By now, you’re likely aware of Amazon’s decision to kick Parler off their servers. This decision would take effect early Monday morning. This doesn’t mean the platform is dead, but there might be a temporary decline in its usage, depending on how long it takes the platform to find a new host.
Amazon’s decision is part of an obvious effort to deplatform alternative social media, in this case under the pretext that Parler can be used to organize violent rallies. While the potential is there, this doesn’t make the platform any different from other social media platforms. There are multiple reasons why Parler is being targeted, among them being that:
- Parler is the most significant challenge to Twitter in years,
- Parler isn’t one of the big three in tech, which includes Google, Facebook, and Twitter, and therefore doesn’t enjoy the same established position,
- Parler has a disproportionate presence of conservatives and political outsiders, making it a natural target for the big three’s efforts to deny them a voice.
Amazon’s behavior is obviously anti-trust, on intellectual, ideological, and market levels.
Sadly, it seems we can expect more of the same, as the traditional tech companies can benefit from their buddy-buddy relationship with the political establishment to ensure that the consequences for their anti-trust behavior can be mitigated. Because the Democrats are poised to assume control of all major branches of U.S. government (except Judicial, unless they pack the courts), it seems as though matters are likely to rapidly accelerate from here.
Kicking up the rhetoric, Mozilla has just stated that site should somehow “go beyond” deplatforming “bigots” (ADVISORY: Gizmodo link, be sure your adblocking and anti-trackers are active if you intend to follow that link), which sounds suspiciously like the dehumanization employed by authoritarians just prior to getting jiggy with the atrocities.
Considering the rampant left-wing censorship, there is a surging demand for free-speech tech, software, and platforms. In any case, it seems like the safer way to go for the average freedom-lover is to explore alternative tech, and break away from the big three, where it’s reasonable to do so.
One huge point to consider is that of operating systems. Currently, we live in an era of operating-systems-as-services, where OSs like Windows, iOS, and Android are offered for “free”, but there’s data collection going on in the background that is being sold to marketers so they can employ targeted ads. Because these OSs are considered services, they can be denied to a person, even if it came pre-installed on a device they purchased.
Imagine how much it would such if some yutz in California were to falsely declare you a bigot, then proceed to ban you from using Windows on your PC, iOS on your iPhone, or Android on your Samsung phone. You’d be instantly shut out of your own phone, and you might not be able to access the data you have stored on it again.
That would suck.
If censorship extends to banning users from OSs, the people who would be best off would be the ones that use open-source OSs. Because of this, it might not be a bad idea to look into Linux for PC. For smartphones, Android seems like the better option. Perhaps not so much the out-of-the-box version, but if you have the ability to install your own version of Android (and know what you’re doing), you can be ahead of the game if you have a version that resists Google’s attempts to interfere with your use.
If you use iPhone, how well off you’d be depends largely on how serious Apple is about honoring their commitment to privacy. They might not be terribly nosy, but if they were to decide to bar you from their services, you might become another Android user, quick.
If this concerns you, when shopping for a smartphone, you might be interested in looking into phones with the capacity for installing your own version of the OS.
Some might be concerned with the open-source nature of Android, reasoning that because it’s open-source, anyone might know how to hack it. However, it’s because it’s open-source that if there’s an exploit, anyone in the world could locate it in the source, and then present a remedy. On the other hand, if an unsavory individual were to find an exploit in a closed-source OS, it has far more potential to be a zero-day disaster, and by the time the owners of the source code discover something is amiss, millions of users could be affected.
There was a famous case a few years back in which government investigators got their hands on a terrorist’s iPhone. The investigators couldn’t crack the encryption, so they appealed to Apple for a backdoor. But Apple wouldn’t comply, because the privacy of the customers mattered to them.
The investigators got a backdoor anyway, but not from Apple. They just did what many hackers do: they purchased information about a backdoor from a hacker who had discovered it, but Apple wasn’t aware of.
This means what it sounds like: The iPhone is compromised.
When it comes to free-speech platforms, there are options. Here are a few that are currently significant:
- Minds.com – This platform is comparable to Facebook in that a person can post quick updates, blog posts, pictures, and video. I have a Minds account.
- Parler – This is the one getting huge media attention. It might be down for a few days, but it’s easy to imagine it’ll surge immediately after it’s back up. I’m on Parler.
- Bitchute – A free-speech alternative to YouTube. Let’s be honest, it’s nowhere near as popular as YouTube. But what makes a platform popular is people, and if you care about low-censorship platforms, it’s easy to join and and to frequent the page. Because of it’s ubiquity, I don’t currently suggest abandoning YouTube altogether.
- Newsmax – It’s not really a social media platform. Newsmax is a news site that’s trusted for its integrity as compared to the three-letter networks of legacy media.
Reducing your use of Google services is a challenge, due to their ubiquity. And considering Mozilla’s recent tendency towards fanaticism, it’s understandable that one would want to drop FireFox like a hot rock. Thankfully, the new Brave browser appears uncompromised. Brave boasts of more speed than Chrome, and better default privacy than Firefox. On top of that, it has ad-blocking software built in, and instantaneous access to private windows through Tor. Or an ordinary private window, if you prefer.
I just switched to Brave, and so far, I’m really liking it!
As far as search engines go, one that I can recommend is Yippy. Yippy is relatively new, so it might be some time before more browsers support it as a default search engine. But on the plus side, it’s high privacy, and provides search results by cluster, which can provide you with far more relevant results.
Tech aside, there are a few more points that can be made about how to improve going forward, on a personal level. These points are general, and there is plenty of information out there that can expand on these points.
Don’t neglect your physical health. In fact, it’s a great idea to become as physically fit as can be reasonably accomplished. Because things can turn dangerous in a hurry, martial prowess may be what saves you and the people you care about.
Don’t neglect your mental health. Remember to take some time off to relax. These times are stressful, even for those who are not directly involved.
Don’t neglect your spiritual health. There is a spiritual aspect to world affairs, and not everyone perceives it.
Keep your living space neat and tidy. That does a surprising amount for your well-being.
Have enough food for a few extra meals, and don’t let yourself entirely run out, in case things go crazy with supply chains.
It’s not a bad idea to be ready to go on a moment’s notice. Keep items like changes of clothes, extra money, flashlights, batteries, and/or other items reasonable to stock in a bug-out bag or in your car.
Don’t overly-indulge in conspiracy theories, even if it seems like so many of them are coming true. It’s hard enough keeping things straight, even keeping things limited to what’s demonstrably true.
Remember that people who disagree with you aren’t necessary stupid, or your enemies. In most cases, they’re just misguided. An enormous psyops campaign is currently underway, and most people are not aware that they are on the battlefield.
Taking up a new hobby may not be a bad idea. It may go a long way in keeping a person sane.
Also, and this is really important: keep your cool. The people around us who think it’s funny to accuse people of racism and bigotry might require quite a bit of patience. It won’t be hard to be better people than they are.
The lack of introspection on the part of those who call other people Nazis while acting like Nazis themselves is rather troubling.