We’ve all heard the scandal about Facebook giving data to Cambridge Analytica for election shenanigans. Also, as a close follower of financial news, I’ve seen the Big Tech stocks’ falls in March drag the rest of the stock market down with them. Big Tech is made up of the biggest names in technology the world has ever seen; these are companies whose products we depend on every day. Facebook. Google. Apple. Amazon. Microsoft. Netflix. Like the Amish farmer with horses plowing his fields instead of a tractor, how long do you think you could live without the products from these companies?
One man has decided to find out for himself. Daniel Oberhaus of Motherboard magazine writes that he will try to go one month without using products from Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, or Amazon. Just imagine how much of your life involves these companies. How will he do it?
If you are a TechDifferent kind of person, you know how he’ll do it. With FOSS! Free and open source software! The Amish get along fine without industrial manufacturing, so going with Linux rather than MacOS will be no problem for you!
Oberhaus’s idea is that we are so dependent on Big Tech that we can’t imagine a life without them, or if we do imagine life without them it is a dystopian life of scarcity and loneliness. He throws away that small-minded view and claims a full life is possible using FOSS-based tech.
Think about the products you use the most. Your phone. I have a phone running Android, a product of Google. Many people I know have iPhones from Apple. Mr. Oberhaus proposes to switch to a phone running the open-source Sailfish phone OS.
Have you purchased an Echo from Amazon? Well, learn to use your everyday devices again. You know, the ones not perpetually connected to the internet? And speaking of Amazon, lose Amazon Prime and buy your products elsewhere, internet-wise. Find a mom and pop web shop that has what you need. Or, better yet, think twice about whether you really need those quick-charge USB cables you wanted.
What about your email? Do you use Gmail? Try a Yahoo account for a change.
Now, about your computer…
I, for one, applaud Mr. Oberhaus’s efforts and wish him luck in his quest. It will not be easy, but TechDifferent is here to help.