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 Post subject: Boycotting Google
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2020 8:47 pm 
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Hi Osdev Brethren,
This is a recent social experiment of mine. I am trying to boycott google and its services for personal reasons and my own personal reasons of privacy. If any of you are on the same path or have succeeded in doing so, Please let me know your hints,tips and methods. Thanks for your replies in advances.

--Thomas.


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 Post subject: Re: Boycotting Google
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2020 11:19 pm 
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Location: Tartu, Estonia
My experience is that some things are hard to avoid, since many websites use services like Google fonts, search API, maps API or ReCaptcha under the hood. Some of them (like fonts loading) I have blocked, but there are others (like captcha) without which those websites simply cease to work. Which is a pity. But using a different search engine (I prefer DuckDuckGo), cloud storage, mail provider etc. works quite well.

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 Post subject: Re: Boycotting Google
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:38 am 
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I use Duckduckgo as a search engine and am satisfied with it.
https://duckduckgo.com

Unfortunately my Smartphone is an Android phone. And Android is Google. I am scared yet to "flash" the phone with Lineage OS.

Greetings
Peter

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 Post subject: Re: Boycotting Google
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:45 am 
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Location: Chichester, UK
https://theoutline.com/post/2090/you-ca ... i=tedqk5zf

In any case, I'm not sure that I trust Apple or Microsoft any more than I trust Google. And I do find a mobile phone useful.


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 Post subject: Re: Boycotting Google
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2020 8:09 am 
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Here's a link how to get rid of Google's Android on a smartphone:
https://www.howtogeek.com/348545/how-to ... n-android/

Greetings
Peter

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 Post subject: Re: Boycotting Google
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2020 9:24 am 
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Or one could just buy a Chinese mobile (Xiaomi, ZTE, Huawei etc.). The hardware is exactly the same (actually made in the same factory as iPhone / Galaxy / etc. on exactly the same production line; except for the last branding step).

However in this case it won't be the US company and CIA spying on you, but the Chinese gov. Pick your poison :-)

Cheers,
bzt


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 Post subject: Re: Boycotting Google
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2020 9:50 am 
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Note also that at least some phone providers' phone and data plans (T-Mobile is one I know about, since I recently asked them) will not support any phone or device which wasn't purchased or rented through them, and most won't allow a device from another service (or no service at all) to be connected via their data plan.

I asked because I was thinking of how you would use cellphone/data hats on maker class devices, but from what i was told, it applies to other cellphones, and to cellphones re-flashed with a different OS.

That's T-Mobile's story; you would have to see what your providers say to know whether they are any different about that.

This is mostly a matter of support, mind you. They want their system tightly controlled for cost reasons, and aren't going to want to field support calls for hardware or operating systems they've never heard of before.

It sucks, but it isn't a freedom issue to them, it's a practicality one. Freedom doesn't enter into the equation, not because they want to oppress or control you, but because they can't make money selling liberty to you (though they will tell you they are, all the time).

The fact that it makes data mining you easier is also a big part of it, of course, but not as much as you'd think - it isn't as if they can't skim most of the data from your unencrypted traffic, anyway, and most people have no idea how little of it is actually encrypted by default.

Most of what they want to get is avail;able to them through basic signal analysis anyway - they are less interested in who you are sending IMs to and what you are saying, than about what stores you shop at and what doctors you visit, so just having your location data (even if only via the cellphone tower hits) does 90% of their job. The rest is in knowing what websites you are going to, and that they will get no matter what since they need to be able to route the packets. Even using TOR or similar routing spoofs only helps so much, since they will at least know that you are using those services.

The only secure data line is one which has been rendered inoperable.

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 Post subject: Re: Boycotting Google
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2020 5:56 pm 
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Oh and I forgot to mention my email "independence":
I got some cheap webspace with domain. I pay 48 Euro per year (if you can calculate you know that this means only 2 Euro per month) and I got email addresses with it. Now I have a webspace dusting in the sun without any content in it. But I also have the mentioned email addresses. So I don't need the gmail (Google Mail) address I used before, anymore.

EDIT: Hah I can't calculate myself! It's 4 Euro per month.

Greetings
Peter

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 Post subject: Re: Boycotting Google
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2020 9:13 pm 
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Schol-R-LEA wrote:
Note also that at least some phone providers' phone and data plans (T-Mobile is one I know about, since I recently asked them) will not support any phone or device which wasn't purchased or rented through them
Hahahahahaha, don't buy their bullshit! They want your money, of course they say that! :-D :-D :-D

Rest assured, you can use any SIM card with a factory default phone. Actually it is the provider that puts a small software in the branded firmware to check the SIM card and show the operator logo, but the phone works without these just fine.
If you update any phone with its factory default firmware (no jailbreak required, all Android phones has a firmware update boot mode), then it becomes provider-independent, and will work with ANY provider, but naturally providers don't tell you how simple this is ;-) They rather say buy from us!

P.S: I did this with all my phones in the past, never ever had problems (Nokia, Samsung, ZTE, etc. dumb-phones, smart-phones, you name it). TBH I only started checking firmware-flashing because I hated that f*cking loud T-Mobile chime on start up ever since I bought my first phone...

Cheers,
bzt


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 Post subject: Re: Boycotting Google
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2020 1:28 am 
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Schol-R-LEA wrote:
T-Mobile

Their offer to let you bring your own phone is quite prominent. The "no support" disclaimer just means they won't be able to help you if your phone isn't compatible.


