Notes From the Northern Colony


by Greum Maol Stevenson

In his latest report from the show-trial that is Julian Assange's “extradition hearing,” Craig Murray writes:

Even my blog has never been so systematically subject to shadowbanning from Twitter and Facebook as now. Normally about 50% of my blog readers arrive from Twitter and 40% from Facebook. During the trial it has been 3% from Twitter and 9% from Facebook. That is a fall from 90% to 12%. In the February hearings Facebook and Twitter were between them sending me over 200,000 readers a day. Now they are between them sending me 3,000 readers a day. To be plain that is very much less than my normal daily traffic from them just in ordinary times. It is the insidious nature of this censorship that is especially sinister – people believe they have successfully shared my articles on Twitter and Facebook, while those corporations hide from them that in fact it went into nobody’s timeline. My own family have not been getting their notifications of my posts on either platform.

That Murray is surprised by this would be comical were his naivete not the norm, rather than the exception. It is both bizarre and outrageous that journalists and activists use Twitter (which, according to Blacklight, captures your keystrokes) and Facebook. Both companies have shown themselves to be enemies of factual journalism, progressive politics, and democracy as a whole. To use those platforms is to validate them, and to accept their modus operandi, so it makes no sense for Murray to start complaining now.

To use Twitter or Facebook is to relinquish journalistic and political integrity. Audre Lorde still speaks to us from nearly 40 years ago: “The master's tools will never dismantle the master's house.”

Writers, activists, and political groups must create their own media, based on what some people in the Fediverse call “the solidarity economy.”

#craigmurray #julianassange #surveillancecapitalism #socialmedia #tracking #fediverse #blacklight #greummaolstevenson


by Greum Maol Stevenson

Not all websites track you. This one doesn't, and neither does Gerry Hassan's. But here are some that do (information found using Blacklight):

The National has 29 ad trackers, more than four times the average of seven found on popular sites. It also has 12 third-party cookies, four times the average of three. On the bright side, it has no Google Analytics.

The Herald, owned by the same company as The National, is worse, with 35 ad trackers and 14 third-party cookies.

The Scotsman is worse than both of the above combined, with 41 ad trackers and 75 third-party cookies.

Scotland on Sunday, owned by the same company as The Scotsman, has 33 ad trackers and 59 third-party cookies.

Glasgow Live has 34 ad trackers, 66 third-party cookies, and allows Google Analytics to follow you across the internet.

The Ferret has seven ad trackers, three third-party cookies, and allows Google Analytics to follow you across the internet.

Bella Caledonia has one ad tracker. But it allows Google Analytics to follow you across the internet.

Craig Murray's site has one ad tracker and eight third-party cookies.

Wings Over Scotland, aka The Daily McMail, has one ad tracker and three third-party cookies.

Common Weal has one ad tracker.

The Scottish Book Trust's site has four ad trackers, could be monitoring your keystrokes and mouse clicks, allows Google Analytics to follow you across the internet, and tells Facebook when you visit the site (though if you use Facebook this is the least of your worries).

#scottishwebsites, #theherald #thenational #thescotsman #scotlandonsunday, #craigmurray #gerryhassan #theferret #scottishbooktrust #commonweal #bellacaledonia #scottishpolitics #surveillancecapitalism #blacklight #greummaolstevenson


by Greum Maol Stevenson

Don't use Google, use Duckduckgo.

Don't use iMessage or SMS or FaceTime or WhatsApp, use Signal.

Don't use Zoom, use Jitsi.

Don't use Twitter, use Mastodon.

Don't use Youtube or Vimeo, use Peertube.

For email, use Fastmail or Protonmail.

Instead of Instagram, use Pixelfed.

Instead of Facebook, talk to your friends.

And if you're reading this, you're viewing the blogging platform you should use:

#ethicaltech #dontbeevil #surveillancecapitalism #onlineprivacy #digitalprivacy #digitalsecurity #tracking #greummaolstevenson


by Greum Maol Stevenson

There are activists, and journalists, and people who are both, who have blind spots about the dangers of surveillance technology even when writing about it.

In this article, Mike Small, editor of Bella Caledonia, begins: “I ‘sign-in’ to my phone with my fingerprint.”

No journalist or activist should use fingerprint (or face) recognition on their phone. While seductively convenient, it's dangerous. Police aren’t allowed to force you to give them your password so they can get into your phone, but they’re allowed to force you to open it with your fingerprint. This exposes not only the owner of the phone, but everyone they communicate with. A strong password, entered every time you check your phone, is surely worth the inconvenience.

Also published on The Harbourmaster's Loug

#mikesmall #bellacaledonia #surveillancecapitalism #privacy #greummaolstevenson