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We Must Resist Technology

We Must Resist Technology Posted by Admin on June 25 2019

I wonder if anyone alive today who is old enough to read - or watch movies - hasn't seen the parallels yet between George Orwell's novel '1984' or the Terminator series starring Arnold Schwartzenegger. Although they've thus far kept how they feel about humans to themselves, robots are already starting to replace us. And for those of you who don't realize this, you don't need to have an Alexa in your home for the companies that create "smart home" devices to be able to spy on you. Every time you use the Internet, EVERY nuance of your travels, from what sites you visit and how long you stay there to how you move your mouse (or swipe your screen) is monitored and recorded. Trust me, it's MUCH worse than you think.

Here in sleepy little Kingman, population +/-30,000 residents and assorted transients and crackheads, there isn't YET a video camera and "gunshot detector" on every corner, but you're not going to make it from one side of town to the other without your actions being observed and recorded. Perhaps an argument could be made that if the police and sheriff's departments had access to such information, the intrusion into our privacy would be outweighed by their increased ability not only to apprehend evildoers, but by their ability to respond to incidents more efficiently because they can avoid traffic congestion. The unfortunate truth is that the data collected here is available not just to every government agency in America, but to any thirteen-year-old who knows how to hack computer systems.

EVERYTHING today is shared on the Internet, which means you can safely assume that it is available to anyone in the world who has the skills or resources to obtain it. Worse, anyone with a mind to can not only obtain any information about you that they want, they can alter or delete it. If you have any doubt about the accuracy of that statement, you apparently missed the headlines about Riviera Beach Florida agreeing to pay $600,000 to hackers who encrypted the city's data, making it unusable. The fact that Google executives were secretly recorded talking about adjusting their artificial intellegence (AI) algorythms to prevent "another situation" like President Trump being elected in 2016 should surprise no one.

I think it's safe to assume that unless extremely large-scale changes are made across the board very soon, we are just a few years away from a world where those who control the data will have absolute control over everyone else on Earth. If you disagree, imagine for a moment a situation where Amazon's latest offering - security drones to patrol your property, have been replaced by government surveilance drones (already happening), and cash has been replaced by debit and credit cards with "smart chip" technology. In such a world, your ability to obtain the things you need - utilities, fuel, or food, would be totally dependent on those controlling the digital wealth. Even an army likely couldn't stand up to them (assuming they didn't already own an army), because by withholding - or just threatening to withhold - vital supplies from individuals who didn' cooperate with them or offering economic incentives to those who did, they would essentially control the entire population. Even black markets would be hard pressed to rebel against a system where everyone's position can be monitored in real time through a variety of methods, not the least of which is by the card they have to carry to buy things.

So what can we do to try to stop the tidal rush of technology? Well obviously that entails using as little technology as possible. When someone offers you a "new and better" way of doing things, perhaps instead of assuming that their time and effort is being spent to help you, you might reflect on what a mouse probably thinks when it discovers a mousetrap loaded with its favorite treat, conveniently placed right along its favorite path. It's probably something along the line of, "this treat station is NEW and BETTER, and will serve me well!"

I use an older firewall by PCTools (it's a free download), but you can do this with most firewalls. Before connecting to the Internet (which I do with a single older laptop, my primary computers NOT being Internet connected), I configured the firewall to block EVERYTHING. When the computer reboots, messages pop up asking me whether or not to allow a particular program to perform a particular action, and whether to remember this setting. With NO CONNECTION to the Internet, I block each popup on a single basis, and allow those that recur more than three times. These, we assume, are functions necessary to the computer's operation. The exception to this rule is any program that tries to acces the Internet (which remember isn't connected), since until I INSTRUCT my computer to access the Internet, it has no business doing so. Obviously this means having automatic updates turned off for all programs, since simply blocking their access will probably result in them not running.

Once I have the computer and all the non-Internet programs installed on it running properly, I reboot, and permanently block any other actions that were previously temporarily blocked, on the assumption that if everything ran properly before rebooting, they are not needed. This is where the fun starts. I plug in the cable that connects my Internet laptop to the router that supplies Internet connectivity and again block everything that tries to connect, this time permanently. Remember that the computer was running fine without these things before it realized that there was a path to the Internet.

Finally, I open my Firefox browser, which I have configured to open my preferred search page (https://startpage.com) and start blocking all the connection attempts EXCEPT those to the start page. At this point you may have to try unblocking some of the things you previously blocked when the Internet connection became available. With selective (trial and error) unblocking, you should be able to get to a point where you can reach the start page. It's important to note that almost all the things you want to see on the Internet use either HTTP or HTTPS protocol (ports 80 or 443), and the connections should always be OUTBOUND (meaning that they originated from your computer, not somewhere else).

In my firewall's setting for Firefox, I now have a bunch of blocked items and one or two that are permitted (which can be manually created/edited if necessary); permit outbound HTTP and HTTPS. If those were permitted only to my start page, I remove that criteria. Finally, I move the permitted action rules to the very bottom of the stack, so that they will not be acted upon until all other rules have been analyzed. The it's time to explore the Internet. Amazon.com is a good place to start, and will yield dozens of links to Google and other sites that want to monitor your activities and/or place targeted ads on your computer. Some of these are necessary, since most sites use content stored on third-party servers, but blocking them all first, and then selectively unblocking allows you to determine what is necessary and what isn't.

The deluge of connections to one site (like Amazon) will be repeated every time you go to a new site. After a few itterations, you will begin to see which connections are common to most sites (cloud servers and such) and which are unnecessary. Suffice it to say that when I connect to the Internet, there are upwards of three dozen connections to sites that want to record my meanderings but are blocked by my firewall. It doesn't solve the problem, but it helps. Unfortunately, if you access the Internet through a tablet or smartphone, all bets are off. These devices are hard-wired to monitor your every move, and the only way to prevent it is to stop using these devices.

By the way, even if your only connection to the Internet is through a PC, you shoulld assume that any monitoring device, like a microphone or webcam, WILL be used to monitor you unless physically disabled. The same is true with other Internet-connected devices.

 

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