Gizmodo reporter Kashmir Hill spent six weeks removing Amazon
from her life in every way possible — no money, no data, no clicks of any kind, all with the help of a custom-built VPN and a huge commitment to the cause.
“I don’t think I could have done this cold turkey,” Hill wrote last week. “I needed to wean myself off various services in the lead-up, like an alcoholic going through the 12 steps. Tech giants, while troubling in their accumulation of data, power, and societal control, do offer services that make our lives a hell of a lot easier.”
On Monday, her efforts caught the eye of Edward Snowden, former CIA leaker and fierce champion of data privacy.
“Look at the numbers on this chart and tell me this series wasn’t worth writing,” he tweeted. “This is quality public service journalism.”
This is what he was referring to:
Hill used the numbers to show just how pervasive Big Tech is when it comes to controlling infrastructure, online commerce and information flows.
“Many of them specialize in tracking you around the web, whether you use their products or not,” she wrote. “These companies started out selling books, offering search results, or showcasing college hotties, but they have expanded enormously and now touch almost every online interaction. These companies look a lot like modern monopolies.”
She says the Amazon block, which includes AWS and all the sites it hosts, proved to be the most challenging. Makes sense, considering the chart.
Here she is telling the whole story:
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