There are many companies working hard to collect and distribute data about you and your family for profit. What you want to buy, where you want to eat, even what medical conditions you have, and whether or not you believe in God. That information and anything else you put into the internet can be collected and monetized by companies like Google and Facebook. At The Washington Post, Geoffrey Fowler explains just how far Google has gone to prevent internet users from employing its competitors’ privacy-enhancing products. He writes:
There’s a setting on your phone and web browser that Google is desperate to keep you from discovering. How desperate? In 2021 alone, Google paid Apple, Samsung and others $26.3 billion to keep it buried.
That’s more money each year than McDonald’s makes selling burgers.
This setting affects who gets to track your location and watch what you look up online. It affects the usefulness of the information you see and how much of your screen is taken up by ads.
I’m talking about your search engine — what pops up the answers when you type into the search bar. Google pays the makers of phones, laptops and browsers to be your default and to stop them from even presenting you other options during setup. It’s billions for a favor.
Most people haven’t thought much about the search function on their devices, much less how Google got there. But this default funny business might make you take a second look at not only Google, but also your trust in Apple, Samsung and other companies for selling you out.
The reason we’re able to pull back the curtain on the big business of default settings is because of an antitrust trial against Google underway in Washington, one of the largest in decades. The U.S. has accused Google of illegally using payments to phone makers and others to deter people from trying alternatives like the privacy-focused DuckDuckGo and or Microsoft-made Bing. We expect a verdict early next year.
Action Line: Advertisers aren’t the only people looking to harvest data from Americans and to control what they see. Via newly uncovered information like that found in the Twitter Files, Americans have seen the collaboration of Big Tech and Big Government in monitoring and even censoring their online habits. The degree to which you are being surveilled online has created a “virtual Panopticon,” in which your privacy vanishes. Take steps to protect your privacy where possible. And click here to subscribe to my free monthly Survive & Thrive letter, and I’ll never share your email with anyone.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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