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General => General Discussion => Topic started by: cfx795 on January 24, 2018, 04:09:13 am

Title: Google's Steely Tentacles.
Post by: cfx795 on January 24, 2018, 04:09:13 am
I didn't find it terribly hard to distance myself from the world of Microsoft, especially once I'd deployed Linux in its place. I had a brief fling with Skype, but that was years ago, probably before it was owned by Microsoft. I can't really think of any Microsoft product I'm using at the moment.

Google's a different matter. I've been pretty wrapped up and entangled in the Google universe for the last few years. I've had Chromebooks, and right now I'm in a temporary situation where I am using just the Chromebook until I can get a Linux laptop up and running, probably with tax refunds a little later this winter - so in a few weeks. I was reading an 8-part series of articles by Brian Lunduke at Network World. I think the first one I read was "Part 4" where he talks about ditching GMail and using another mail system. https://www.networkworld.com/article/2977884/opensource-subnet/kicking-google-out-of-my-life-part-8-will-i-ever-go-back.html

I feel this same urge to disentangle myself from Google. Call it instinct. All the tracking and using my information, it's starting to bug me. So, I've made similar adjustments...

Strangely enough, even during this interim in which I'm using an actual Chromebook, there are still some non-Google products to begin with. I established an account with Fastmail, I'm using Duck Duck Go as my default search engine. There's this pCloud storage to replace Google Drive, which I think will work fine. I don't really think I'm going to really miss these particular Google products, but like Lunduke summarizes in part 8, there, there are a couple sticking points - well, at least one. I haven't found any perfect replacement for Hangouts. Namely, for me, free texting and calling from my laptop. I'm not hugely infatuated with my smartphone.

I think Lastpass (password manager) can be installed on Firefox, adblock, no problem. Most of these things probably aren't too difficult to switch over and avoid Google.  I think Hangouts is the sticking point. I have that Google phone number that I've used for years, and I'm not eager to lose it. I've actually used it as my primary contact. If I'm going to retain Hangouts and that phone number, obviously I can't just delete my Google account.

As I've indicated in other posts, I plan to get one of these Dell Latitude laptops, run Peppermint 7 or 8, and probably Firefox as the default browser. I'm not far enough into this thing to say for sure whether I will go completely sans-Google. But maybe that shouldn't be the ultimate goal... or should it? Google didn't get to be Google by not having any good ideas... Maybe best not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Title: Re: Google's Steely Tentacles.
Post by: mac on January 24, 2018, 09:16:01 am
Hi cfx795
Take a look at zoho.com.  It won't solve all your problems but it's a good start.  They are pushing it for business use but it works great for personal use and it is free.  I've used it for years and have had no problems with it. 

cheers
Title: Re: Google's Steely Tentacles.
Post by: emegra on January 24, 2018, 09:23:09 am
I'm with mac on this I felt exactly like you and moved from gmail to zoho a couple of years ago and it's been first class


Good luck however you go



Graeme
Title: Re: Google's Steely Tentacles.
Post by: scifidude79 on January 24, 2018, 09:27:48 am
DuckDuckGo is a great search engine.  And, it's nice to know that there's a decent alternative to Gmail.  I've been with Gmail since it was the alternative.  (mostly, to Hotmail and Yahoo Mail)  However, I'm not sure there's a way to fully escape Google.  They own too much stuff.  They even own YouTube.  Think about that one.

As for Microsoft, I still use a few of their products, just not Windows.  I still have an XBOX and XBOX 360, and their controllers are top notch for gaming.
Title: Re: Google's Steely Tentacles.
Post by: emegra on January 24, 2018, 09:37:45 am
I also use Duck Duck Go as my default search engine and it's great but there are odd occasions I have to use Google Search for some things and I hate to admit it but it is better in my opinion,

As for Microsoft I have a MS keyboard a MS webcam and 2 old original MS Xboxes I've softmodded to run XBMC and they're fantastic so I don't have a problem with their hardware it's their malware I have a problem with.



