The violations by FAANG are manifold and overwhelming to internalize in one sitting, but you can take action.
You should know where you want to draw the line about privacy.
Some people think this isn’t a big deal. You might be right. You can choose to not use the service or leave that country.
Avoiding using the services is fine, until they become a monopoly. There’s nowhere left to turn if everyone is using that software for a specific, frequent need, and it may be too late by the time you see a need to take action.
This isn’t a concocted threat made by conspiracy nuts, either. The US intelligence community now pervasively uses ad blockers as of 2021, so there’s merit to the concerns.
Discuss It Openly
At the same time, saying “I have nothing to hide, so I don’t need to stay private” is a bit like saying “I don’t do anything criminal, so I don’t have a problem with a cop following me everywhere I go”. It may be true now, but that’s only as long as you hold fashionable opinions (which can often change in as little as 5-10 years) or as long as you have a safe government (which changes as different large groups gain political power or when individuals in power become corrupt).
To that end, there are many good questions to dismantle their assertion:
- Why do you have the right to know?
- What level of trust do you believe you’ve earned?
- What do you want to do with all this information?
- How, specifically, will this make things better or help society?
- Is this the most important thing to spend time and money on?
- This will create mountains of information that need to be stored, managed, and analyzed:
- For a private organization, how can this affect corporate profits?
- For the government, will taxes need to increase to manage it?
- How long will you store those messages, and will those messages prevent someone from getting a government job later in life?
- Can anyone in law enforcement have access to this data?
- What is the process to remove data that may be libelous or cause undue harm to an individual or organization?
- For a government, will this stored data be used to defend people who have been accused of a crime, or only to prosecute?
- For a government, are they exclusively responsible for the complete chain of access to this data, or will private organizations be involved who must be trusted to not use it?
The discussion of censorship is a huge matter, and isn’t always as clear as most people think it is.
- No Vehicles In The Park demonstrates this example plainly.
- Blocking all nude photos of children, for example, sounds sensible at first, until you consider that doctors sometimes need those photos to save lives.
- Stopping all illegal activity may sound reasonable, unless the law itself is acting against human rights.
Whenever and as long as you have the freedom, publish the surveillance and censorship you do find (e.g., report it to the news, Atlas of Surveillance).
If you’re in the tech industry, community is security, and it’s worth reaching out to others who can help.
- 2022-09 The censorship in Iran was somewhat stopped by a network of sufficiently talented tech workers.
You can do some things that will partially solve the problem, but nothing will fully fix the issues if you’ve been a victim of their abuse:
- Increase the security of your accounts to prevent getting locked.
- Fight back with litigation (e.g., DoNotPay).
- Publicly shame the organization on social media (and on a different social media if they are the social media company).
You could step away from all the tech, though it will depend heavily on your career specialization.
- Consider moving to a smaller city or town, or go as far as homesteading.
- Reduce your reliance on technology by getting a low- tech phone (e.g., Light Phone).
However, the simplest way to individually take action is to inform yourself and find trustworthy alternatives. Technology makes things cheaper and easier, and recreating most of the things Big Tech has made isn’t as hard as you may imagine. The biggest hurdle is getting non-tech people to adopt it from their current habits.
Tons of hardware and tools are available to avoid the most powerful organizations.
- Messaging/social media:
- Move from WhatsApp text messaging to Signal.
- Web browser:
- Get away from Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge (Mozilla Firefox is an excellent alternative).
- Use Firefox’s Containers if you still use Facebook or Google.
- Search/social media:
- Get out from Google and Bing search (Brave and Qwant are excellent alternatives that don’t rely on Bing).
- Move from YouTube to something else like PeerTube, Bitchute, Odysee, or Vimeo.
- Stay away from Facebook/Instagram and switch to another newer social network like Gab (or a decentralized network like Mastodon or Lemmy)
- Avoid Apple/Microsoft products and switch to Linux-based (especially Manjaro or Zorin OS if you love the UI), though this may be difficult with Microsoft Windows depending on your lifestyle.
- Avoid Android OS and switch to independently-developed phones like Librem and PinePhone.
- Don’t shop on Amazon, buy Amazon products, or work for Amazon.
