Freedom of Speech in the Age of Privacy Policies

Freedom of Speech in the Age of Privacy Policies

(I got access to thinkspot beta and this was my first post on that platform. I decided to crosspost it here to increase awareness of thinkspot, and also because the issues I raise here are relevant on other social media platforms as well.)

 

Hi, I’m Joel, and I eat Privacy Policies for breakfast.

I’m thrilled to be among the first users a social platform that encourages free speech and exchange of ideas, driven by the idea of diversity of minds – the true diversity – not the superficial diversity of how we look or where we come from. However, there can be no free speech without privacy. In a similar vein, Snowden famously wrote few years ago that “Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.” Well I care about both. It makes a lot of sense then for my first contribution on this platform to be an analysis of thinkspot’s Privacy Policy.

All comments are made about Privacy Policy that’s dated to be effective starting August 8, 2019. It seems that they don’t keep an archive of old policies, so I took the liberty to archive this one myself. They do however notify users “in advance of any material updates to this Privacy Policy by providing a notice on the Website or via email”, so that’s a good thing. Here’s some of the most notable parts of the policy.

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On Twitter Bots, Censorship and Social Media Manipulation

On Twitter Bots, Censorship and Social Media Manipulation

During the past couple of months, there’s been an uptick in discussion regarding social media weaponization, censorship, bots and other manipulation. I’ve been following and participating in this public dialogue with keen interest, especially from the privacy and free speech perspectives. Whereas 2018 was the year of Facebook fiascos, it looks like in 2019 the spotlight has turned on Twitter.

So here’s a blog post about Twitter, made with embedded tweets. Let’s go full meta.

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The Best Online Privacy Guides

The Best Online Privacy Guides

This is a collection of the best, most reputable and generally most acknowledged online privacy guides on the web. They are sorted in alphabetical order to avoid any biases, and each of them contain a short snippet quoted from the respective sites. I have not and will not add privacy guides that are created by VPN “review” sites or other such entities that create content just to spam it with affiliate links.

I dare to say that these guides together cover all the bases when it comes to the best privacy practices, OPSEC, and basic online anonymity – even for the more advanced users. However, if you think I’m missing a guide, please leave a comment below and I’ll happily review and possibly add it to the list, thank you.

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The Power of Words

The Power of Words

A while back I wrote an article pondering about the questionable quality of the information available online. However, after seeing these next two videos recently, I decided to expand that topic a bit more. This time I will focus on the words used, i.e. the way things are expressed in a certain way to shape your reaction and opinions. This very cunning method is used in both public and private sectors, and certainly as a phenomenon it’s on the rise.

To lay the foundations to this topic, check out this this must-see video from Billy Johnson from Amidst the Noise:

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The Dark Side of Information Overload

The Dark Side of Information Overload

The Internet has made the creating, consuming, sharing and searching for information easier than ever before, but it has not done so without consequences. The openness of the Internet has lots of debatable downsides, ranging from cyber terrorism to illegalized peer networks, but although many of those regularly gain flashy headlines, I’m writing about an issue that is often ignored: the quality and the worthiness of the data itself.

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