Go Retro in 2018.

The first issue of 2018 is that Korora is not keeping up. They are moving to an annual update system. I run this on my main machine but given that there is no continuity with Fedora, and that Fedora only supports two versions of the distro, I’m wondering if it is stable enough. So I’m moving to crunchand plusplus(#!++), at least for the laptops. It is lighter than what I’m using, and I used to use Archbang or crunchbang, so I’m familiar with it. I looked at Bunsenlabs, downloaded the iso, and tested it, and it is a little too minimal in the live environment.

The alternative I would consider is Antergos, which is the fastest way to get Arch up. But there is a difference: Bunsen’s torrent is under 900mB, while the Antergos live torrent is 2.6 MB and the minimal one is 700 MB.

Which brings me to a rule of thumb: if you have older hardware (I do) then look for a distro that is under 1 gigabyte. Bigger means more libraries means slower.

Interestingly, Debian has stopped using Chromium. At all. But it is available for other Linux distros, Windows, and MacOS. For those DUck Duck Go has a browser. Or there is Brave.

And you need to start getting Google out of your life. Slowly. You need to minimise your exposure to Facebook. I am now posting there to select friends. Because in cyberspace, as in real life, it is best to be where the crowds are not.

Today is the 11th annual Data Privacy Day. If you’re going to make real progress in your data privacy this year, you must do something about your Google and Facebook use.
Until we see such meaningful changes, consumers should vote with their feet. DuckDuckGo found that about a quarter of American adults are already taking significant actions to take back their privacy. Helping in this effort are seamless browser add-ons that will block Google and Facebook’s hidden trackers across the Internet, as well as more private alternatives to their core services. I can say from my own experience, you can indeed live Google and Facebook free.

If we do nothing about Google and Facebook, we will get more of the same: more hyper-targeting, more algorithmic bias, less competition and the further erosion of collateral industries, like media. Enough is enough.

The complete loss of personal privacy in the Internet age is not inevitable. Through thoughtful regulation and increased consumer choice, we can choose a brighter path. I hope to look back at 2018 as a turning point in data privacy, where we awoke to the unacceptable implications of two companies controlling so much of our digital future.

No argument. So what can you do?

  1. Download your google data. Use this link., work out what file compression you want (I use tarballs, because Linux) and save it. Which takes time.
  2. Change your browser. I now have Brave installed, and iceCat. I have managed to blog with Brave fairly successfully. I also have firefox, primarily for commercial sites such as banks. I have deleted Chrome. Otter is a new fork of what used to Opera which is as good or better.
  3. Make Facebook silentI am playing with my security settings on Facebook, and moving them (again) to friends only.
  4. Use other media for meme warsI am letting my google plus account go silent. I am also letting my linkedin account go silent. In am going see if Path is useful for feedback. I am no longer supporting Gab, and I will continue to post there, and twitter, particularly the Daily Meme Wars
  5. Self host your internet experinece I use wordpress and markdown on various blogs. I have discontinued Google analytics and use Piwik or Statcounter instead
  6. Self host emails or use Proton Mail. Google mail is for junk, as tumblr is for trolling

That gets rid of stage one. But you still have a google profile, and (in my case) you have an Android phone, which is connected to apps you need — such as Internet Banking or Microsoft Outlook for mail. You can use the DuckDuckGo Browser and extension or Brave when browsing, and (i hope I don’t need to say this) you should be using Linux on machines you can control, or one of the secure *BSD versions. That does not include the Mac.

Here I am finding it harder to get good options. Jolla OS is reaching Version 3, but it seems to only be released in India or on the Sony Xperia X. I have a bricked Xperia phone, but it might be the wrong one :-(.

If you go that way, forget smartphones. Forget fitness trackers, and Android apps. You are, again, trying to go under the radar. You can still surf and deal with email — note that you may need to use a web interface for other things. But you should not be wearing an android phone of apple phone on your wrist: they call home to Momma. The best fitness phones are still Casio G-shocks, Garmins and Sunntos, and they don’t need a phone to make them work.

The alternative is to not use a smartphone. Go back to a fliphone. It will be smaller, and you will be less bugged by notifications.

UPDATE.

A German Consumer Group has won a court case against Facebook saying that they do not obtain true consent.

A German consumer rights group said on Monday that a court had found Facebook’s use of personal data to be illegal because the U.S. social media platform did not adequately secure the informed consent of its users.

The verdict, from a Berlin regional court, comes as Big Tech faces increasing scrutiny in Germany over its handling of sensitive personal data that enables it to micro-target online advertising.

The Federation of German Consumer Organisations (vzvb) said that Facebook’s default settings and some of its terms of service were in breach of consumer law, and that the court had found parts of the consent to data usage to be invalid.

“Facebook hides default settings that are not privacy-friendly in its privacy center and does not provide sufficient information about it when users register,” said Heiko Duenkel, litigation policy officer at the vzvb.

“This does not meet the requirement for informed consent.” The vzvb posted a copy of the ruling on its website. A court spokesperson confirmed that a judgment had been handed down but declined further comment.

UPDATE.

Crunchbang plus plus managed tor ruin my boot process. After I rescued this by manually entering commands into grub rescue, I had a fairly minimal interface, as I expected.

I have fixed grub, but just in case I am downloading and mounting on a USB a different distro, SparkyLinux. And if that, being debian based, also munts Grub, then I will do the same and go for either fedora or Arch.

UPDATE.

I ended up going back to Fedora to get a decent boot on my laptop. Using LXQT spin of Fedora, with a fair number of modifications: installed VLC, Libreoffice, and Thunderbird. Then Spotify and Shutter (which is a better tool than Gnome-Screenshot).

In the meantime, another useful Fedora spin, Chapeau, has closed down.

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