- If you’re an organization that uses Big Tech, opt out of most Amazon advertising and Google search enhancement (e.g., AMP), since they aren’t doing much to help you.
- Get “dumb” technology to serve your purposes:
- Try to avoid anything from China, especially computer hardware and networking equipment manufactured there.
If you do work in the tech sector, you have additional things you can do.
- Gain much more understanding of the code you’re working with, and only build and work with open-source licenses.
- If you’re developing open-source software, there are ways to make it more difficult for proprietary modules to work with your product.
- Look at any proprietary hardware that doesn’t have open-source software, then fill the gaps for it by reverse-engineering a decent alternative. Even if it’s passable, it’ll be much better than the surveillance-based proprietary software version by principle alone.
- Anytime you find proprietary software, look for an alternative: GNU/Linux over Windows, GIMP over Photoshop, hosted Git over GitHub, self-hosted everything over a paid service.
- When you don’t understand features, don’t add them or activate them.
- Get the message out to other tech sector workers (e.g., Please don’t upload my code on GitHub).
- Find other people with your specialization and start your own services (e.g., internet service provider, cloud storage).
Whenever you do use alternatives, make sure to tell everyone else you know about it. Smaller and open-source projects simply don’t have the presence or advertising budget of their much larger competitors willing to pay for market exposure.
One of the most important things you can do is to advance free, open-source software and schematics, which allows others to re-release and develop separately if the original creator becomes too totalitarian.:
- openlgtv project, legal reverse engineering and research of firmware for LG TVs.
- The Open Source Ecology Documentation, for a wide variety of open designs.
- PostHog’s “Is Google Analytics Illegal?”
Beyond having the freedom to modify code, open source is also legally enforceable against organizations who don’t honor open code.
Anonymity is the best way to stay private, since large organizations have bigger problems unrelated to you, though that’s not necessarily true if you declare unfashionable things that work against their interests too harshly, too frequently, and too directly.
In case you do get shut down, keep your activities separate to stay safe from complete annihiliation:
- Make separate work and personal accounts, with each app you’re developing as a separate account.
- Never, ever login as a personal account with a work-related account already on it, or vice versa.
- Use separate profiles for work and pleasure (which is also a great productivity trick).
- When in doubt, use virtual machines to open suspicious things, and open it over a VPN.
- If you can afford it, have “burner computers” that are known-insecure or that you wipe frequently.
- If you’re not doing anything computation-intensive (e.g., web browsing), computers in the developed world can be relatively cheap.
Be mindful of what government you’re working with and in. Some of them don’t have laws about privacy, while others operate in the interests of corporations over the individual.
When you’re caught in the crosshairs of Big Tech, the only way to reliably push back is to publicly display what happened. Document everything that happened, and share recordings and screenshots of everything on social media. Often, a company will backpedal on an action, but be prepared to use an alternative platform, since they often only care about their public image and typically won’t indemnify you for your suffering.
The information for just about anything is readily available on the internet, so do your research if you’re unsure about what you’re hearing.
- Avoid the first results on a search engine, since they’re often algorithmically tailored to advance an agenda.
- Get far more granular in your research, since an algorithm won’t often work as well on extremely specific results.
- Watch for hardware and software branded as privacy-oriented but isn’t (e.g., the Freedom Phone isn’t particularly great at privacy).
Before using any software, actually read the terms of service to see what you’re implicitly consenting to.
- Blindly accepting the terms of service can cause major issues for you later.
- Some software can make it easier (e.g., TOS;DR).
Use services like Mozilla’s Creep-o-Meter to see how safe you generally are from privacy violations.
Pay close attention to values presented by the topmost parent company of a business, and closely watch any acquisitions or mergers tied to the organizations you use.
- Try to find worker-owned tech companies, such as with Tech Coops list.
- Some relatively smaller groups, such as Gab as of 2023, are devoted to fighting Big Tech.
Organizations are often legally required to not inform the public if a government organization (e.g., FBI, NSA, CIA) were to start monitoring their activities. For that reason, many of them place conspicuous “warrant canaries” in clear and public locations (such as a webpage). If there has been no update, the organization’s activities are clearly being monitored.
To cut back on the data gleaning, practice good cybersecurity practices and to generally distrust what large organizations say:
- A large company or government is never entirely trustworthy as long as it’s also a participant in the marketplace it runs.
