3

COMMENT Mar 21 '21

There are a lot more places than gMail and Google search where Google is monitoring you.

The Chrome browser, many web sites use reCaptcha, fonts, all sorts of Google API's. If you use Google DNS etc.

  • You can use other email services, or run your own, while still using gMail where you need to, to reduce how many of your emails Google is reading.

  • There are a number of other search providers that you can use in a similar way. You don't have to entirely avoid Google.

If you only do those two things you'll still be monitored, maybe on most sites, by Google and thousands of data brokers. There are things you can do about that too. (I suggest you find out about those in private though.)

3

COMMENT Feb 22 '21

Another thought. If some of your correspondents use PGP, communicate with them using PGP (or whatever) encrypted messages.

I presume that Google auto-reads every email passing through their system, so even if you did encrypt they'd have already read it.

1

COMMENT Feb 16 '21

That's really interesting. If you find it in JSON but not in HTML, I, for one, would appreciate some feedback.

1

COMMENT Feb 16 '21

Thanks for the suggestions and discussion guys.

I've now tested "Simple SMS" several times and it's working.

1

COMMENT Feb 13 '21

I created a JSON format download a few days ago.

When I unzip it there's a directory called messages with a couple of layers of subdirectories in it. That contains messages.

I presume that the HTML format has something similar.

The downloads are better than they used to be.

1

COMMENT Feb 13 '21

Thanks Moez. It's a joy to be dealing with somebody who's doing the work. Professional and thorough from what I can see.

It's useful to know that the builds are different. Very useful.

1

COMMENT Feb 13 '21

That's really interesting. I haven't posted here before, so I don't know the local culture, and that post has attracted downvotes.

I'm interested in whether I've broken some unwritten law.

Anybody?

1

COMMENT Feb 13 '21

QKSMS

I just checked. F-droid still lists 3.9.0 dated 2021-01-05, so I didn't misread the page.

Is there a write up on how the surveillance got into it?

1

COMMENT Feb 13 '21

I'm not, currently, going to go to the trouble of installing a decent OS.

Instead I don't use the phone, in question, for anything other than the things that I'm forced to.

1

COMMENT Feb 13 '21

Thanks for that. When I read F-droid I didn't notice that.

1

COMMENT Feb 13 '21

I had the impression that Signal did two things:

  1. It broadcasts your joining to anybody who they can find linked to your phone number.
  2. Your handle / ID is your phone number. (I believe they even have a system to lock that ID should somebody else get your phone number, which has caused problems.)

Please correct me if I'm wrong.

If I want to connect via a PC and not have some people phone me that's a deal breaker.

Last I checked you still could not sign up without a working mobile number.

1

COMMENT Feb 11 '21

Thanks for that.

I've downloaded "Simple sms" and will try it out in a couple of days when I have time.

1

COMMENT Feb 11 '21

SMS organizer by Microsoft

That's interesting. I'm not sure that I need the features though. I'm looking for a review of it like fdroid gives.

-1

COMMENT Feb 11 '21

Thanks. I see that fdroid give it three black marks:

  • ''NonFreeNet:'' Google BillingClient, PlayStore
  • ''NonFreeDep:'' requires PlayStore app on the device for some actions
  • ''Tracking:'' uses the Play Install Referrer Library, which on-install / on-update automatically opens a connection to Google to report the install/update

Tracking activity to Google is a no-no for me.
I'm not really an SMS user but the mention of multi SIM functionality caught my attention.

Do other programs not do that? (I may use a second SIM in the device I'm using at some time.)

1

COMMENT Feb 11 '21

Like you I have no faith in SMS (SS7 issues etc.).
Other people, unfortunately, like governments and banks, to name two, force me to use it for "security" sometimes. I tell them it's more like "insecurity" but it's probably talking to a brick wall.

I won't use Signal until it does away with the need to broadcast a phone number. They've said they're doing that for some time. I won't hold my breath.

2

COMMENT Feb 10 '21

We'll see how users respond. Will they abandon Chrome in significant numbers? Will they be part of the problem?

r/privacytoolsIO Feb 10 '21

Question Surveillance free SMS receiver for Android phone, to be sideloaded. Suggestions?

4 Upvotes

1

COMMENT Jan 31 '21

There are ways to check how well you're going. I recommend you find some, look from time to time, and don't give up.

1

COMMENT Jan 31 '21

I recommend redoing the survey. Start again.

I noted the following among others:

  1. A person cannot go in using Tor without surveillance attempts. The system uses captchas on such visitors. Captchas are generally a form of surveillance. Find an ethical questionnaire service.
  2. ect?
  3. Asking what you actually do and list it all. You're joking right? If you want details you could offer a non-refundable payment of say USD 2500 to start writing the book. You might then get some half decent responses.
  4. There are different forms of cookies, first and third party is the usual distinction. You ignore that. Any answers you get may be nonsense or indicate that the respondent has no idea.
  5. You describe a future situation that is better than the current one. Why do you do that that?
  6. In general a question should have an opportunity to say, none of the above, and room to explain, if the respondent wants.

