On desktop, documents are in Libre Office. Privacy Badger blocks most of the junk. Browsing is with Firefox. Mail is via Thunderbird, talking to the same IMAP server. Haven't looked at Facebook this week yet.
ISP is Sonic.net, which just moves bits, and doesn't MITM anything. They're pro net neutrality.
Who needs Google?
If you think its easy, you've probably only cut out the most obvious vectors.
Consider Drive as an example. You can download the entire contents of your Drive at any time. Where do you upload it to? How many services will provide a clean and easy way to import all Drive documents? Will they maintain folder hierarchy? Individual files in Drive can also be shared with zero, a few, or all users with a given URL---can your new collaborative document editing tool be set up to manage that state? Is it automatable, or something you'll have to set up by hand for 10s - 100s - 1000s of documents?
This is the kind of thing an enterprise can pay someone to sort out, but individual users really have to care about leaving a service family (that one assumes at some point in the past they were already happy with the privacy / security tradeoff) to invest the time and effort to do so without data or functionality loss.
How exactly does Google/GMail violate the users' privacy with email?
They process the messages, show hyper-targeted ads. End of story.
But is there a Cambridge Analytica for GMail? Can some "app" exfiltrate the emails? Or the contacts of users?
And then when you add in all the other tracking that Google does of your web history, search history, location data, that is pretty much all your privacy gone.
Let's say I pay an assistant to help with my email. Even though they are in my employ, I'm still giving up my privacy for the service. Google gives us email service in exchange for that peek in to our private lives.
Gmail dosen't. The ads you see have nothing to do with your mail activity. They haven't for a while now. Not saying Google is a paragon of privacy, mind you.
The only solution is to have the code open sourced with reproducible builds and a checksum to verify it against. Pretty much every GApp has a free, libre, open-source alternative that respects your privacy in this way.
Google runs the SmartBot2000 software for you. If you use FOSS but run it on AWS EC2, you still need to trust the software, manage the upgrades (or trust the auto upgrade feature, trust the maintainers), and trust AWS for not fucking with your VM.
We have a few physical servers. And probably always will. We run our own email, but also use gmail too. Because sometimes our email breaks, sometimes [understandably fewer times] gmail breaks (or is not available, such as in China). And we will probably always run our email, but it's a lot of work, and it's not for everybody. And even though postfix, dovecot and K9/thunderbird/roundcube are all fine, they are not as smart as gmail. (but usually snappier)
You need decades of experience to set up a secure email host. GMail does it for people in exchange for showing them ads. (uBlock FTW, BTW)
NSA/Prism is a valid reason to use your own mailserver, but then again, keeping up with TLS/OpenSSL issues is a valid reason to use a non-self-hosted solution (as they do it for you, though gmail accepts unencrypted SMTP :/).
And of course, at the end of the day, there's ProtonMail!
1) you can't verify they're actually running that code anyway
2) it's end-to-end encrypted so as long as the client-side code is indeed doing its part, your message could be sent to everyone on the planet without any fear of anyone figuring out its plaintext.
So when it comes to email... yeah, it's not as private as it could be, but it's about the best I can find for everything else. It ain't perfect, but it's the best option for me right now. Maybe it won't be in a year or two?
That's SVspeak for
they read your emails
Yes, yes. I know it's a machine.
Has this author ever spoken to anyone who's tried using a smartphone or OS that isn't Apple or Google? "People love free stuff" isn't a sufficient explanation, it reads like someone trying to blame consumers, to say nothing of the ethical implications behind the conscious, deliberate decisions behind each of the scandals they're happy to wave away.
No. We shouldn't conclude anything. The author gives the mass market way too much credit in knowing the extent of tracking, data-harvesting, data-sharing, MITM access (ie, ISPs, cell companies), the lack of transparency, the lack of accountability, the backdoor collusion with government and an entrenched news media that has a vested interest in protecting their ad revenue.
In the grand sleazy scale of things, they are nearly ignorant compared to knowledgeable: basing their consumerism on PR statements, selfies and memes. It remains for most of them... A Brave New World.
So I'd expect something like a company coming out allowing you to do everything Facebook does and use the same data with events and everything, but that does not ask you to give away your data.
I still fundamentally disagree with Europe's stance on data ownership. If I collect data on a person in a public location, I believe I own that data, not the person. If a person walks into my store and I take a picture of them, I don't believe I've "stolen" anything from them, nor do they have the right to demand I give them a copy of the picture I took and delete the picture from my hard drive. This fantasy world where everyone should be able to be perfectly anonymous and erase all evidence of their existence anytime they want is a bad idea. There has to be a balance between publicly available information and private information. If you are in a public location, I should be able to glean information from observations.
Quantity makes a huge difference.
If I'm a skilled artist and I see a person naked in public without their permission, am I allowed to recall those thoughts and recreate the image in my mind onto paper using my artistic dexterity? Or am I breaking some privacy law by doing so?
Sounds like a straw man argument. People voluntarily upload/submit their data to Google, Facebook, etc
Where do you define 'a public location' in terms of internet use?
You're arguing that more data should be public so you can privatize it?
But, it is the law of the land, and unlikely to change in the near future. Lots of things are suboptimal and I’m not sure GDPR is very close to the top of my list. So you get over it and move on.