In her 2019 book, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, Shoshana Zuboff describes the ways in which Google and Facebook in particular have benefitted enormously by making it easy for us to give up our privacy in exchange for convenience. Their profits are made from selling our data to other capitalist entities that use the data to go beyond predicting our behavior to modifying it. The examples Zuboff provides, of how this is done and the lengths technology companies have gone to, to prevent legislation that would limit their reach are chilling. It’s a book everyone who is concerned about technology and democracy should read.
On the basis of Zuboff’s arguments, I have decided to disengage from big technology platforms, starting with Facebook and Google. Because I have used Google products for years and own an Android phone, realistically, I might not accomplish the goal of disengaging from Google before I die. However, I’m going to try!
Here’s my project plan:
- Publish this blog post
- Post a link to the blog post on Facebook
- Archive and delete my Facebook account and my late husband, Joseph Kott’s account, of which I am the manager
- Archive and delete Instagram accounts
- Move contacts from Google to my domain and email everyone to notify them of change in email
- Change accounts that use gmail for sign-in
- Set up auto response on gmail account to notify senders of email address change
- Delete or archive old email messages
- Archive photos to thumb drive
- What to do about maps on phone
- LinkedIn? Keep or delete
- What’s App? Keep or delete
Knowing that people are not likely to send me individual email messages or texts when they post to Facebook or Instagram, I know I’ll miss keeping up with friends and family on social media. And I know one person’s decision to disengage won’t really change the system. That said, I believe this is one area where I must align my actions with my principles. So, here I go…
I’d appreciate thoughts, comments, free advice 🙂 from friends and former colleagues, particularly folks who have been or still are, deeply engaged with technology.