Graeme
Title: Re: Google's Steely Tentacles.
Post by: DAMIEN1307 on January 24, 2018, 01:09:27 pm
hi folks...in a fit of rage, almost 2 yrs ago, (yes i am still able to do this at my age), i purged everything google on my system, they wouldnt let me get to my mail unless i was willing to relax my vigilance and cough up more of my personal information and let them have it...needless to say they did not get it and i didnt get my email...while purging Gmail etc, you should see the dire warnings they posted along the way of how all is lost, how misguided i am etc...lol...i also purged google chrome browser...i have since used zoho mail as my primary mail and protonmail for my most secure mail such as banking, insurance, and other accounts i have...also changed browsers too...i use the slimjet browser  with adding on the startpage search engine (it uses google search but anonymizes search results before submitting them to me)...as well as making sure i use ublock origin and ublock origin extra  and privacy badger and "no google analytics" and minerblock as extensions....ive also done the same with the backup open source chromium browser as well and now all is right with the world...no more microsoft, no more google...now the master, and no longer the slave of the machine...DAMIEN

ps...i also purge everything microsoft and went linux also in a fit of rage the week before when cumulative updates from microcrap windbloes borked my system...for the last time ever
Title: Re: Google's Steely Tentacles.
Post by: PCNetSpec on January 24, 2018, 01:10:40 pm
I also use Duck Duck Go as my default search engine and it's great but there are odd occasions I have to use Google Search for some things

Just type:

!g searchterm

into DDG (or the Peppermint startpage), and DDG will return the results from Googles encrypted search engine.
Title: Re: Google's Steely Tentacles.
Post by: tetricky on January 24, 2018, 07:24:57 pm
I'm with Google, and aware of the price that I pay. I just find too much of their stuff really good. I learnt a bit here though... Thanks for that.

I've used Zoho and other email services... But I really like Gmail and how it integrates with gdrive, and the other applications integration.

For password management look at keepass. I find it great for multi platform on both the desktop and mobile. I keep the encrypted database in one cloud storage and the key in another... Then the is your password on top.

It's relatively easy to set up on different devices.

You'll want to backup both somewhere safe.

For an open source messaging protocol then I can't think beyond XMPP or SIMPLE. At some level though to gain true independence your going to end up running your own servers... And even that's no absolute guarantee.
Title: Re: Google's Steely Tentacles.
Post by: grafiksinc on January 25, 2018, 09:21:29 am
I been pretty happy with protonmail.
Title: Re: Google's Steely Tentacles.
Post by: christianvl on January 25, 2018, 09:54:14 am
I have both personal and business account  with Google.

I know, they're watching me, but I'm sure others are too. All this tech companies collect our data.

IMO, Google provides the best solutions for almost everything.

Enviado de meu Quantum Fly usando Tapatalk

Title: Re: Google's Steely Tentacles.
Post by: perknh on March 16, 2018, 04:27:10 pm
Google didn't get to be Google by not having any good ideas... Maybe best not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

&

IMO, Google provides the best solutions for almost everything.

There's no question about it, Google is amazing.  Thank you, cfx795, for starting this discussion.

My issue with Google is with data collection, and the fact that Google is just too darn big.  Google touches nearly everything we do online.  What can anyone do online now that doesn't have Google's print on it in one way or another?  If you go to a site, the chances are Google Analytics (https://www.technologyreview.com/s/601488/largest-study-of-online-tracking-proves-google-really-is-watching-us-all/) is collecting your data.  If you use a browser, chances are good that Google's safe browsing services (https://hal.inria.fr/hal-01120186v4/document) are employed to protect you from phishing and malware links.  If you send an email, there's a good change you'll be sending it to someone with a Gmail account (https://mako.cc/copyrighteous/google-has-most-of-my-email-because-it-has-all-of-yours).  If you have an Android phone, its default search engine is Google, and its Play Store is Google Play.  Think about it, try to do anything online without Google touching that activity.  It's pretty tough to do.

Tentacles is good way of describing the expansive reach of Google. It's mind-boggling! :o



Title: Re: Google's Steely Tentacles.
Post by: christianvl on March 16, 2018, 07:01:05 pm
Yes,  they're watching us. What scares me even more is that Google is not the only one watching… I guess there's no private browsing…  is that the real price we have to pay?
Title: Re: Google's Steely Tentacles.
Post by: perknh on March 17, 2018, 08:42:53 am
What scares me even more is that Google is not the only one watching…

All I can think to do is spread our data around a little -- so it's not ALL held by Google.  I don't think there's one right way to deal with this though.  Me?  I've changed my primary DNS in my router to something other than my ISP's DNS -- so my ISP hopefully doesn't get all the goods on me. ;D  Then I try to keep away from Windows as much as possible.  Finally I try to use different browsers and search engines.  As for email, I'm still sorting that issue out.  I've found it's just about impossible to get people to encrypt their email -- and even if a service such as Tutanota or ProtonMail does it for them!  With encryption it seems, most people either throw up their arms, or just don't care. ::)
Title: Re: Google's Steely Tentacles.
Post by: PCNetSpec on March 17, 2018, 09:22:09 am
I've often wondered if showing a Linux browser agent string makes you a more interesting 'target' for advertisers .. in a kind of "he may be a sysadmin, so have some 'pull'" kinda way ?

