Google, the tech giant that paternally watches us all, providing us with our tech essentials. Our internet pyramid of needs. Why do I stray from the enlightened path and give in to temptation? Why do I bite the hand that feeds me?
Nothing to hide, nothing to fear. So mind if I look at your email history?
I was entitled. I inherited an internet much different from its wild past, only briefly combing through the fields of GeoCities webpages and IRC channels. The internet that quickly became familiar to me was one of services provided for free to its users. I was too naive, perhaps too young, to understand the business models of the corporations that provided these services. And yes, they were corporations, not Zuckerburg in his dorm room pushing updates to Facebook.
I failed to understand the value of my data, and my complicit participation in my manipulation to corporate interests and advertising. I brushed off the privacy gurus as paranoid.
Yet here I am today. I don’t have to tell you all the dirty secrets of data mining and manipulation, I’m sure you’ve heard it all before. And if you haven’t, maybe it is time you looked into it. Instead, I’m simply going to document my journey in throwing off my shackles. And yes, I simply must be dramatic.
Not many realize how much of our internet is open source. From the Linux kernel, to plenty of web servers the web round. So much of the internet infrastructure that we take for granted in our day-to-day is made up of contributions from people all around the world. Provided for free, for anyone to use. Copyleft licences like the GPL ensure that software made using open source projects remain open source, and that further developments are able to benefit everyone.
Take for example the Firefox web browser. Its code base is entirely open source. Meaning, if you were unsatisfied with the browser that Mozilla has provided, you are free to modify the code in any way you see fit, and redistribute the browser as your own, calling it whatever you wish. And if a large corporation wanted to make their own version of Firefox, they may make modifications and redistribute it under their own brand, providing that they disclose the source code. This allows improvements made by corporate funding to flow back into the original Firefox code base, benefiting all users.