This very special
Dodging Digital Serfdom TUESDAY open thread
is VERY OPEN – a place for everybody
to post whatever they feel they would like
to tell the White Hats, and the rest of the KAG!KMAG world.
Say what you want, comment on what other people said,
comment on people’s comments.
Keep it civil. Treehouse rules, but expect lots of QAnon.
See the January 1st daily thread for the rules of the road,
which are few but important.
Remember – your greatest gift to President Trump is FIVE WORDS:
I AM PRAYING FOR YOU
Dodging Digital Serfdom Tuesday
First let’s start with the kind of powerful words that motivated America’s founding fathers to create the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore,
and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1
We know it’s going to require a decision on our part to “stand firm” and “not submit again” before we are going to take this seriously. But we have the help of God and the support of our President with his team.
So let’s be happy even as we fight for our right to a place at the table.
What? We are Digital Serfs? How?
In his latest newsletter, our fellow freedom fighter, Martin Geddes, announces:
I have created a new portal for myself and my patriot, scientist, and artist activities. This removes my dependence upon fickle social media services.
His newsletter goes on to explain. If you have the time, I recommend reading it even if you don’t get every nuance. (Newsletter text emphasis added by me.) If we are to neutralize this threat, we must understand what it is and why it matters. I highly recommend subscribing to his newsletter.
New Martin Geddes personal portal
(and why we have to take responsibility for our own virtual identity)
From around 2013 to 2015 a lot of my professional energy was dedicated to the Hypervoice Consortium, looking at the future of “smart voice” communications, and the ethical use of such personal data. The notable thing about voice is that it is intimate biosensed data: it isn’t just what we say that is private, but also:
- our voice “security print”,
- our current mood,
- our background location noise privacy leakage, and
- even things like our state of mental health (that can be inferred via machine learning).
A core conclusion was the need for self-sovereign identity systems, since our virtual self cannot be separated from our physical being. You can change a password, but you cannot change your voice, face, or fingerprint. The result of this research endeavour was a vision for the Guardian Avatar. (Video, Presentation, Report.)
Back in February of 2017, I had a series of interactions with LinkedIn — where my “professional avatar” lived — that told me they were not a company whose values I shared or wished to be associated with. Having “talked the talk” on privacy and ethics, I felt obligated to “walk the walk”.
So I torched my account, together with 4000+ connections, and all the content I had created there. It has probably cost me some business, and I don’t regret acting on my conscience.
However, not being keen on professional suicide, I first grabbed my career history, endorsements, and other data and created my own site for my “personal identity” (martingedd.es) as distinct from my corporate consulting one (martingeddes.com). For the last few years this has stood in place of a LinkedIn profile as my “professional avatar”. When people send me their LinkedIn profile to read, I inform them it is sadly inaccessible to me as a non-member.
In the interim years, I have become more acutely aware of how over-dependency on these social media behemoths is a risky and unwise proposition. I have been deplatformed by Medium for writing on endemic corruption, with no reaction from my hypocritical liberal-minded friends about this free speech crime.
Right now Twitter is stopping me from gaining followers, nailing my count at just under 79,000 with it hardly varying no matter how much engagement I get. (My impressions are around 13-15 million a month.) This is completely contrary to my experience over 10+ years on the platform. Many tell me they are being unfollowed without permission, or don’t see my tweets in their timeline. I am also being “reply banned” as part of their ongoing censorship regime:
My domain names are mostly hosted with a provider that has already deplatformed a perfectly legal free speech site. How far would they go in getting rid of customers whose content they disapprove of? Am I at risk? Hard to know until the “unthinkable” has happened.
My corporate website uses WordPress technology, and they have censored Westerners for breaking Pakistani Sharia Law. I could be kicked off this Mailchimp platform without redress for “hateful content” (whatever that is), and equally dumped by Squarespace for similar thougtcrime against political correctness.
Incidentally, Squarespace’s terms break the “do (not do) unto others” ethics golden rule, and would have been a good use case for a Guardian Avatar “lawyerbot” to catch:
We are presently digital serfs tending our subsistence plots on the virtual lord of the manor’s properties. But that doesn’t mean we have to consent to our condition. Withdrawing consent from being abused requires us to take responsibility for our own virtual identity. We can construct our own portals and avatars that are not vulnerable to the whims and policies of tyrants, censors, or free speech hypocrites.
And with that, to my main purpose in sending this newsletter to you. I have refreshed my “personal portal” to encompass more of my activities — as a “patriot” (i.e. honest citizen journalist), a computer scientist, and as an artist too (a huge surprise to the Martin of yore!). This is the presentation layer of my “Guardian Avatar”, and it protects my outward identity.
Enjoy — and maybe take inspiration on how you too can take back control over your online identity, even if it costs you some time, money, and convenience to do so. Because “free” and “easy” can be exceedingly costly to your liberty.