We already know governments tend to view Linux users as suspiciously non-conformist and therefore threatening.

Or maybe I need a new tin hat ?
Title: Re: Google's Steely Tentacles.
Post by: perknh on March 17, 2018, 12:06:36 pm
We already know governments tend to view Linux users as suspiciously non-conformist and therefore threatening.

I always felt that was the reason why Maxthon stopped supporting the Linux version of its browser.   Backdoors and O.S.S. make poor bedfellows.  The irony is, IMHO, is that entire planet would be better served, and a safer and more civil place, if everyone, governments included, used open source, or F.O.S.S, software.  One of the least threatening and most civil communities I've ever seen online is the Linux community.  The bad apples get sorted out of the Linux community quite quickly. :)
Title: Re: Google's Steely Tentacles.
Post by: christianvl on March 17, 2018, 12:57:21 pm


Or maybe I need a new tin hat ?

There's an app for that
Title: Re: Google's Steely Tentacles.
Post by: PCNetSpec on March 17, 2018, 12:58:10 pm
LOL :)

A Linux native one ?
Title: Re: Google's Steely Tentacles.
Post by: christianvl on March 17, 2018, 01:08:08 pm
LOL :)

A Linux native one ?
Definitely not.
Title: Re: Google's Steely Tentacles.
Post by: PCNetSpec on March 17, 2018, 01:21:33 pm
:))
Title: Re: Google's Steely Tentacles.
Post by: esjay on March 17, 2018, 04:58:59 pm
I would be a happy man if I would know every detail of a world beater company. But I do not. I do believe that Google´s features optimize the performance of this - indeed - great product. I think it is a strong, good sign that thousands of users do care what happens with their datas. On the other hand I have nothing to hide. If anyone has the time and energy to take control of every single piece of my boring life - good luck!
Title: Re: Google's Steely Tentacles.
Post by: PCNetSpec on March 17, 2018, 05:37:58 pm
On the other hand I have nothing to hide.

Oh yes you do, we've all done and said things we'd rather weren't in the public domain ;) .. historically public figures and 'stars' were paid rather handsomely to have their privacy laid bare (it was rarely for any inherent 'value' in their work), yet ours is effectively being stolen and sold.

Where does it end....

With Amazon/Goolge able to sell for public entertainment whatever Alexa hears and your webcam see's ?

Keep an eye on the ever changing EULA .. if you think you own the rights to that functionality and the data that goes into it, let me tell you a story...

A couple of weeks ago my Smart TV received an update that informed me LG were changing some policy about who they could share my personal details with, a message appeared on my TV stating THE SMART FUNCTIONS OF MY TV WERE DISABLED UNTIL I TICKED THE BOX AGREEING TO THIS :o
(so even though I thought I'd paid for a "smart" TV, I obviously don't own that functionality, and can be held to ransom with it)

Now I don't own a "Google Assistant", but if I did I'd be pretty sure it could have heard some stuff I'd rather my mom not hear :)

Currently that sounds rather amusing right? .. yet the LG Smart TV incident just goes to show that legal precedent is towards a gradual erosion of your privacy not the strengthening of it, and that corporations aren't above extortion where the law allows it .. so it might not remain so funny in the future.
(and here cometh the IoT)
Title: Re: Google's Steely Tentacles.
Post by: christianvl on March 17, 2018, 06:52:39 pm
You may think you've got nothing to hide, but you most certainly have information you don't want a stranger to have (pictures of your family, personal appointments,  etc.). Yet,  we provide all of this to Google. They can even identify your pets in your pictures,  places you've been to,  and that's just the basics.

PCNetSpec, try reading the EULA for most cloud services. After uploading a file,  does it still belongs only to you?

We are most certainly heading for a future where privacy will exist only in history books. Even if you manage to live 100% offline.
Title: Re: Google's Steely Tentacles.
Post by: esjay on March 18, 2018, 03:58:51 am
Please get me right, of course I am annoyed about someone trying to use any personal informations without my permission. But what is within my possibilities to be controlled? Every week we read about ministries with the most skilled IT experts and the latest and greatest technologies being hacked. Therefore I am very pessimistic that my Linux system, my "uncomplicated firewall" (!), my router and some more programs will make my system 100% secure. I feel always a little bit amused when some friends of mine tell me long stories about their nights full of work to configure mountains of software, believing it would create anonymity in the world wide web.