- Very often, a company or government will advance a privacy-violating move under the claim of protecting something, which will be whatever people are afraid of (e.g., protecting children, keeping everyone safe, etc.). This has been done before in history, but usually by a government promising to protect people from a foreign threat.
- Watch carefully for political candidates companies lean toward, irrespective of political platform. Chances are, companies have paid for lobbying in that direction or the political candidates are invested in that company’s stock.
- Watch for psychological tricks to imply you don’t have power or shouldn’t say anything. If you see something, sharing it outside that siloed group can often create dramatic changes once other powerful people see the injustices committed and see an opportunity to knock their power down a peg.
- Learn what data a company does have from you or delete it using services such as Own Your Data.
- If you plan to abandon a social network, delete the posts manually yourself since they can not be trusted to delete the account outright.
- Follow groups like Take Back Our Tech for more nuanced updates in cybersecurity.
Practice degrees of separation between different entities, and avoid giving too much information:
- Only use your email address and avoid authentication logins with a Big Tech corporation.
- Don’t use third-party payment processors. PayPal, Stripe, and Square make life more convenient, but usually don’t add any additional security that your bank doesn’t have.
Many elements are complex enough that it’s worth researching and discussing more in-depth:
- How do you know what to do if your email is hosted by a company who assists a totalitarian country?
- What do you do if your information is being harvested by elected criminals?
If you have the skill for it, learn to hack DRM, work outside the mainstream, and generally become more tech-savvy.
- Don’t buy TVs anymore (which track more data), but instead buy monitors, since there’s now practically no difference in screen technology between the two.
- Jailbreak/root every one of your devices so that you actually own them (as opposed to being held hostage by the proprietary OS).
- Ideally, self-host your emails and websites and explore other protocols like Gopher, Tor, and ZeroNet.
- When distributing information, use torrents and P2P solutions.
- Try to use blockchain-based social network and hosting, such as Mastodon.
Take Political Action
- Class action lawsuits mean you can’t dispute an issue with them about that issue later.
- If it’s small damages below a certain amount (~$5,000), take it to small claims:
- You won’t need to pay for representation.
- The cost of the damages is typically not worth the corporation flying their lawyer out to deal with it.
You can, however, take limited political action yourself:
- Follow and support the whistleblower groups that call out tech-related corruption, which include individuals connected to:
- Help advance political movements to cut down on surveillance and tracking:
- Add to the “tracker tracking”:
- Directly help groups that actually build open-source and federated tech things:
- Assist with groups that legally defend and propagate free use of intellectual properties:
- Direct attention toward groups that legally promote that public money should mean public code:
- Focus your resources and investments toward smaller organizations and groups labeled as part of the parallel economy:
- Don’t let yourself get distracted, or deceived, or influenced by the propaganda and distortion (e.g., follow No Agenda podcast). The battle is against anyone using user data without permission, for any private or public group.
More indirectly, you can contact your government officials to get laws drafted (or enforced) in a few possible directions:
- Protect individuals from other organizations collecting and/or using personalized data. The European Union has created the GDPR, which in some ways makes debugging a challenge, but it’s a good start.
- Endorse aspects of web scraping (i.e., copying information off the internet). There are efforts to imply copyright law makes this illegal, but the internet is only free when anyone can copy it.
- Make the platforms required to give public, uninhibited access to their services (i.e., interoperability). This will allow others to build on their work and spin off variations without requiring others to build everything from scratch, though it wouldn’t necessarily restrict Big Tech from misusing that information.
- Keep platforms separate from their users. The platform renders a valuable service, but if they’re moderating content then they’re going too far. The USA’s Section 230 is powerful at regulating this, but the Good Samaritan Clause needs some clarification.
- Hold the largest corporations accountable to things that aren’t corporations, such as elected officials or government bureaus. Otherwise, they will be free to act as all-encompassing monopolies while controlling most of the important information people need to live.
- Keep an eye on government as well, since censoring content of any form without it violating a specific law (e.g., defamation, sexual exploitation) is essentially a violation of civil rights.
- Work to advance legislation that promotes new startups or oppose legislation that maintains large organizational power, which either way will disrupt the systems presently in place.
