Any "free" service on the internet is selling you to advertisers – selling your attention or your data or both. This is what many call the surveillance economy of the internet and it's hidden to most people, who may notice the ads but not see the hidden reason for them or what is driving the content of the ads.

It's not my purpose here to go on a long rant about what the "Surveillance Economy" is or talk about its evils, suffice to say some of the biggest abusers of mass surveillance are:

  • Google: search, Gmail, maps, Chrome browser, Google Analytics, Android, Drive/Docs.
  • Meta/Facebook: Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, and a long list of others (worry more about ad supported or "free" use apps) –
  • X/Twitter: Primarily what used to be called Twitter.

Dropping out (updated as I progress)


  • Chrome: moved to the Firefox browser on laptop and android phone. The only issue here that I have found is that I can no longer "cast" to a chromecast device, like my GoogleTV dongle. We have tried Roku – it's interface is awful and Apple TV – it has no dongle and so requires a cord to run to the TV and so will remain surveilled as to streaming for now. Firefox has been great on both devices.
  • Search: My default search is DuckDuckGo. I was surprised that this work quite well for most things, no looking back here.
  • Maps and directions: The default map app for Firefox is Apple Maps, which sucks IMO. I still have Google Maps as default on my android device, which does route finding for me. On my laptop I usually go the and accept being surveilled but also have GaiaGPS, which I use when it makes sense like for more rural or offroad areas.
  • Gmail: Still using, haven't tackled this yet. This one is deceptively nasty. Not only do you give Google everything you do (they know everything you purchase for instance) but by using Gmail you hand over everything all of your friends send you. Do you have a relative or friend with health issues or financial issues? Then Google knows about them, even if they do not use Gmail. I feel bad that i still have Gmail instead of something more private and secure like Proton. I'll attack this one later for sure!


  • Facebook: I have an account but use it ONLY when I am forced to read some link I'm sent or to see status of public service info. I find organizational use of Facebook especially irksome. Why do clubs, governments, wildfire status orgs, and the like force me to have an account to see public service info? Using Facebook turns it into Meta/Facebook service info and forces me to share my reading with Meta. Please don't use Social Media sites that require sign-in to read posts! This makes users AND readers into surveillance victims. If you don't care about sharing your behavior, that is fine by me but by using this type of site you also force me into something I don't want to be part of.
  • Instagram: see Facebook.
  • Threads: see Facebook.
  • WhatsApp: Don't use except when a business or person requires it. What's app is encrypted so the content of messages is not surveilled but your contact with the phone number is know to Meta so I avoid using this app. SMS/Text is protected by law so I prefer this.


  • X/Twitter: See Facebook. On an ironic note I brought up X to see if it requires me to login to read (it does) and saw a post from Elon whining because you have to login to Microsoft in order to user Windows. Elon is such a hypocrite, among his other failings.


Google is the biggest surveillance offender but I'm still only maybe 50% out of their sight. I feel best about using DuckDuckGo, I thought dropping Google search would be more painful. Try it for a week before you decide, you may not even notice the difference.

I'm not a social media user but still find a disturbing amount of content behind login-walls that other people push me towards. This is a hard battle to fight since it requires me to convince other people to stop posting on these sites. I'll continue to point this out to people, but be resigned to them not listening. I don't want to be that fanatic people avoid after all.