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A dumb phone is £17. Just saying.

That’s the beginning of a very interesting Twitter thread. Since I know some of you (wisely) won’t go to the bird site, I have copied all the tweets and I shall paste them below. I love you old Luddites that much.

First of all, your social media apps are not listening to you. This is a conspiracy theory. It’s been debunked over and over again.

But frankly they don’t need to because everything else you give them unthinkingly is way cheaper and way more powerful.

Your apps collect a ton of data from your phone. Your unique device ID. Your location. Your demographics. Weknowdis.

Data aggregators pay to pull in data from EVERYWHERE. When I use my discount card at the grocery store? Every purchase? That’s a dataset for sale.

They can match my Harris Teeter purchases to my Twitter account because I gave both those companies my email address and phone number and I agreed to all that data-sharing when I accepted those terms of service and the privacy policy.

Here’s where it gets truly nuts, though.

If my phone is regularly in the same GPS location as another phone, they take note of that. They start reconstructing the web of people I’m in regular contact with.

The advertisers can cross-reference my interests and browsing history and purchase history to those around me. It starts showing ME different ads based on the people AROUND me.

Family. Friends. Coworkers.

It will serve me ads for things I DON’T WANT, but it knows someone I’m in regular contact with might want.

To subliminally get me to start a conversation about, I don’t know, fucking toothpaste.

It never needed to listen to me for this. It’s just comparing aggregated metadata.

The other thing is, this is just out there in the open. Tons of people report on this. It’s just, nobody cares. We have decided our privacy just isn’t worth it. It’s a losing battle. We’ve already given away too much of ourselves.

So. They know my mom’s toothpaste. They know I was at my mom’s. They know my Twitter. Now I get Twitter ads for mom’s toothpaste.

Your data isn’t just about you. It’s about how it can be used against every person you know, and people you don’t. To shape behavior unconsciously.

Apple’s latest updates let you block apps’ tracking and Facebook is MAD. They’re BEGGING you to just press accept and go back to business as usual.

Block the fuck out of every app’s ads. It’s not just about you: your data reshapes the internet.

The internet is never going to be the wacky place it was when I had a Livejournal and people shared protean gifs in the form of YTMNDs. Big business has come to suck the joy (and your dollars) out of it.

At least make it hard for them.


Comment from ExpressoBold
Time: May 26, 2021, 9:46 pm

See here!

I would accept the ad hominem “Luddite” if in fact I eschewed Twitter on my own, refusing to indulge in that hive of scum and villainy BUT I was unceremoniously suspended from that rats’ nest for the false assertions of “spam and platform manipulation.” They lied. I’ve done neither!

I was only guilty of “conservative while white” and supporting, rather ardently, President Donald Trump.

As they say, “I didn’t leave Twitter, Twitter left me.” That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it!

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: May 26, 2021, 10:00 pm

I’ve been on the ‘net since before there was a web (heavy usenet user, for one thing) and so I am both astonished and embarrassed that I had to look up YTMNDs. I’d never heard of “You the man now, dog” before today.

My digital geekiness goes all the way back to writing a COBOL program that used the timing characteristics of the IBM 1403 printer to make that behemoth play Jingle Bells for the office Christmas party. I couldn’t get much in the way of melody, but the percussion/rhythm was spot on.

But I missed out on YTMND though. *sob*

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: May 27, 2021, 12:32 am

Big Business…more like Big Brother, but pretend it’s just business, that’ll make it better, almost acceptable even.

After all, all those years you agreed to the Microsoft license on page 137, paragraph 3, 4th line, you were also agreeing to a random lottery that would make you Bill Gate’s pool boy for 2 weeks at the time of his choosing.
Kidding, but really, did you ever read the damn thing?

the very machines we use, we don’t even own the software for, we lease it. And they’ll damn well update it when they damn well please if you use their internet.

And don’t even get me started on the idea that selected types of your data is being swept, and captured, by the Alphabet agencies. You’re not the only one buying terabytes of storage, and the Alphabet agencies are using your wallet to buy theirs too.


And Uncle Al, we’re obviously of the same era in DP, relatively speaking (see, I called it DP, remember when it was DP and not IS?), so you’ll be happy to know that YTMND is something we probably missed because we were old GEEZERS by 2001 when it was first used on the internet.
And COBOL, why, that’s a dead language, my PASCAL instructor told me so in 1977.

And to think our evil genius plan to destroy civilization in the new Millennium by using 2 digit years was discovered and foiled back there in 1999.
Drat! Curses! Foiled again!

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: May 27, 2021, 12:34 am

Hey! If you post as a-nonny-mouse accidental like, you can go back and hit EDIT to fix it if you catch it right away.


(Nota Bene: Anonymous, not a-nonny-mouse…just in case you’re a former programmer or QA type and are therefor operating under the “that was what you told me to do!” method of operation.)

Comment from Mitchell
Time: May 27, 2021, 12:40 am

THREE comments in the spam filter! I’ve been Weasel-banned! *SOBS*

Comment from Anonymous
Time: May 27, 2021, 3:26 am

I for one, welcome our new Overlords, and I Fully U and Consent to Knowlege-gathering That Has Essential and Material value to my personal benefit.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 27, 2021, 7:19 pm

I’ve just emptied the spam filter, Mitchell, and none of yours were in there. Odd.

Comment from BJM
Time: May 27, 2021, 7:49 pm

A “dumb” phone still has to negotiate EAP-SIM for authentication and session key distribution using the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM). All cell phones have a SIM with an embedded ID that can be tracked via tower triangulation.

Comment from BJM
Time: May 27, 2021, 7:56 pm

@Mitchell & Stoaty…I noticed that if you submit and then decide to edit, and then change your mind and hit Cancel in Edit mode it deletes the comment….at least I think that’s what happened to a couple of my comments…or they are in edit purgatory. ARRRGGGGG!!!

Comment from Mrs. Peel
Time: May 28, 2021, 1:01 pm

I would actually like to see a law that says that your (meta)data belongs to you and that big tech must explicitly lay out what they are doing with your data. If they’re selling or trading it to another company, they need to state that explicitly and gain your consent, and they can’t refuse you service unless selling your data is inherently part of the service (in other words, your grocery store can’t deny you a discount card because you don’t want them telling the world you buy a box of cheerios every week; but if for some reason you wanted ads for what you buy served to your son, you’d have to allow your data to be sold).

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