The Social Dillema on Netflix raised a lot of important questions about tech companies and social media privacy issues, but fell short in the solution department. While we wait for and encourage widespread systemic change and policy reform, here’s some personal action you can take to opt out of the invasion of your privacy.

Companies Want Your Data

The problem raised in the film, is the collection of user data, particularly of social media. You can delete all your social media, but your activities and interests will still be tracked by Google or Apple if you have a smartphone. Your phone collects all the data it can about you and reports it to whoever you have allowed to view it. By default, this is Apple or Google, depending if you have an iPhone or Android phone, and then whoever made the intrusive apps you use. This sounds kinda victim blamey, but did you read the privacy policy you agreed to? Neither did I, these companies make them very difficult to read and understand, and you aren’t able to use the device if you disagree.

Privacy Alternative To Apps

The apps that you install onto your phone are granted certain permissions by you when you install and use them. Some of the most intrusive apps are the ones for social media. If you’re not ready to delete social media, the best way to minimise the data collection is to use the browser to access the service. Just uninstall the app, and log in through a privacy-focused browser like Brave. Make sure to delete your history and cookies after you’re done with each session, or just use a private window. Basic online privacy practices.

Make Your Phone Private

That still doesn’t solve the innate reporting your phone makes to Google or Apple, and that’s where a de-Googled phone comes in. Only possible with Android because it’s open source at its core, a de-Googled phone is simply an Adroid phone with all the standard features of a smart phone with a difference: the lack of Google. These phones are developed by communities of people that want a secure, private phone, and want to share what they’ve created with others. This means that the phone doesn’t collect and report your information to Google. Because of this, some apps like Google Maps won’t work as intended, and we discussed some great privacy friendly apps here. (use Magic Earth instead of Maps)

The Solution To The Social Dilemma

The goal of these actions is to opt out of as much data collection as possible, to not arm these companies with the information they want to use against you. So, get a de-Googled phone, and educate yourself as much as possible, we have some great articles that may serve you well. The more you know, the safer you can be.