As I briefly covered in my about me section, I am a self-proclaimed Geek. I absolutely love technology and if I really could afford it I would own every tech gadget as soon as it is released. The struggle of being a Geek though is
a) I do not have unlimited funds
b) I am also aware of how many companies hold data about you and how many of them are unable to keep your data safe.
I have slowly started to clear some of my digital life from online and doing this is not as simple as deleting your account because so many companies have shown that delete doesn’t actually mean delete it simply means set visibility to zero. This is a problem because if a company is hacked your data is left exposed but also a company can use that data as they like.
I was an early adopter of Facebook, all my friends were using myspace which at the time I was having lots of issues with myspace not storing my photos. So out of frustration I went looking for an alternative and found Facebook, all my photos uploaded fast and looked good and I was hooked. Several years later Facebook had become a place with pictures of peoples food and constant moaning and so I left.
Several years later I decided to sign up to facebook again because I was launching a new website and wanted to have a place to post links to help promote my early work. To my surprise Facebook already had so much data about me from photos, statuses and location data of those close to me, this is referred to as “shadow profiles” and when I signed up boom facebook had tied me back to this information.
Over the past two to three months Facebook has been in the news for security breaches that are basic errors that a company of its size should not be making. This has left me wondering should I be trusting my data to them? A lot of family and friends still use facebook and the groups feature is still a useful place to discuss topics of interest. I have started to delete my photos and old statuses and man what a headache. Facebook doesn’t make it easy to delete all these things.
Instagram is a place where I have been uploading images for years and as it is owned by Facebook your data is also not really deleted. I decided to request a copy of my data and so many things that should have been automatically deleted such as stories that they say deletes after 24 hours were still there and so I decided to end my account. I deleted a lot of my images and closed my account and I am not convinved that my account has really deleted but it’s the best I can do.
Google the Alternative
For years Google has been in the news as the Company that invades your privacy, from scanning your emails for an advertisement to recording your voice data using your phone. However, I find that Google offers more useful things when it uses your data. I am at a stage in my life where I have to decide which is the lesser of two evils.
Currently, Google is showing me just how they use my data, they do not hide the fact that they store your data and use it to advertise to you. Google photos lets you store your images for free and share them with whoever you want. I am ok with being advertised to in exchange for a free service.
Google is more concerned with security than Facebook who’s own motto was “move fast and break things”. I am fine with a company moving fast and trying something new and making mistakes but not with them making basic mistakes such as leaving a users password exposed in plain text for all to see.
Digital Nomad in the making
I have decided that I am going to try being a Digital Nomad! I will use services to my advantage until I have exhausted their resources and then move on to a service or product that offers something better. Currently, I am replacing my public Instagram with my Google Album which users can follow here.
Thoughts to close
All these thoughts have been rushing through my head for the past several weeks and to some extent, I have hashed these out in writing for my Geek Corner website. I have not been able to voice my concerns in length and so it is nice to write it down even if nobody else ever sees this. This is where I realise that the whole point of my blog is it is a place for me to unload and actually make me focus on the issues one by one. Now my coffee cup is empty and time is ticking along, I’m off to continue my day and prepare for my next post. See you all again.