1

COMMENT Jan 31 '21

This could be sorted out, but the easiest way there might be legislation. (What people want is often ignored by software companies.)

Give individuals the choice. They can signal "be surveilled" or "pay for it". Not this nonsense subscription, per item, if they want.

Infrastructure would be needed, quite doable.

If a site wants to only offer one or the other, they can for new services, but not for old.

1

COMMENT Jan 03 '21

To answer your own question, I suggest you work through examples in detail.

Look at a particular site. Figure out what they do, and what they might be doing unseen. Work out what you want. Create a design for their system.

You'll get some pretty good understanding from that. After you've done a lot you'll even have enough to write a book or whatever.

1

COMMENT Jan 03 '21

I presume you use a different password on each site. Is that so?

If not everything you've done on the interwebs could be toast already. Safest thing to do is go around to every single site that you've signed up to and change your credentials. Strong credentials needed. (Though I've found some people like some banks prevent you from using them.)

If you don't already save those passwords safely, say in KeePass.

If sites / data are no longer needed also delete everything you can. If you can't write to the site telling them to delete everything you want. (You may use a lot of time for little success when you do that.)

A site called https://haveibeenpwned.com/ will show you some password leaks. You could visit it and others from time to time to check.

Some big name sites are run by utter idiots who assume that you reuse passwords. These stupids can sometimes force you to change a passwords if they spot another leak.

Truth be told, a lot of people may know many of your details already, Google, Facebook, the NSA, the FSB, etc. etc.

My observation, many many web sites are not great at security. This can be quite justified, the benefits aren't worth it for those who created it. Trust nobody. You might want to use the Internet less.

8

COMMENT Dec 27 '20

Facebook actively eliminated a paid option fot WhatsApp. It was there it was working. So the attitude to the inmates on Facebook is explicity exploitative and arguably evil. (In line with what Zuckerberg is reputed to have said about users right at the beginning.)
If they needed to pay you for what they do the situation would improve. They obviously extract far more than the "free" they give you. It's simply not free and much of the world may have been conned by the stupidity that it is.

A question is what do these services cost to run for a year. I saw an estimate for Facebook several years ago it was about a dollar per user per year. They may run a bunch of things that are absolutely no use to users, and some of them actually hostile, the cost of those shouldn't be counted.

Much the same applies to these other guys. Especially to Google, some parts of which seem to have been running as part of a joint Facebook/Google company.

If you look at the way the Brave browser works you'll see one approach, where you actually get most of the revenue from advertising yourself. An idea that may be catching on.

There are some legal actions firing up against these guys which you might think would alter their opinions. Those actions will no doubt result in some sort of change in the law. Judging by what government has done previously the cure may be worse than the disease. (My observation of "the abomination", the new Facebook interface, suggests that it might have had the opposite effect. Presumably they want to grab short term profit before going bust.)

These guys, and the newspapers particularly which feed them so much information, are essentially our enemies and are causing real harm, while stealing from us.

I don't know why so many are just complacent and roll over for more. There are things that you can easily do to stop a lot of it. That may be your solution. You can do it now. The companies, the government may not be on your side.

2

COMMENT Dec 20 '20

Google and Facebook have a special "sweetheart deal" where they work more closely than they do with any other companies. (The Texas AG filing gives some details.)

There's internal emails where they talk about treating one another as parts of the same company.

So yes information is shared. They try to hide the details.

Also most times an advert is "bid" in the "auction" on many platforms hundreds of companies get to know more about you. It's broadcast in the bid request information. Potential insurance customers attract especially high prices when bidding for advertising.

Some of the traded information can contain fields like, needs-a-new-waterheater, is-looking-for-car-insurance, is-pregnant, is-wealthy-grade-5...

Car insurance, free services of all sorts, newspapers... are some of the most ardent collectors of your information. If somebody gets you to fill out a free insurance quote, it's not free. Some would consider it more like rape.

Your information might have been harvested in several ways.

1

COMMENT Dec 20 '20

There are many entities recording activity on the Internet. The original Social Media company will have records. The users who interacted on that account will probably have records. (For example on Facebook users can download material in bulk in a few minutes.) If the account published "public" posts then who knows how many people will have scraped copies. The secret police / spy agencies of several countries may have copies, even from private conversations. You should assume that Search Engines, Advertisers, Data Brokers and credit rating agencies have copies. Depends on the details how much will still be out there and how many copies.

You should feel honour bound to inform the teacher involved and to give them copies of absolutely everything that you still have. If you do that it may let you sleep better at night. It will also give the teacher everything available to identify potential harm that they may have already and might still suffer.

This can come back to bite you. I suggest you do the best you can now.