your data is not safe

Maybe some of my real-life friends will roll their eyes at me reading the title of this post... But seriously, pop a squat and listen up: your data — your online identity — is being mishandled. It's a fact.

I'm seeing a disturbing trend. Meta (owner of Facebook and Instagram) doesn't know where your data is, and Twitter has an alarmingly high frequency of security incidents. In addition, Linux servers are increasingly being targeted by threat actors, which is bad news for the whole of network society. With users increasingly putting their data (both explicitly in the form of cloud storage, email attachments, communications, etc; and implicitly in the form of metadata and inferred data) under supervision of centralized services run by companies like like Meta, Google, Apple, and Microsoft (heads up, Microsoft owns both Github and NPM so they have a monstrous stranglehold on net society by virtue of being gatekeepers of the software development ecosystem), and with software developers growing increasingly complacent in their practices we're building a house of cards that's ready to fall.

Whether you're worried about who could get ahold of the data due to poor security and privacy policy loopholes or about how the companies themselves are going to use it to increase their profits and power at your own expense, the call to action is clear. We have to take our data back into our own hands. Delete your accounts; use a different web browser, search engine, and email provider; lock down your cell phone or switch to a dumb phone (the latter is not easy if your phone is your primary computer, I understand — hence, the former); take advantage of your local community resources instead of abusing the network (and yourself by proxy); and educate yourself!

Do some independent research, ask your nerdy friends (like me) what the risks and alternatives are, and experiment with alternate ways of living in net society! If we just accept the status quo and continue blindly... well we've got plenty of dystopian cyberpunk fiction written in the last 35 years to tell us where that leads. Just beware, the glossy sheen and aesthetic of the real cyberpunk dystopia is more deceptively inviting than the fiction, so stay frosty.