What does your future look like under the ruling tech giant? What type of power will these companies yield over the population through direct and indirect influence? This is the great question of our time when it comes to liberty and sustaining freedom. Our government can be bought and sold and it would seem that …
Although its almost impossible to completely wipe out your entire digital footprint as if you’ve never had access to the internet, but you can get close. If you’d like to make an attempt to completely remove yourself from the internet, we’ve got a few tips and tricks that could help you along the way.
To go the full off-the-grid route, “it’s cash, barters,” Bradley Shear, a lawyer specializing in social media told The Washington Post. “Do not use any electronic device that can lead back to your whereabouts.” Which leads us to the first item to consider.
The first thing you want to do is the hardest for some, but its the most obvious. You need to quit appearing online. Stop posting on Facebook or Twitter and no longer use search engines. All of those will track your location and Internet usage leaving behind your digital footprint. Of course, just not using the internet isn’t quite enough if you’d like yourself completely gone in full-off-the-grid fashion.
The next step would be deleting your online accounts. Every single one of them. Having a social media account is, more or less, ensuring your active participation in letting the Internet learn more about you. Facebook, in particular, knows a lot about you and is very good at tracking what you do across the rest of the Web, even when you’re not actively using it. If you need help deleting your accounts, consider JustDelete.Me, which provides tips and links to remove accounts. But you can’t just remove your accounts and expect that it’s done and over with. You will also need to remove any and all information and content that is posted about you by others. This can get a little trickier, but you could consider trying Abine’s DeleteMe, which for a fee can assist in removing your personal contact information and your photos and will provide you with a regular report and updates.
Next, you want to search for yourself on the Internet. This will help you discover if there are any old accounts (does anyone even remember MySpace?) that you may have forgotten you had just lingering around. If you happen to come across an account you cannot delete, just start falsifying the information. Change the name on the account to whatever you want it to be, that’s different than yours, obviously. Change the city and state and leave the gender “unselected” if possible. The less information you put in, the less you have to falsify.
You are also going to want to unsubscribe from all of those mailing lists you’ve accidentally signed up for during your Internet travels. That’s usually pretty easy to do. Go into your junk folder and open up the advertisements. Scroll to the bottom of the email and click the tiny word “unsubscribe.” When it directs you to, make sure you choose to no longer receive ANY email that you’d consider “junk.” Afterall, that’s why it was in that folder, to begin with anyway, right?
If you still need the Internet for work, you may have to stop here. Having removed social media and cleaning up your email will go a long way in minimizing your online trail. But for those who wish to continue on and “go dark,” your next step would be deleting search engine results. Google has a URL removal tool that could help. The next step would be contacting webmasters of websites you have no control over. Be kind, and let them know you’d like your information and comments removed. Be prepared to be told by some that all public information should remain public, in which case, you may be out of luck. You’ll also need patience. Not every single webmaster will get back to you in a timely manner.
Once you’ve completed everything listed above, you should consider removing your information from data clearinghouses. Many companies track your online behavior and sell that data to others. Intelius, Spokeo, and People Finders are a few examples of such data clearinghouses. In order to remove your information from these, however, will take up a lot of your time. You’ll need to make a lot of phone calls and fill out tons of paperwork. A paid service called DeleteMe could be considered if you’ve got some extra cash laying around. For all others, you will need time and patience and determination to get through this step.
Once you feel you’ve gotten yourself removed from data clearinghouses, you should contact the phone company and be sure to make your phone number unlisted.
The last step would be to delete your email. “Every time you access it, they have your IP address,” Shear said. This is last simply because, during the completion of the previous steps, an email address is likely going to be required at some point.
If you’ve decided you cannot completely “go dark” as far an internet use is concerned, consider protecting your data and information by using an encrypted email service such as ProtonMail. And if you want your activity not to be tracked across the Web, you would have to essentially use a virtual private network, or VPN, every time you access the Internet unless you exclusively access the Internet from public machines (such as those at a public library). For searching online, you can use sites such as DuckDuckGo instead of Google or Yahoo, or any other search engine that tracks you. Also, consider Signal, a text and phone-call encryption app that comes with a recommendation from Edward Snowden himself.
Although it seems it may be futile to attempt to “go dark,” you just might be successful. Best of luck to those who have the desire to disappear from the Internet, because you’ll need it, and all the patience you can muster.
