itself as a protection mechanism, defending websites against attackers and other unwanted visitors. But a growing group of digital freedom-fighters consider Cloudflare a dire threat to both privacy and liberty.

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Backlit Privacy Statement

This site is hosted on Neocities, whose data-handling disclosure can be found in the platform's main Privacy Policy.

As a separate entity, the administrator of this individual site does not implement tracking technologies, or any other third party resources, including analytics routines, remote fonts, sharing and social media widgets, remote pixels, ad-tech, and content delivery networks.

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Search 101: How to Find the Lost Web

"Privacy activists have a heightened sense of the way censorship works hand in hand with surveillance to build the classic picture of Nineteen Eighty-Four. And when we know a search engine is capable of giving us accurate, relevant results, but doesn't, we realise we're seeing a form of censorship."

Google's lost the internet. You might have seen a few complaints. Whether they've come courtesy of anons in the underbelly of the Fediverse, or a viral soundbyte from Edward Snowden, a growing catalogue of gripes is asserting that web search is no longer fit for purpose. Well, unless web search's purpose is to detect capitalism. In which case thumbs up. The search engines are better than ever at that. They now surface ecommerce, ad-tech, and affiliate-pumped listicle hell so reliably that we barely even need to enter a search term.

But the internet we used to know and love, brimming with offbeat gems from passionate authors... That's gone missing. And with it, the humour. The imagination. The individuality... Maybe we've just forgotten how to use a search engine?...

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About Backlit

"This has long gone past "but we're just interested in your shopping preferences". This is now about controlling the world."

It's become commonplace for online privacy advice to read like a marketing pitch for alternative services or products... "Use GNU/Linux instead of Windows, Mastodon instead of Twitter, DuckDuckGo instead of Google search, Tutanota instead of Outlook/Gmail, Firefox instead of Chrome..." and so on.

If only gaining freedom from the cyber age's glut of megalomanic corporations were that simple.

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