The world of GAFAM and how to treat it - part 2

The world of GAFAM and how to treat it - part 2

This is the continuation of part 1 of article about treating GAFAM's world. If you want to read it, go here.

Hitherto innovative, nowadays boring (and too big)

I am saying this in regards of Apple. Back in 1984 they presented Macintosh, which was successful, and in 2007 - an iPhone. They weren't the first, though. Their marketing tactics they use even today still work and... that is all good I can tell about Apple.

Their commercials do look astonishing, but the insane vendor lock-in they introduce is beyond my understanding. Let's say you buy an iPhone, take a lot of photos, and you're nearing disk space exhaustion. In case of an Android phone you would simply go to the store and buy a memory card. You pay once to expand your memory.

An iPhone wants you to pay monthly for a cloud storage expansion on iCloud - iPhones don't support external memory cards and I don't think they will unless EU pressurises them - like with a charging port. Funnily enough Apple calls their USB-C charging port "innovative". No, it's completely not because the problem of various charging ports was finally resolved, which EU was fighting for over a decade if not more. Pun intended.

I don't like Android too (because it is maintained by Google), but it at least allows me to install a custom ROM if I wanted to. I am silently waiting for a Linux-based phone that could be used as a daily driver.

By that, I am not going to daily drive Apple electronics even if these were already paid for. Instead I'd take them back to the store, request a refund and get something else. Polish law fortunately allows me to request a full refund at least up to 14 days starting the day when something was bought, at least over the Internet.

I particularly hate Apple because they do privacywashing as often as possible. Look up for their adverts about medical data, or their spots about personal data usage. Then go back here, reread this section, and look up for articles anywhere else successfully contravening Apple's privacywashing. In conclusion it's not worth having an iPhone, really. And refusing to use an iPhone prevents Apple from making yet another digital colony - like what they've done with the USA.

I am really cautious when it comes to some corporation promoting "privacy-friendly" proprietary products, and Apple's no exception. It's dangerous how they create a picture of them being the saviours, while on the other side secretly sharing your data with governments and data brokers. That's why pushing for open source products is important like never before.

Big Brother Awards multiple winner

Microsoft is really unlucky coming to the BBA. They won those "awards of shame" several times with the last time being year 2023.

Back in the 90s, when Microsoft had a really dominant position if not even monopolised the operating systems market, it was alleged they required all PC manufacturers to include Internet Explorer by default, and that "IE removal caused Windows slowdowns and malfunctions".

I heard multiple opinions regarding Windows slugishness even today, and despite of such opinions switch is impossible because of "games" (the most highlighted reason a switch would fail to satisfy a not-so-technical person). Turns out Linux users can play games normally - thanks to Steam contributions in particular. If you have an account there, you're rescued in a lot of cases. If it wasn't for them, Linux would be still in its "technical-people-only" niche.

Microsoft also buys into schools, universities and workplaces: "thanks" to such agreements, many school pupils don't know anything besides Microsoft Office and Windows. They are indoctrinated since early years at school, thus scared to try out an alternative when they leave school.

And if you can't move your taskbar to the top of your screen, then something must be wrong here. Microsoft quoted it "would require a huge work to make it work". Again, big corpo shenanigans - we can't do it, but some random developer on some e.g. Linux desktop environment allows you to even put a custom padding on the taskbar and border radius if you really wanted to. (Yes, I am a #TaskbarOnTop gang, AMA.)

Not to mention if schools would transition to teach people use free and open source office tools like LibreOffice or operating systems like Linux, their financial situation would be more stable.

Buying is not owning?

I am reaching onto last of Big Five of tech sector - Amazon. Their crime? Forcing DRM, and being one of the online shopping monopolies.

For those who don't know what DRM is, it's officially called "Digital Rights Management", and its official statement is to "protect copyright holders from digital theft". It doesn't work, by the way. To this extent Rockstar Games was selling cracked (i.e. DRM-free) copies of their Grand Theft Auto. Seriously.

E-books bought via Kindle seem to be vulnerable, too. It was revealed in 2009 that thousands of Americans having their Kindle readers weren't able to access 1984, a George Orwell's book. It's really important to store physical media, because no one would come to your house anytime and say "hey, you don't own rights to this book, and we're taking it away from you". If you bought a physical book, it's truly yours - for as long as you decide to either give away, or sell it.

Amazon is also known for their online store. And yes, their number of listings is powerful. However, at what cost? Their workers are working under exaggerated conditions for not so great salary.

What to do? Drop Amazon, and shop at your local online store. In Poland, we have Allegro - which is a first go-to website if you wanted to buy something online. But what's the difference? Allegro only helps facilitate the process - with the buyers and sellers doing the rest in a lot of cases.

Let's sum it up

There is a way to avoid Big Tech in a manner other people may understand your concerns. In fact, a lot of alternative programs exist for the most popular ones. If you are not technical enough ask someone who can teach you using e.g. Signal to communicate, or how to delete your Facebook / Instagram account if you are not keen to use it anymore.

When doing a digital migration, do it at your own pace. Remember to not overwhelm yourself with everything at once. Do small steps instead in order to make your digital footprint less appealing to others.

If you can, convince others to do the same. If you feel lost - there are forums and blogs to help you.

This article was written by

slavistapl

I am the owner and lead developer of Peekr. I also helped Nove find some security issues, and in the spare time I learn Hungarian. Facebook-free since 2023.04.30, now it is me helping others to regain digital independence.

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Comments

  • dawid avatar

    dawid

    nice