Next problem, reading every single word of these endless license agreements (obviously written with intent to make it endless and unreadable) is time theft.

Long story short, my home is my castle and all private things happen within my rooms. I try to use my computer reasonably. I hope that the public is putting companies like Google under pressure to enhance privacy, and I would like to use the cloud.
Title: Re: Google's Steely Tentacles.
Post by: pin on March 18, 2018, 05:37:12 am
Don't forget your credit card! Google also knows where you have been using it [emoji6]

Sometimes they get it wrong though [emoji38]!

Once I went to a car wash and Google asked me to review the church across the street... now, imagine it was a porno club instead of a church across that street and that someone else would have read google's message before me [emoji50]
What I'm trying to say here, is that you actually don't have to do anything wrong to get into trouble.

Skickat från min SM-G900F via Tapatalk
Title: Re: Google's Steely Tentacles.
Post by: PCNetSpec on March 18, 2018, 07:39:09 am
I agree with you esjay, you shouldn't think Linux or any other software is going to make you impervious IT WON'T, specially considering they're now putting backdoors in the hardware itself.

Linux may make things a bit harder as far as security breach is concerned, but it might also make you a more interesting target .. but I'm not talking about computer security, I'm talking about privacy and the laws surrounding EULA's and data gathering/retention/sharing/sale .. they are two totally separate things.

What we need is a societal sea/seed change in the way personal data/information is viewed .. it's not enough to tell corporations they should "protect it" (then fine them less that they sell it for), they shouldn't be gathering it AT ALL. I'd love to know why my LG TV needs to know my personal details in the first place, and where they ARE necessary for functionality(and freely entered)  they SHOULD NOT be able to pass/sell them to third parties.
(and they DEFINITELY shouldn't be allowed to cripple the functionality of my TV unless I allow them post-sale to do this)

[EDIT]

And here comes the Facebook revelations.....
Title: Re: Google's Steely Tentacles.
Post by: esjay on March 18, 2018, 09:29:34 am
I agree that there is no obvious reason why a customer can not use his own Smart TV until he ticked a box agreeing to a new use of personal data. You have had no choice. This might touch the legal grey area of coercion (but I am sure the company has checked it, so I would not beg my money on it).

The development is frustrating. Is there a chance for the average Joe to proceed against big seller companies, for instance to stop asking the owner of a Smart TV annnoying questions about the usage of his datas? No.  And even if someone proceeds successfully: how to control the ongoing?

I can clearly see a huge interest in making our life as "digital" as possible. Abolishment of hard cash? Excellent to inspect what and where the average Joe is paying for, and so on.

Title: Re: Google's Steely Tentacles.
Post by: emegra on March 18, 2018, 09:32:21 am
I've heard people say many times "I Don't care if Facebook is spying on me or Google is spying on me or Microsoft is spying on me I've got nothing to hide" we all have something to hide even if we don't know it ie in Holland before WW2 people listed their religion on census records and why shouldn't they but they weren't to know at the time that the Nazis would use these records to identify Jews and round them up.

It's all well and good having nothing to hide but that's no reason not to protect your privacy, saying you don't care about your privacy because "I have nothing to hide" is the same as saying "I don't care about free speech because I've got nothing to say"

The really sad thing is that our children and grand-children are going to grow up in a world where they have no privacy because we sold it for a few shiney trinkets and a bit of PHP


Graeme
Title: Re: Google's Steely Tentacles.
Post by: PCNetSpec on March 18, 2018, 09:41:35 am
I agree wholeheartedly with you Graeme, except I'm not sure 'we're' actually selling our privacy, as much as the law is allowing it to be stolen/extorted by others with a profit motive.

We find ourselves on a slope that's being greased by corporate greed, and governments that fly in the face of overwhelming evidence and favour corporate self regulation (a laughable concept if ever I heard one) over the welfare of the people they're supposed to serve and protect.

Nothing new here then....
Title: Re: Google's Steely Tentacles.
Post by: zebedeeboss on March 18, 2018, 11:28:44 am
It's all well and good having nothing to hide but that's no reason not to protect your privacy, saying you don't care about your privacy because "I have nothing to hide" is the same as saying "I don't care about free speech because I've got nothing to say"
Graeme

Absolute hogwash and I really wish people would stop lumping the two statements together.  They are poles apart.