Do Your Part
If you’re willing to, you can contribute to helping archive the internet yourself:
- ArchiveTeam Warrior software allows your computer to be part of the Internet Archive.
You can spread awareness every December 16th by honoring International Day Against DRM.
You can also work through legal channels to fight the issues yourself:
- 2022-11 This writer was able to fight back against PayPal and win.
- 2023-07 The president of Signal says they will not comply with the UK mass surveillance law.
Either way, it may not be the hill you want to die on, so make sure you stay as legally safe as possible if it’s not worth your time:
If you are legally savvy, you can take it up with them directly:
- 2021-10 The Software Freedom Conservancy filed a lawsuit against Vizio for violating GPL licensing requirements.
- 2022-11 A team of about 4 lawyers, headed by Matthew Butterick, are delivering a class-action lawsuit directly against the AI abuses of GitHub Copilot and Stable Diffusion.
- 2023-07 Sarah Silverman and two other authors have sued the AI companies OpenAI and Meta for copyright infringement.
If you really want to die on that hill without a legal battle, learn from your predecessors:
Beyond That, Not Much Else
Even with all the above, there’s limits to what you can do:
- If your company uses FAANG, you will probably need to use it or or find another job.
- You can cut out tracking of your personal life, but everyone else might be monitored anyway.
- If you want to, going off-grid is an option, but that’s a huge project with many risks involved.
- Eventually, you’ll have to either pay more money or go through the arcane process of getting what you need. For example, this guy took 57 steps to change his printer’s region.
If you’re a nobody citizen (which most of us are), you’re not worth the time for large entities to harass you. Most people who become fearful of “the conspiracy” feel powerless in the presence of a legitimately powerful group and forget the organization is still merely a bunch of humans.
Empires collapse when the people at large grow restless enough, so staying connected with others in your community is your greatest defense against tyranny, and every empire eventually falls.
Above all, learn to release what you can’t control and find satisfaction with your life.
Image > Reality
The amount of legitimate power from FAANG’s sheer numbers isn’t as scary as it may appear:
- Amazon had ~1,298,000 employees in 2020, but that includes all their warehousing/logistics.
- Microsoft had ~181,000 employees in 2021.
- Apple had ~147,000 employees in 2020.
- Google had 135,301 employees in 2020.
- Cisco had ~77,500 employees in 2020.
- Facebook had 58,604 employees in 2020.
- Netflix only had ~9,400 employees in 2020.
- Dropbox only had 2,760 employees in 2020.
Most of Big Tech’s influence is over information, but they don’t necessarily have military power to kill and destroy if they don’t get their way, and a government can always shut them down in that region within 1-2 months if they want.
And sometimes, depending on who is elected and what stock they own, Big Tech mergers and acquisitions are stopped outright by governments:
- 2021-01 NVIDIA was in talks to merge with Arm, but called it off later and the CEO resigned.
- 2021-12 The FTC is trying to block a huge merger between the microchip supplier NVIDIA and the microchip designer Arm (ongoing as of 2022/01).
- 2022-01 Chicago has filed an antitrust case against John Deere’s alleged tractor repair monopoly, as well as a cattle farmer.
- 2023-02 The DOJ is stopping an Adobe-Figma merger.
There’s definitely been growing support toward government action around the Right to Repair, which broadly empowers the individual to choose their services. The government might enforce the Right to Repair, but it’s too soon to tell:
- 2018-04 The USA’s FTC is now enforcing the 1975 Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act that outlaws the claim of “warranty void if removed” for consumers.
- 2019-12 Nebraska’s farmers have voted nearly unanimously for the Right to Repair.
- 2020-03 The EU is now requiring that smartphone manufacturers provide security updates for at least 5 years.
- 2020-11 Massachusetts now requires auto makers to open up telematics for owners and car mechanics.
- 2021-01 Europe is guaranteeing Right to Repair.
- 2021-06 New York’s Senate has passed a Right to Repair bill.
- 2022-03 The EU now requires electronics have user-replaceable batteries “with standard tools”, effective 2027.
- 2022-06 The FTC has taken an action against Harley-Davidson and Westinghouse stating that they’re illegally restricting customers’ right to repair.