This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition
Facebook and Google Promise Congress They’ll Brainwash You With Their Own Counter Propaganda What is happening with social media? For many preppers social media is something they don’t even participate in. I must remind you that no man is an island and while you might be avoiding these apps and platforms. You need to understand …
There is plenty of information out there about how to physically move off the grid, but what about going off the grid in the digital world? For many off-gridders, a social media or digital presence is still necessary – to remain plugged into the world around us, at least socially. But as the ease with which the government – and landlords, potential employers, even strangers – can track our movements online increases, so too seems to be the interest in disappearing from the digital world and becoming truly invisible. But how do you vanish from the internet?
Bradley Shear, a lawyer who specialises in social media and privacy, warned that it wouldn’t be easy. He said if you really want to step away from the internet and leave no digital trace, it would mean giving up using all electronic devices.
“[To go the full off-grid route] it’s cash, barters,” Bradley said. “Do not use any electronic device that can lead back to your whereabouts.”
Social media backlog
Bradley suggests deleting your social media accounts, or at least cleaning them up. Social media accounts, more or less, ensure you actively participate in letting the internet learn more about you; Facebook, in particular, is very good at tracking what you do across the rest of the web – even when you aren’t actively using it. The site stores your search information to suggest particular webpages, news of interest and advertisements.
“You have to think about the digital accounts you currently have,” Bradley said. “You have a Facebook, LinkedIn, Amazon, old Myspace? Anything that has your name on it. You want to either delete content from them or delete the accounts altogether.”
Although when you delete your accounts many of the companies will still keep the data you previously gave them, at least it won’t be publicly shared.
Bradley pointed out that Gmail in particular has to go – and you can’t use Google or Yahoo, because these programs all track your access location.
“Every time you access [Gmail], they have your IP address,” he said.
If you want to make sure your activity isn’t tracked across the web, Bradley said to use a virtual private network, or VPN, every time you access the internet, unless you only login from public machines (such as those at a public library or internet café). To search, Bradley suggests using sites such as DuckDuckGo instead of the traditional engines that track you.
If all that sounds too painful to deal with, at the very least consider deleting unnecessary content from your social media accounts. Twitter and Facebook let you download an archive of your data on the platform, in case you’re worried about losing any of those utterly amazing early tweets. And beyond the in-account settings for each service, third-party tools such as TweetDelete allow you to erase years of content automatically. But even that, Bradley said, doesn’t provide perfect results – the government probably already has your tweets on file.
“Using a service that deletes old tweets is helpful,” he said. “However, the Library of Congress is cataloguing every single tweet ever.”
JustDelete.Me provides a good starting point for people who want straightforward links to the deletion pages of a ton of accounts, along with a bit of guidance on how easy or hard it is to delete each one.
For those who can’t stand to go completely off the grid – which is probably most of us – Bradley said one of the most valuable things to do is litter the internet with misinformation about yourself.
“Never have a real birthday,” he said. “Always use a throwaway birthday when signing up for social media accounts or pretty much any other service online. Use a throwaway email. If a site or an app is asking for a bunch of information that you think it doesn’t need from you to provide you with whatever service it is promising, don’t do it. If that personal information is required to use that service, then make up some stuff. You want to provide as many alternative facts as possible.”
Of course, most of us will have already provided a lot of the information to a bunch of sites – so try to change it. On many sites, you can change your birthday, your likes and dislikes, past employment experiences, place of residence and other personal details, although some have a limit on how many times you can alter information (like Facebook).
Bradley said he knows that he’s essentially advising people to ignore the terms of service for these sites, and he’s okay with that.
“Feel free to protect your privacy and violate their terms of service,” he said.
Anyone who’s ever self-Googled knows that there are a ton of “people search” sites out there that promise to host valuable information about individuals. Usually, this information – phone numbers, social media profiles, addresses, anything else available from public records or through data collection on the internet – is sold for a fee (but not always). These companies are known as data brokers, businesses that collect information to sell it to other businesses. Bradley warned that trying to fully disappear from their databases is like “whack-a-mole.”
“Look at the first five to 10 pages of your Google results and see who has your name,” Bradley said. Your information will probably be on sites such as Whitepages, Spokeo and Intelius, for example, and each of these sites should have a way to opt out – but Bradley warned that sometimes the opt-out process can be a scam. If the site requires users to verify their identity before opting out by giving more information or providing a government ID, get out of there.
The second part of keeping your information out of the hands of data brokers involves plugging any digital leaks. If you’ve ever signed up for an account by linking it to a Facebook, Google or Twitter account, you have a leak, and should undo it if possible.
The other thing to think about is your phone – and what permissions you have given your apps.
