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Updates and Blogging

Hello there! This is my blogging post/update log for the Digital Literacy Crash Course. I felt like this would suit better than bulletins and/or multiple separate blog posts.

February 13, 2024 - Update

So, that life stuff happened quicker than expected. I got laid off from my previous job and totalled my car so I've been... Recovering, emotionally speaking. I'm ok physically. Things are gonna be slow for awhile but I haven't forgotten about this. I'm thinking about possibly adding an editor to give additional information and organization to the course.

Thankfully, I have a new job lined up mid-February! It should help enough so that I can save for a new car and continue to live as I am. Crossing my fingers the job works out.

January 10, 2024 - Update

I recently realized there's certain things I haven't included in my course - browser bookmarks, typing posture, and more. Trying to add those in soon. Updates will slow down due to some life stuff but hopefully I will be back soon.

December 29, 2023 - Update

I've been going through the first lessons and updating a few things here and there, as well as updating links to my other posts. I think once they're all made, I'll change the layout to be a little more uniform, and have a few people read over it for clarity's sake. The more research I do about everything, the deeper the rabbit hole seems to go. I feel like I'm barely scratching the surface, so again, if I missed anything in the earlier lessons or you need a more in-depth explanation on something, please, do not hesitate and let me know!

December 19, 2023 - Update

I've finally dived into virus protection literature and I'm about to fully break down what a VPN is. Something I don't think I've made clear is who I am technology-wise; I've grown up with a desktop computer in my life since I was 6 years old! But I never knew too much about the web - I learned some typing skills and general safety in middle school, and I learned about hardware and software in high school. However, viruses was something I learned on my own, as well as protecting myself from adults. I know enough about computers to troubleshoot and Google using weird modifiers and find the things I look for. However, I have no formal technology aside from a computer basics class in college and web classes, and I know the bare minimum of all the more advanced topics. As I read about VPNs, I realize how little I know about the subject. This blog is dedicated to logging and representing the information I learn in one place for me to share with everyone. I wanna do the hard work so you don't have to!!!!!!!!!

December 11, 2023 - Blog

Sometimes I find myself becoming irritated with the things I learn. Like, learning about how phishing attempts are at an all-time high because of Google's negligence with AdSense. Or how Google and Apple are the cause of a lot of modern problems in general. It's weird to see a company I used to admire in its early beginnings evolve into the monster that it is today... But that's all companies, I think. Change enough hands, develop enough money making avenues, and any business can be evil in nature. Reminds me of Pearlmania500's coverage of Burt's Bees and how the company went from all-natural to being owned by Clorox. These things just happen in modern capitalism - if you're successful enough, you will be bought out. I've also been thinking about the 26 billion Google is spending to remain the default search engine. I don't know how anyone is meant to compete with that. It doesn't help that there isn't really a browser devoid of Google. Firefox was my recommendation but their firm partnership and fake rivalry with Google makes me sick to my stomach.

December 7, 2023 - Update

A few things have come to my attention recently. A call to lift a US Government gag order from Ron Wyden, written Dec 6, has come to light. A gag order is an order, typically a legal order by a court or government, restricting information or comment from being made public or passed onto any unauthorized third party. This order calls for the release of information being collected by Google and Apple (via Android and iPhone smartphones) through push notifications and metadata.

From the confirmations from Apple and Google, yes, this is real, and yes, they've been sharing push notification data to "foreign governments" as well as the US government.

What does this mean for us? We were already certain of how these two companies use and abuse their power and information collecting, but now we know exactly how and sometimes why they're doing it. At first, I was certain the data collection was just for money, and maybe that is part of it. But the government, or some sector of the government than the Committee on Finance, doesn't want that to be well known that they're collecting our information through unavoidable means. Not only that, but they don't need reasonable cause to collect it.

Alongside this announcement has been a US bill that was introduced the day before this letter was made public - an amendment to list anti-zionism (the dislike and refusal of the Israeli occupation in Palestine) as antisemitism, which passed the House and is moving to the Senate, and an amendment to create a Commission to Study Acts of Antisemitism, which will declare "antisemitism" (specifically the support of Palestine) as illegal. They also wish to have impunity, stripping 5th Amendment rights in court cases concerning the Commission, which will take away the right to excuse yourself from testifying and incriminating yourself in court. This second amendment proposed has not passed the House as of yet.

I don't feel like this is a coincidence. The two companies controlling the OS of 99% of the phones IN THE WORLD AS OF AUGUST 2023 are collecting data. So much data, and not just some of it. All of it. And handing it off to governments secretly, only because the US government demanded it be kept a secret. The things they're handing off endangers protestors, activism, and anyone speaking for the freedom of Palestine or Congo or any other occupied territory.

The entire system that the current internet is built on the back of is slowly being exposed more and more to be an all-consuming monster. I worry the enshittification of the internet is incoming, and it will be completely unavoidable. Not only that, but speaking out against Israeli forces are about to become extremely legally challenging if this makes it through. 

I wish I could give a call to action that I felt secure in. Call your senators and House Representatives. Protest. Give money to good causes. But other than that, I think we're about to be out of luck.

Also, as I'm working on the "Internet Personas, Anonymous Living, and General Internet Safety" lesson, I'm realizing that because of the above, we are living in a world where there is NO anonymous living. Unless you live with no smart technology (even dumb phones are subject to tracking and peeping toms) in the woods outside the US, there's no real way to live anonymously on the web or anywhere for that matter.

December 5, 2023 - Blog

I've been diving into digital identity recently, as it's the main safety concern around the internet, but I worry that because of certain political discussion in my work, people may skip over articles and links I include, taking away valuable learning. I added an author's note for this but idk if it'll be enough.

On a happier note, I feel as though this course should be completed by this time next year! Or sooner! The faster I can get this out, the better, because the Internet's future is coming quicker than I can type.

November 22, 2023 - Update

I just finished my browser and extension recommendations in the "Browsers, servers, extensions, oh my! - Part 1" lesson. I may revamp the Table of Contents in order to reflect what I want to cover better... But if there's any topics you'd like covered, please comment and let me know! I have a lot I wanna share and if you have any gaps of knowledge, I would love to help fill the space.

November 16, 2023 - Update

So I've been clipping away at this for a few months now, but progress has been stalled because I got into a car accident on Tuesday. Thankfully, I'm okay aside from a few bruises and a possibly ruptured eardrum, but my car has gone to the great highway in the sky. My partner and I are now sharing her car, much to my chagrin, and life is proceeding as normal. I'm worried about my financial future, knowing I'm in a bit of legal trouble from just being uninsured (legal requirement to drive in my state, but I was too poor for it) but all in all, things are alright. Expect more from me soon, just not too soon.

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