- 2023-04 Colorado’s governor has signed a Right to Repair law against John Deere, which was passed shortly after it was penned. However, John Deere had agreed a few months prior as well to allow the Right to Repair.
- 2023-06 The UK Competition and Markets Authority have prevented Microsoft from merging with Activision Blizzard.
- 2023-06 The EU has ruled that batteries must be “more sustainable, more durable, and better-performing”.
Also, the power plays aren’t strictly a monolithic attempt to subdue unsuspecting individuals. There are gigantic power plays back-and-forth between the large organizations (as well as watchdog journalists) for anti-trust and pro-trust agendas.
- The Tech Industry At Large
- Government vs. Broad Tech Industry Players
- 2021-10 The FTC has put hundreds of businesses on notice about misleading endorsements such as fake reviews.
- 2021-10 The FDA wants people to be able to buy hearing aides without a prescription.
- 2021-10 The US Senate is trying to block large tech companies from prioritizing their own products over their rivals.
- 2021-11 The FTC has declared “click to subscribe, call to cancel” as illegal.
- 2021-12 Germany is drafting legislation that grants a “right to encryption” and is trying to provoke Europe to ban mass surveillance.
- 2021-12 After citizens protesting, Belgium has removed the “backdoor requirement” from their drafted law.
- 2022-02 IAB Europe, a cookie consent popup tracker, has been fined €250,000 for breaking GDPR rules.
- 2022-05 Pennsylvania introduced “Click to Cancel” leglislation, which requires a simple click-to-unsubscribe for services that only require clicking to subscribe.
- 2022-06 EU legislation means multiple Big Tech companies will have to explain their algorithms.
- 2022-07 The EU Digital Markets Act creates many regulations aimed at Google, Apple, and Amazon.
- 2022-08 The Korean Supreme Court declares that scraping web data is legal.
- 2022-09 US Federal government tends to not prosecute Big Tech, but states are taking action.
- 2023-03 The US FTC wants to ban subscriptions which are difficult to cancel.
- 2023-08 Internet service providers are complaining that a government request to list all recurring monthly fees is too burdensome.
- 2023-08 The EU has now illegalized default opt-in for in-app behavior-based advertising.
- 2023-09 The US FCC plans to reinstate net neutrality.
- Government vs. Multiple
- 2021-12 A German government has ruled that US-based cookie providers can’t collect data for German citizens.
- 2022-01 France has fined Google and Facebook millions of euros for not complying with their cookie policies.
- 2022-01 Illinois is trying to stop tech giants from taking huge royalties out of developers’ profits.
- 2022-06 The FCC commissioner Brendan Carr demands Apple and Google remove TikTok from their app stores from their suspicious data practices.
- 2022-07 EU Approves Legislation to Regulate Big Tech Firms.
- 2022-07 A California district has sued Meta and hospitals for using healthcare data in targeted advertisements.
- 2022-09 A US appeals court has blocked Facebook, Google and Twitter from regulating online speech.
- 2022-11 France has banned Microsoft Office 365 and Google Docs from schools and public administration.
- 2022-11 The UK is investigating Google and Apple about their mobile browser dominance.
- 2023-05 New York State’s Attorney General secured $615 from the three companies LCX, Lead ID, and Ifficient who supplied millions of fake comments to influence a 2017 FCC decision on net neutrality rules.
- 2023-07 Massachusetts may soon ban the sale of cellphone location data.
- 2023-08 After Canada’s C-18 bill, the Online News Act, required Google and Meta to pay for news links, they both stopped existing in Canada.
- 2023-09 The UK will not move forward in using its powers in the online safety bill after WhatsApp and other tech companies threatened to pull out of the country.
- The People vs. Multiple
- 2022-11 Apple was hit with a class-action lawsuit because they tracked users’ mobile activity even though they assured customers they were respecting their privacy.
- 2023-08 Comcast and Centurylink were unable to stop a community-owned gigabit fiber network in Bountiful, Utah.
- 2023-11 Voters in Maine have overwhelmingly voted for a Right to Repair law for automotives.
Antagonism vs. Government:
- Multiple vs. Government
- The People vs. Government
- Government vs. Government
- 2021-11 US intelligence agencies have added NSO Group, an Israeli military spyware company, to its trade blacklist for US technology.
