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Thread: "I Cut the Big Five Tech Giants From My Life. It Was Hell."

  1. #1
    Goladus's Avatar
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    Jun 2003
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    "I Cut the Big Five Tech Giants From My Life. It Was Hell."

    Critics of the big tech companies are often told, “If you don’t like the company, don’t use its products.” I did this experiment to find out if that is possible, and I found out that it’s not—with the exception of Apple.

    These companies are unavoidable because they control internet infrastructure, online commerce, and information flows. Many of them specialize in tracking you around the web, whether you use their products or not. These companies started out selling books, offering search results, or showcasing college hotties, but they have expanded enormously and now touch almost every online interaction. These companies look a lot like modern monopolies.

    Since the experiment ended, I’ve resumed using the tech giants’ services, but I use them less. I deliberately seek out alternatives to do what I can, as a consumer, not to help them monopolize the market.
    While I do think her experiment might have been a bit extreme, I really like the focus on how these companies limit your freedom as much as the focus on privacy. While privacy is obviously important, it quickly becomes an abstract issue. Freedom is much less abstract.

    What if amazon bans you from selling on their site?
    What if you get banned by payment processors?
    What if you get banned from your email account?
    What if your site is banned or forcibly deranked by google search?
    What if hosting platforms ban you?
    What if your domain registration is revoked?

    Imagine that some employee of a big tech company accuses you of something totally false (say, being a Russian spy) and uses their influence to, without any sort of due process whatsoever, get you banned from using any of the major tech platforms to communicate with others or or engage in commerce. Who will stick up for you if that happens? Would you be brave enough to stick up for someone else? Or would you fear being banned yourself? Or would it even occur to you to wonder whether there was any injustice involved? Maybe you'd just suddenly rethink your opinion of your former friend and figure he must have deserved it.

    At least it's not like actual communist Russia where you'd be sent off to the gulag to die, or being accused of witchcraft in Salem 1962. This is just a bit of an inconvenience. You can Lawyer up and try your luck against Google. You can go cash-only or use ponzi-coin and try to sell your book or whatever on the dark web. It's only a little bit like tyranny. Besides it's only against MAGA-hat wearing subhumans who deserve to thrown into a woodchipper anyway, so who cares?

  2. #2
    Ellsworth M. Toohey
    PPatty's Avatar
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    Jun 2003

    Re: "I Cut the Big Five Tech Giants From My Life. It Was Hell."

    It's not hard at all to cut most of those companies out of your life on the surface -- the biggest difficulty would be cutting out both Microsoft and Apple, but even that's doable for anyone willing to rely solely on Linux. The hard part is that you will inevitably run into them under the hood, because so many companies rely on them on the back end -- if you do anything on the Internet, you will quickly run into a site that uses AWS or Azure or Google Cloud services, and/or an ad delivery service involving Google or Microsoft.

    But even that is doable, arguably even fairly easy, from a technical standpoint. Millions, perhaps even billions, of people around the world go through their daily lives without touching your Big Five at all.

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