Shutting down Facebook & Google

Last year I was starting to get really annoyed by getting targeted ads because of third party cookies, and in general about the lack of privacy on the internets

I made the decision to not depend on a couple of big companies anymore for all my data in the cloud and to pay for the services I really needed & use the proper Firefox addons to cut down on the ads.

I slowly moved away from Google.

I moved to NewsBlur instead of Google Reader - before Reader was planned to be stopped.

I moved from Gmail to fastmail.fm. That was the hardest one because I was on Gmail since 2004. Fastmail, it turns out, has its servers in the U.S. too, but I guess having a separate service for my e-mails is breaking the all-things-at-google scheme. I am also trying to have my network use PGP when we exchange e-mails, so they're stored encrypted on those servers I don't own.

Last, I moved from the Google search engine to DuckDuckGo, then to StartPage. The latter gives better results than DuckDuckGo in general because it's a proxy on the top of Google search engine. It just secures your privacy and unlike DDG, you won't get Amazon referral links in your results I'd rather pay a yearly rate at DDG rather than this referral system.

Anyways, I kept my Google account for two reasons: redirecting mails to my fastmail account and using Google+ because I like this service a lot. The redirection is not important anymore. After over a year of redirection - people should know how to reach me :)

I also had Facebook to stay connected with my non-geek friends mostly. I also use Twitter a lot.

However, the recent privacy scandals made me think a bit about how I use all these services.

First of all, G+ and Facebook provide features to share privately some data to a specific set of people. We've seen that our privacy is not guaranteed. They'll give your data away if they're asked.

And well, they are commercial companies that need to sell ads, so your private content is used anyways. Just look at the ads that are displayed besides your e-mail when you use GMail.

So while there's an incentive to let you share data thinking it's not public, shit happens. So I don't see the point of pushing anything non-public in those silos. And it turns out that I am mostly a consumer. Too bad G+ is a private club and you can't see its content if you don't have a Google account.

If I have cool stuff to talk about, I can blog and probably do a better job in one blog post than in numerous G+ or FB posts.

Twitter on the other hand, is mostly shouting out in public your opinions, promoting your projects. I barely use the DM feature.

Twitter is not different of course from Google & Facebook - they need to sell ads and your data is used for this, but at least it's easier to control that you're only pushing public stuff.

Given all of this, I have deleted my Google and Facebook accounts yesterday

(well, for FB unfortunately I reactivated it today because I lost access to my Spotify Premium account - so until this is solved, my FB is still active but it's a matter of days.)

All of this if of course is the tip of the iceberg since we eventually found out that governments can just extract content from the flow that goes through undersea cables.

But what I am doing is still important. It's a political act that will shape the future if we're a bunch of people acting like this. We need to show through our online habits and actions that we care about our privacy.

On the phone side, I guess I am in a pretty good shape since I use Firefox OS. The only part that worries me now is the hardware.

Now my next task is to teach my kids how important privacy is, so that they clearly understand what's going on when they are using the internets.

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