- 2022-06 The US’ FCC wants TikTok removed from app stores because of how much data TikTok is collecting.
- 2022-08 The US government is banning sales of NVIDIA GPUs to China.
- 2022-11 The FCC has banned authorizations for Chinese technology deemed a threat to national security, which includes sales and import of Huawei and ZTE phones.
- 2022-12 The US is asking most of the EU to give over all its facial recognition and fingerprint data.
- 2023-03 The FBI is accusing the CIA of covering up events leading up to 9/11.
- 2023-03 Germany opposes the EU’s plans for client-side scanning.
- 2023-03 The USA and China are competing for contracts that install undersea internet cables.
- 2023-03 The NYPD is refusing to comply with NYC’s new laws on surveillance tech reporting.
- 2023-05 A FISA court opinion has indicated the FBI improperly searched an intelligence trove connected to the January 6, 2021 Capitol event.
- 2023-05 A US district court has ruled that border searches of cell phones require a warrant.
- 2023-09 TikTok was fined $345m for breaking an EU data law about childrens’ user accounts.
- 2023-10 Finland will vote against the EU Commission’s directive to conduct mass surveillance and ban encryption.
- Facebook/Meta vs. US Government
- Facebook/Meta vs. Chinese Government
- Amazon vs. US Government
- Amazon vs. Chinese Government
- Apple vs. Government
- Apple vs. NSO Group
- Google/Alphabet vs. Government
- Twitter/X vs. Government
Antagonism vs. Facebook/Meta:
- Government vs. Facebook/Meta
- 2021-09 Ireland has fined WhatsApp Ireland €225 million for GDPR violations, which is €147.5 million more than Facebook was expecting.
- 2021-10 Germany’s primary data protection regulator has banned Facebook because of concerns about WhatsApp.
- 2022-09 A Washington state judge rules Meta intentionally violated campaign finance laws.
- 2023-05 Facebook must pay €1.2 billion for GDPR violations and require active users’ consent to track them (though nothing indicated about their shadow profiles).
- 2023-08 Norway has fined Meta $100,000 per day for using individuals’ data for targeted ads, and the ban has expanded to the entire EU.
- 2023-10 Multiple US states have sued Meta over harmful youth marketing.
- Apple vs. Facebook/Meta
Antagonism vs: Amazon:
- Government vs. Amazon
- 2021-05 California has ruled Amazon is responsible for defective products from third party sellers.
- 2022-01 Washington State is nationally shutting down Amazon’s price-fixing program.
- 2022-02 A US labor board is prosecuting the firing of an Amazon union activist.
- 2023-05 The US FTC and DOJ have charged Amazon to pay $25 million for holding onto Alexa voice recordings indefinitely and undermining parents’ requests for deletion.
- 2023-09 The US FTC is suing Amazon for illegally maintaining monopoly power.
- Apple vs. Amazon
- Google/Alphabet vs. Amazon & Ebay
- The People vs. Amazon
Antagonism vs: Apple:
- Government vs. Apple
- 2021-04 Apple is getting sued for saying that you’re “buying” their movies, then removing them.
- 2021-04 The EU has slammed Apple for being anti-competitive.
- 2021-11 A US federal judge has said that Apple must let developers add links and buttons to external payment options to bypass Apple’s 30% royalty cut, but still charges a 27% commission for alternative payment systems in the Netherlands.
- 2022-12 EU laws require Apple now must allow “sideloading” of its apps, though it won’t like come to the USA.
- 2023-01 France has fined Apple €8 million for illegally harvesting user data for ads.
- 2023-05 Apple was blocked from reviving a copyright case that would ban iOS emulation.
- 2023-05 The EU has warned Apple they can’t throttle charging speeds with third-party USB-C charging cables.
- 2023-09 The iPhone 12 was withdrawn from the French market because it didn’t comply with EU regulations.
- 2023-09 The EU is mandating that Apple’s iOS 17 allow sideloading of apps, who will comply with the demand.
- 2023-09 The EU is telling Apple to open everything in its ecosystem up to its rivals.
- 2023-11 The US Department of Justice has declared that Apple’s hiring practices have discriminated against US citizens.
