Basic concepts

Introduction

In this publication I write about the basic ideas I use in the blog in order to make them understandable to everyone, so that you may acknowledge more about these topics and, I’m sure that, at the end, you’ll read just one part.

When we connect to the Internet, it doesn’t matter if we’re using a computer, a tablet or a mobile phone; we’re sending an impressive amount of information, such as the device we are using and our location.

That’s why we have to know the software we use on the Internet; in other words, what applications (aka programs or clients) and services (like social networks, search engines, or any other website) and that’s why I’m here (like a lot of people on the rest of the Internet).

Using Free Software

With software I mean the whole set of instructions, the programs, that make your computer work; we always want the best for our computer and that’s why we all should use free software, the one that lets us read how it’s built from the ground up, modify it and share it as we prefer. I’ll let you this video to clarify it:

Surveillance and other users abuses

Everytime you use Windows, Facebook, Google or Twitter you’re being tracked by their respective companies who make a business collecting their users data and making profiles of them to sell to advertisement companies or to give them to governmental organisations who ask for them.

“But I have nothing to hide” you’d say. Believe me, in more or less extent, we all have something to hide, and if you don’t think so, tell me right now your name, last names, address, bank account, e-mail credentials, passwords and this kind of information who ask Apple, for example, to make an account in anyone of these services. Are you still convinced that you have nothing to hide? all right, well, Google knows more about us than our familiars and if you search something there, sooner or later, you’ll see some search suggestions about it, no matters if you have someone near to you then. But it doesn’t stop here: there are companies who prohibit using their services to some profiles I commented before, i.e., if you’ve bought some things or searching anything similar to an alcoholic or a drug addict searched, don’t be surprised if the day after tomorrow you can’t buy an specific brand of alcohol drink or any other kind of legal drug. (See ‘Terms and Conditions May Apply‘)

Indeed, if you don’t care about what they do today with all your data, be careful of what they can do in the future. They store and collect all our data for indefinite time and they don’t delete it, just hide it. I think the issue is not of small proportions, however it’s still very ignored. The solution? You have to think about making choices in a critical way, doing everything using your head and joining fully transparent services: freedom-respecting and decentralized.

More information (Spanish).

Another explicative video:

Decentralization

Many services that the normal user uses everyday are centralized; so they uses just one central server where all data is saved, in that way, it’s too easy to abuse of their uses, as we’ve just seen, but they also can be censored. In addiction, just a simple bug can be the cause of data stealing (that’s what happened with Dropbox a few times or with Apple iCloud not long ago).

But it’s not the only way to use Internet, there are decentralized services (which use a lot of servers along the world) and distributed ones (which makes every device something like a new server just for itself).

The good thing of decentralization (aka federation) it’s that everybody can use their own server, public or privately, in that way, the users themselves are who guard our security and privacy, because, as we have seen, we can’t trust blindly in some companies to this kind of things. But we don’t need to make any server, we also can use a trusty friend, familiar or neighbour’s one. Or anyone who lives in the other side of the world and we don’t know at all, no matters what, the point it’s that we can choice to do it.

Solutions

Now, you know a big part of what are you going to find here in this blog, the choice it’s on your hands, maybe you don’t do a big thing with your computer, but step to step, you can get big changes.

I suggest to start using GNU/Linux instead of Windows or Macinthosh, DuckDuckGo instead of Google or Bing, Firefox instead of Chrome or Internet Explorer, Jabber (aka XMPP) instead of Whatsapp or Skype and Diaspora*, Pump o GNU Social as social networks. More alternatives.

If it has been useful for you, please, share it, I’m not going to earn anything at all if more people see it, but the rest of the people can win a lot in privacy, indeed learning a little about this stuff. If you thing that I should modify anything, tell me, I make mistakes too 😉

Thanks to Forna for his help 🙂

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