Just because I am not concerned with the information that is being captured about me is totally irrelevant to having the ability to speak openly about things.  Whether I want to say something or not.  Just because I have nothing to say DOES NOT mean I don't care about free speech.

Rant over... Back to gaming 😁

Regards Zeb...
Title: Re: Google's Steely Tentacles.
Post by: emegra on March 18, 2018, 11:33:51 am
Quote
Just because I have nothing to say DOES NOT mean I don't care about free speech.

You clearly didn't read what I said Zeb or you've completely misunderstood it




Graeme
Title: Re: Google's Steely Tentacles.
Post by: esjay on March 18, 2018, 12:53:22 pm
Graeme, I understand what you mean. Let me clarify my position. I see that writing just a few words is misleading and I am not a native english speaker.

I do care about privacy and open speech or all the other rights. When I say that I have nothing to hide (because I have had to realize that in IT technologies a highly competent person or organization can spy me out easily) this simply means in other words that I can not stop it unfortunately, but whoever is doing so is gonna waste time and energy. I will not change my way of living. Instead of showing my middle finger I prefer to say that I have nothing to hide. It does not mean that I am not angry (indeed I am). The more people talk about privacy in the www  the better. This is important to understand what is possible and what is going on.
Title: Re: Google's Steely Tentacles.
Post by: zebedeeboss on March 18, 2018, 01:39:37 pm
Quote
Just because I have nothing to say DOES NOT mean I don't care about free speech.

You clearly didn't read what I said Zeb or you've completely misunderstood it

Graeme

Then I must have misunderstood it - though I am not sure where? I made my post because of the sentance I highlighted.

Damn I just crashed me truck again - lol

Regards Zeb...
Title: Re: Google's Steely Tentacles.
Post by: emegra on March 18, 2018, 02:26:41 pm
Quote
Then I must have misunderstood it

Yes you did Zeb you took a small part of what I said and completely took it out of context

And it isn't nice to call someones opinion Hogwash just because you don't agree with it, disagree by all means after all that's what freedom of speech is all about (best to use it while we still have it) but try to be respectful, I don't think I've ever been disrespectful to you



Graeme
Title: Re: Google's Steely Tentacles.
Post by: zebedeeboss on March 18, 2018, 02:32:39 pm
It was never my intent to be disrespectful.  If I have been, I openly and unreservedly apologise to you.

It's why I generally don't get involved in discussions like this and won't do again.

We will agree to disagree that I took it completely out of context.

Regards Zeb...
Title: Re: Google's Steely Tentacles.
Post by: PCNetSpec on April 10, 2018, 10:12:29 pm
Another update for the LG Smart TV came out this morning, so I thought I'd take the opportunity to show you the bit of the EULA that says Smart TV functionality will be crippled if you don't agree they can share your data  with other companies, including countries that may not have EU data protection laws.

As LG have announced they're open sourcing the webOS software, I hope anyone that makes use of it strips that bit out.

(https://i.imgur.com/8aJ0ytO.jpg)
Title: Re: Google's Steely Tentacles.
Post by: perknh on April 11, 2018, 07:09:05 am
Found this in my inbox this morning from our friends at Google:

Quote
Switch to the official Google Calendar app
SWITCH NOW

Then it goes on to say:

Quote
You're not using the official Google Calendar app on your Android phone or tablet. Save time and get the most out of every day with features like:
•   To-dos: Use Reminders to create and view to-dos alongside your events
•   Goals: Add personal goals and Google Calendar will help you find time to complete them
•   Schedule View: Quickly see your schedule with maps and photos of the places you're going
Switch to the official Google Calendar app to use all of Google Calendar's features on your Android phone or tablet.
SWITCH NOW
The Google Calendar Team

Good grief, I see I can't even use the default calendar app in the old LG Realm I tote without a word or two from Google. ::)
Title: Re: Google's Steely Tentacles.
Post by: perknh on October 14, 2018, 05:59:49 pm
This is becoming popular blog post, so I thought I'd share it here.  It's another example of Google's Steely Tentacles!

Its comment section is nearly as interesting as the post itself. ;)

https://blog.cryptographyengineering.com/2018/09/23/why-im-leaving-chrome/

By Matthew Green (https://blog.cryptographyengineering.com/author/matthewdgreen/)

Hey, Google's got me by the nape of the neck...and I know it.  I know I've been assimilated! (https://forum.peppermintos.com/index.php/topic,7304.msg78124.html#msg78124) ::)