Since the start of February, I have embarked on a series of articles that are designed to chronicle the activities of certain multi-national corporations and highlight the threat they present to privacy and to the rule of law through corruption and malfeasance.
And frankly, the reaction has been incredible, massive number of hits, lots of positive feedback thru all channels and even a couple of ddos attacks! That tells you that people are interested to learn more and make more informed decisions about what they buy and who they support.
So far we've looked at Samsung, Apple, Alphabet and Facebook, no mean feat but all the information that has been researched is in the public domain. It is not news because it hasn't been aggregated, presented and pushed out to concerned citizens and consumers.
Today, we are providing a summary of each company we've exposed at so far and have added some addition pieces of recently collected information...it truly is incredible!
Samsung is one of those companies that really care about it's labor practices.
Skirting local labor laws or simply just ignoring them has been common practice in it's manufacturing sites. The younger the workers, the easier it is for them to be exploited, with factories engaging non-contractual labor with those individuals being unfairly terminated and replaced with a fresh batch as and when needed.
From Indonesians where teenagers are underpaid to apprenticeships for young employees in India where the best part for them is that can pay these workers way less than a qualified worker, even though they do the exact same job. And it does't even end there as after the apprenticeship ends some get rehired and thanks to a loophole in the law get the same terms and salary as previously.
In China, forced overtime of over 100 hours a month in Samsung factories is commonplace and with wages being so low, employees find themselves in an endless cycle of over-work in order to make ends meet. Verbal and physical abuse are routinely administered when it comes to Samsung.
Samsung's misdemeanors don't end with bad labor practices. Oh no, it extends to end-users being spied on, your data being sold to the highest bitter when it comes to advertising which is then applied to promote gadgets or near by restaurants or shops which also pay to advertise on your already pretty expensive gadget.
Samsung gadgets come with a lot of heavy 'bloatware' which it is nearly impossible to remove.
Your Samsung TV isn't any better and loves making screenshots and spying on you as much as you allow it to...the 'good news' is that ok with this after agreeing to the terms and conditions.
But there is so much more to learn about Samsung, we've posted as much as we've found to date and also posted suggestions for cleaning up your gadget!
After Samsung we took on Apple
Apple claims to be on the side of the people and protecting your privacy. Apple is also on great terms with China! Yes, this is not a "Huawei is a Chinese company and therefore a danger to us all" kinda claim, but evidence clearly shows that Apple are firmly in bed with the Chinese government and it's law enforcement agencies.
During the recent mass demonstrations in Hong Kong, it pulled a crowd-sourced app from it's App Store which allowed users to track the locations of both Police and demonstrators. It was, of course, all about supposedly illegal activities, even though no explanation of any kind was given.
This kowtowing by Apple and pandering to China's political regime, totally ignores the fact that there were those in Hong Kong who used the app to actually avoid the chaos in an attempt to get to work and make a living and also mothers who did not want their kids to be teargassed by accident were all using the app. It would have been far better to consider the root causes of the demonstrations than try to fix a perceived issue by pulling the app.
Apple needs China for its manufacturing as well as also being a vast source of gadget-hungry consumers eager to purchase their products. So what China says, Apple does. Many apps in the Chinese App Store have fallen victim to the authoritarian regime's demands, such as The New York Times app, over 400 VPN apps, Skype and recently the Quartz news app. With the acquiescence of Apple, anything that upsets China gets the chop!
Apple also, until the most recent update, tracked your location even when you switched off your phone and even when you had all the trackers switched off.
There is a lot more to learn about Apple, but also to learn on how to protect yourself and what to do to harden your Mac or iOS device.
We covered a lot in the February 10, 2020 article but we've found more since then.
Of course when you take on Samsung and Apple you need to learn the ABC
Google does not take kindly to negative stories pertaining to them and have reportedly manipulated their own search results to exclude users from viewing any intriguing negative insights about the company's bad behavior.
We experienced a DDoS attack what probably happened minutes after the article was posted on Monday 17th February.
One big issue with tech companies worldwide is the way in which they manage not to avoid paying taxes. Google certainly excels at this and several European countries have been negotiating with the company in an effort to resolve this matter and have them pay their fair share.
Google is an Advertising Monster and a powerhouse at that! It has become part of the language...Google it is now an actual thing! Meanwhile, their YouTube can decide what you can and cannot watch and maybe just maybe you're reading this article on an Android Phone? (courtesy of Alphabet!)
Google Street cars, in addition to taking photos of your front door, was also collecting WiFi access points. A good public service one would think, however, Google being Google, they could not resist collecting WiFi data packets and access information along the way. Google lied to, and obstructed, authorities about having done this, claiming that the data had been destroyed when in fact it had not. At that time, Australia called it the single biggest privacy breach in history and yes, you guessed it, there were fines and settlements worldwide with the biggest being $7 million in the USA.
We covered a lot on Google and it sure is worth reading!
Since our article published on February 17, 2020 we have (of course) found some more on Google and Alphabet
Of course a bug can happen, but we wanted to include both bugs anyway to warn our readers.
Just last week we took a look in on Facebook
And we covered a lot! But nowhere near covering everything what Facebook and its companies have done or are doing. If you use any Facebook products you need to read this!
Facebook has it all, it is a data collecting and selling monster, and known for poor privacy practices and one scandal after another. Have you ever heard about shadow profiles? Are you using Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp or Instagramm? Perhaps Karma or Hot Potato? If not then you should really have a look to our Exposed article.
Of course we leave you on Facebook with a pretty new tweet
or more private
Please read the entire thread as it contains a lot of great insights.
From next week, we will pick this up again and proceed to examine the next candidate company, believe me there are so many this series will run and run...and whilst I, the Privacy Advocate, campaign for the protection of our identities and personal data, we cannot turn a blind eye to the unlawful and discriminatory behavior of these companies.
Please send in any info that you feel should be reviewed and included. And please feel free to forward, share, resend, any or all of the pieces to friends, associates & groups where it will find an audience...find and follow us on twitter, mastodon, telegram, RSS and riot and our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org