“Most apps ask for way too much information,” Bradley said. “If you want to keep your phone, go ahead and delete every single app you don’t actually need.”
Of course, even doing all of these things won’t completely disappear most of us from the internet – particularly those who are older or have been using it for all our lives so have an extensive digital trail. So, the question becomes: Can you really disappear from the internet?
Bradley said it doesn’t matter if it’s futile or not – it’s important to try as much as you can, and do it properly, as if it’s going to work.
“You might not get perfect results, but it’s always worth the effort to try.”
ProPublica reported on the change Oct. 21, noting that Google could now, if it wanted to, “build a complete portrait of a user by name, based on everything they write in email, every website they visit and the searches they conduct.”
“The move is a sea change for Google and a further blow to the online ad industry’s longstanding contention that web tracking is mostly anonymous,” ProPublica reported. “In recent years, Facebook, offline data brokers and others have increasingly sought to combine their troves of web tracking data with people’s real names. But until this summer, Google held the line.”
New Gmail users automatically agree to the policy when they sign up, while old Gmail users must opt-in.
The change means you might see an add on ESPN.com for something you wrote about in Gmail.
The good news: It is easy to opt out. Here is how to do it:
1. Go to Google’s My Account page.
2. Click on Mange Your Google Activity.
3. Click on Go to Activity Controls.
4. Uncheck the box next to “Include Chrome browsing history and activity from websites and apps that use Google services.”
6. At the same link, you also can prevent Google from tracking your Location, your YouTube viewing history and your browsing history.
What is your reaction to Google’s new policy? Share your thoughts in the section below:
Giant tech companies like Facebook and Google could determine the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, simply by deciding what information the voters see.
It may seem like science fiction, but the possibility has been raised by multiple experts and media outlets in recent months – most recently in The Guardian newspaper this week.
The idea is somewhat simple: Americans spend an incredible amount of time on social media and the Internet, and any change in the algorithm of Facebook or Google could sway their opinions.
“America’s next president could be eased into office not just by TV ads or speeches, but by Google’s secret decisions, and no one—except for me and perhaps a few other obscure researchers—would know how this was accomplished,” Robert Epstein, senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, wrote in a Politico column last year.
Research by Epstein and Ronald E. Robertson indicates that something called the Search Engine Manipulation Effect, or SME, could determine the outcome of elections.
“Google’s search algorithm can easily shift the voting preferences of undecided voters by 20% or more – up to 80% in some demographic groups – with virtually no one knowing they are being manipulated,” Epstein wrote.
How it Works
When you type a request into a search engine like Google, an algorithm program determines the results. Likewise, a Facebook algorithm determines what you see in your timeline.
For example, the Google algorithm could be set to show mostly positive news about a candidate such as Hillary Clinton. Likewise, the algorithm could be set to show only negative news about Donald Trump or Ted Cruz.
Epstein and Robertson say they have demonstrated that his effect is real in experiments.
“Our new research leaves little doubt about whether Google has the ability to control voters,” Epstein wrote. “In laboratory and online experiments conducted in the United States, we were able to boost the proportion of people who favored any candidate by between 37 and 63 percent after just one search session. The impact of viewing biased rankings repeatedly over a period of weeks or months would undoubtedly be larger.”
The effect already may have determined the outcome of a 2014 election in India.
“Given how powerful this effect is, it’s possible that Google decided the winner of the Indian election,” Epstein wrote. “ Google’s own daily data on election-related search activity (subsequently removed from the Internet, but not before my colleagues and I downloaded the pages) showed that Narendra Modi, the ultimate winner, outscored his rivals in search activity by more than 25 percent for sixty-one consecutive days before the final votes were cast.”
Facebook Employees Raise Possibility
On March 4 of this year, Facebook employees voted on a question to ask their boss, Mark Zuckerberg. The question: “What responsibility does Facebook have to help prevent President Trump in 2017?” The question was reported by Gizmodo, and was apparently the fifth-most popular question posed to Zuckerberg.
“Facebook can promote or block any material that it wants,” UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh told Gizmodo. “Facebook has the same First Amendment right as The New York Times. They can completely block Trump if they want. They can block him or promote him.”
The social network did carry out an experiment to see how it could impact voting in 2010. The idea was to get more people to vote in a congressional election and it apparently worked, according to a University of California-San Diego paper. Facebook has 1.59 billion users around the world.
What is your reaction? Do you think Facebook and Google could sway an election? Share your thoughts in the section below: