Freedom?

Photo by Kristina V on Unsplash

I was not surprised to read that Apple killed the Epic developer account because it had proven to be “verifiably untrustworthy.”

Nevertheless, I have heard of other developer accounts being killed for no reason. Epic has more legal power to confront Apple in that regard, but most developers don’t.

At the same time, we, as users, do not have the power to confront these kind of decisions. Apple, Facebook, Google, Amazon, eBay, PayPal, you name one. Every single one of these high-tech moguls has the power to terminate a user account. From a user standpoint, you can appeal this decision. Best of luck if you try. Most of the time, you cannot even talk with a human.

We depend incredibly on online services that do not guarantee you will be there over time.

Just think about email. I have a free Gmail account for most of my private stuff. I use it to register for services that I need daily, such as home banking, health insurance, utilities, and so on.

Well, Google may decide to kill my email address, and there will be a little bit more than nothing I can do.

Sincerely, this is a complete mess. We are not free online anymore.

The strict relationship between different online services has become so strict that we are confined in a cage without even knowing.

There’s more.

As I have written, my house is completely automated with Home Assistant. For Home Assistant to work, I need integrations with other services. Philips HUE for lighting, Netatmo for climate control, Blink for my surveillance system, and Garmin Connect for my health data, to name a few.

There are implications with this approach.

Any of those providers may decide to get out of business, or they may decide to kill their APIs. If Philips will do this, I will not be able to turn my home lights on and off again. I do not have any control over these services.

Then comes privacy. When I switch a light on, Philips will know I have done that. When I switch off my bedroom lights, Philips will know I will sleep. I can assert that my behavior in my house is completely monitored by someone out there. The rationale that keeps me going like that is that the benefit I receive is more valuable than the personal data I am giving away.

This does not change the fact that this is wrong.

I am exploring options to disconnect everything from third-party services and keep my personal data private. I am a tinkerer, and I can make it. The vast majority of people out there can’t.

I should do the same for e-mail and host it on my home server. This sounds easy, but it is not at all. Just do a quick search on personal e-mail servers, and you will find out that this is easy from a technical standpoint, but all the anti-spam infrastructure out there will make your efforts vanish in a breeze.

Shakespeare wrote, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.” We can say that something is rotten in the state of the internet.

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