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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Instagram Hardening – Private Profile is NOT Enough!

Instagram Hardening – Private Profile is NOT Enough!

First things first: Instagram is owned by Facebook. As such, no matter your settings or how you operate the app, you can never obtain real privacy on the platform. There exists a decentralized, ad-free alternative called Pixelfed that seems to have been getting some praise, but without personal experiences I can’t say much about it. Still worth the look if you’re thinking about migrating from Instagram.

Alright, now on to the guide. Here are the concrete steps you should take in order to increase your privacy and security on Instagram.

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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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How to Setup LinkedIn for Better Privacy and OPSEC

How to Setup LinkedIn for Better Privacy and OPSEC

When it comes to privacy and social media platforms, LinkedIn is the necessary evil we have to put up with. While it’s a no-brainer to delete your Facebook account and the likes of Snapchat attention-span-of-a-goldfish platforms are easy to skip, but so much of job recruitment revolves around LinkedIn that it’s a lot harder to severe ties with it. Many companies don’t even post their offerings anywhere else than on LinkedIn, and prefer applications that come directly through the platform. It’s also a great tool for headhunters to find suitable candidates.

So let’s assume you have a LinkedIn profile, you want to build up your online resume and personal brand, and want to be able to jump on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity if it presents itself. However, you can accomplish all that without revealing every aspect of your professional self for the whole world to see. Let’s start of with LinkedIn settings and then move on to platform behavior and other tips.

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4 Steps to Harden Your Twitter Account

4 Steps to Harden Your Twitter Account

As data breaches and identity thefts are happening left and right, day and night, the best time to secure your Twitter account was yesterday. Here’s four straightforward steps you should take in order to significantly decrease the possibility of your account getting accessed by an outsider. Most of these things are applicable to other online services as well, so once you’re done hardening your Twitter account, take a critical look at your other accounts both on and off social media.

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Why Quitting the Big Five is Bad Privacy Advice

Why Quitting the Big Five is Bad Privacy Advice

The big five – Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google & Microsoft – have got a stranglehold of our digital life. Not just our digital identities, but almost all of our web experiences are reliant or connected to the technologies of these five companies.

Recently, Daniel Oberhaus from Motherboard and then Kashmir Hill from Gizmodo both experimented by completely “quitting” the Big Five, for four and six weeks respectively. Both of their stories are very insightful and definitely recommended reading for anyone. However, quitting the Big Five is exactly the kind of take on privacy that turns many people off from becoming more privacy aware.

I’ve seen this happen time and time again in r/privacy, where people who have just tipped their toes in the world on online privacy and security are getting barraged with comments like “LOL IF YOU’RE NOT USING LINUX YOU’RE SCREWED” and “YOU NEED TO DELETE ALL SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS”. But if we as a privacy community would dial back our tone just a bit, I think we could do way more good than what we’re doing right now.

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