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 Post subject: Re: Boycotting Google
PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2020 1:59 am 
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i hate google and other companies that use your data behind your back. Unfortunately lot of companies do that including amazon and ibm where recent news coverage illustrates that they have been cooperating with government for their face recogniztion. But google is notorious.

it sucks that i carry android but i dont like iphone either. Perhaps the way you fool them is to have complete alias online presence. I set up at last 5-6 different google accounts with various names to impersonate no-one and periodically switch easily between profiles using the chrome browser.

gmap also sucks as they ever changing interface, perpetually sugesting something you dont need or want. it is very difficult and getting more and more difficult to use the google map as they are loaded with bullshits and draining the phone resources, slowing down and always have to deal with feature suggestions which creates hazard specially if you are on the road.

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 Post subject: Re: Boycotting Google
PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2020 2:18 am 
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ggodw000 wrote:
i hate google and other companies that use your data behind your back.
While I sympathize, I disagree. Google is providing a lot of service free of charge to us plebs. Of course that means we're the product, not the customer, but still, imagine a world in which no company did that. Imagine having to pay for every inquiry to a search engine, imagine having to buy a map program, and then buying the updates to the maps every so often. The "behind your back" part might be objectionable, yes, but it does keep the prices down. And in the end, that is what most people care about.

Honestly, try running a website with any kind of login facility. Try rolling your own, I'm sure you will get in the news for it.
ggodw000 wrote:
it sucks that i carry android but i dont like iphone either
You know, you could buy a Linux phone like a Purism Librem. Costs you a lot more. If you moan about that, you only prove my above point.
ggodw000 wrote:
gmap also sucks
I know of no other live traffic service. Which I do believe is fuelled by Android phones. I'll leave on a journey in a bit, and I have a road construction site just a dew kilometers away from here, so I want to know how bad it is and if it is worth it to circumvent before leaving. I can do that with gmaps, not with any other service I am aware of.

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 Post subject: Re: Boycotting Google
PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2020 4:50 am 
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ggodw000 wrote:
I set up at last 5-6 different google accounts with various names to impersonate no-one and periodically switch easily between profiles using the chrome browser.

That's not gonna save you. Because Google can find out by the data you give to them (if you want it or not) that you are the same person. One of these many data is the IP address. Maybe different proxies would help here, but there are other data like preferences, location, daytime and what not... I've read an article about that in a magazine.

But trying to get away from Google is the first step to independence. Because if one doesn't care about that like most internet and Android users, then one is "trapped" in the Google cage. It is a golden cage, but still a cage. You are not Google's customer, you are their ware.

I must admit that I still am not 100% consequently avoiding Google and Amazon. And (As I said) I am scared to flash my phone, because it's a huge step with a lot of consequences.

BTW: Duckduckgo has maps, too.

Greetings
Peter

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 Post subject: Re: Boycotting Google
PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2020 9:33 am 
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Octocontrabass wrote:
Schol-R-LEA wrote:
T-Mobile

Their offer to let you bring your own phone is quite prominent. The "no support" disclaimer just means they won't be able to help you if your phone isn't compatible.


Ah, perhaps I need to speak to that one rep's manager, then. It probably isn't worth the trouble, though. Especially since I was specifically discussing 4G-enabled devices aside from phones, which may actually be off the table (or might simply have thrown him off).

Getting back to the topic at hand, I also asked about other mobile OSes, and they seemed to be confused - they didn't think it was possible to put an OS other than Android on an LG phone (which may be true for that brand, for all I know, but AFAICT it should be possible). The idea of a mobile-enabled device other than a phone or a tablet definitely didn't seem to be familiar to them.

More to the point, not using an established mobile OS such as Android or iOS isn't realistic for most people, not because of the issue of flashing the phone or the OS itself, but because people don't use Android - they use Android apps. It is the application ecosystem that matters. As I said when the topic of the Huawei ban came up, the real issue for any new mobile OS is getting all the companies such as Amazon, Walmart, and Bank of America on-board with system-specific versions of their mobile apps - while they all have decent mobile webapp support, few casual users would find using the web browser for shopping and banking acceptable.

Now, in this context, that's probably a good thing, since they are every bit as aggressive as Google in their data strip-mining, and having more control over that would be a plus for anyone looking for that sort of anonymity.

While I still think that any attempt at such is a fool's errand - there simply are far too many forms of sigintel which are being applied by these companies and governments for you to escape all or even most of it - avoiding the mobile apps is a better place to start, since that's at least something you can control (and you can use anonymizers for the web connections, which you ordinarily can't with the mobile apps since that would defeat the purpose of them, both from the purchaser's perspective, and the provider's).

So I repeat: no computer or data link which is actually operational is secure. Period. Mitigation is a possibility, but not actual security.

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μή εἶναι βασιλικήν ἀτραπόν ἐπί γεωμετρίαν
Lisp programmers tend to seem very odd to outsiders, just like anyone else who has had a religious experience they can't quite explain to others.


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 Post subject: Re: Boycotting Google
PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2020 12:40 pm 
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Schol-R-LEA wrote:
More to the point, not using an established mobile OS such as Android or iOS isn't realistic for most people, not because of the issue of flashing the phone or the OS itself, but because people don't use Android - they use Android apps. It is the application ecosystem that matters.

I think it's absolutely true. Not for me, I nearly use only generic apps (mail, SMS, phone, editor, browser) and open source apps (Telegram). OK I use a weather app and What's app, but I could drop both of them without having a big loss. But for most people it is true. There are fitness apps, navigation apps, nutrition apps and so on. People want and need them. And not to forget smartphone games, a big thing.

EDIT: Sorry, but I made a mistake: Telegram is not open source. But I could use Riot.im instead.

Greetings
Peter

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