- Facebook/Meta vs. Apple
- Epic Games vs. Apple
- Google/Alphabet vs. Apple
Antagonism vs. Google/Alphabet:
- Governments vs. Google/Alphabet
- 2021-01 Multiple US states are suing Google for antitrust behavior.
- 2021-04 Australia has declared that Google has misled consumers about how they’re collecting and using user data.
- 2021-06 Ohio has sued Google and wants to classify them as a public utility.
- 2022-02 France has declared Google Analytics data going to the US isn’t sufficiently regulated.
- 2022-06 Italy has banned Google Analytics.
- 2022-07 Dutch schools can no longer use Google’s cloud services or email due to privacy concerns.
- 2022-09 The EU has fined Google $4 billion for monopolistic practices regarding the Android operating system and its search engine.
- 2022-11 Google is paying a $391.5 million settlement over its location tracking practices.
- 2023-01 The US DOJ is suing Google over abusing their monopolized ad situation.
- 2023-07 The Swedish Authority for Privacy Protection has declared in an audit that four companies can’t use Google Analytics.
- 2023-09 The US FTC is engaging Google/Meta in a very large antitrust trial.
- Twitter/X vs. Google/Alphabet
- Smaller Developers vs. Google/Alphabet
Antagonism vs. Microsoft:
- Governments vs. Microsoft
- 2022-11 Germany has banned Microsoft 365 because it doesn’t conform to GDPR, and is switching to LibreOffice.
Antagonism vs. Microsoft:
- Government vs. TikTok
- 2022-11 South Dakota has banned TikTok from state-owned computers.
- 2022-12 US Congress passed a spending bill that also banned TikTok from government devices.
- 2023-05 A California court is suing TikTok for giving backdoor access to China.
- 2023-06 TikTok has acknowledged that some Americans’ data is stored in China.
- 2023-11 Nepal has banned TikTok on the claim that it disrupts social harmony.
Antagonism vs. Others:
- Government vs. Other
- 2022-06 The US FTC fines Twitter $150 million for using their two-factor authentication phone numbers for ad targeting and sues Intuit for “deceptive” ads that claim TurboTax is free.
- 2022-08 A class action lawsuit is taking place in a US District Court against Oracle’s detailed dossiers of 5 billion people.
- 2023-01 The FCC threatens to disconnect a large telecom company Twilio if they keep servicing illegal robocallers.
- 2023-03 The US FTC is requiring Epic Games to pay $245 million for tricking users into making unwanted charges.
- 2023-05 A US District judge has ruled that Reddit is not obligated to give the film industry personal information about users who commented on Reddit.
- 2023-08 HP has failed to refute that it bricks printers when the printer cartridge is low.
- 2023-09 The EU fines Intel $400 million for paying HP to not directly sell AMD-powered business PCs.
- Apple vs. Hackers
- Apple vs. Developers
- The People vs. Others
- Other Miscellaneous Things
For all the above, many organizations have somewhat scaled back their actions:
- 2022-06 Spotify and Google announced User Choice Billing.
- 2022-06 You can now ask Google to remove your phone number, email, or address from search results.
- 2022-06 Google gives Europeans a “reject all” button to conform with the EU’s GDPR laws.
- 2023-11 Google has cut back its experimental Web Environment Integrity API to only apply to Android devices.
It’s also worth noting tech trends move around a ton, and every few decades something tends to upend the value of how people want to use their technology:
- IBM once dominated the computer industry with their 360 system. They imagined people wanted the reliable IBM-brand computers more than anything. Microsoft signed a non-exclusive contract with them, and consumers cared more about MS-DOS (and later Windows) on a cheap computer more than whether it was an IBM computer. By the 1990s, IBM was just one of many competitors over hardware.
- Microsoft dominated the operating system world for a long time, with Mac and Linux picking up stragglers. However, Linux started taking over server environments by the early 2000s, and by the late 2000s Google had created a vastly superior search engine for what people wanted. As of 2022, Linux is still carving out parts of the desktop market as Windows 11 fails to improve itself.
- While I write this in 2023, people are getting tremendously concerned with Google’s lack of consideration for individual users’ privacy. It’s only a matter of a few years before a legitimately privacy-respecting operating system, search engine, and browser take over from the studious efforts of a clever software developer.