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New: Block all websites that exchange data with corporations. – digital

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Each sphere has its own laws of nature. One of these axioms on the internet is: Ease of use versus private data. If you don’t pay for it, you are the product. An old saying that is still truer than ever. All of this is accepted with a certain shrug of the shoulders by the normal user. An inevitable fact, as normal and non-negotiable as the weather, the course of the sun or the change of the seasons.

Last week a small program was released that has the potential to break up this stoicism a bit. The Big Tech Detective browser extension blocks all websites that transmit data to Amazon, Facebook, Google and Microsoft or load data from their servers. It doesn’t matter whether the page exists entirely on the computer farms of Amazon Web Services, whether a tracking script tries to sniff out the user again or just a harmless font is loaded. The initiators write that it is not primarily about data protection and better privacy, but about making power structures visible.

The browser extension is not intended for everyday use. At first it is not that easy to install the software. You can’t just click on it in an app store, you have to sideload it in the browser. Although this only requires a few additional steps, it is still a task that a large percentage of Internet users will almost certainly fail at. Your own immaturity is immediately apparent. The balance between controlling your own use and comfort has long since become dangerously imbalanced.

If you only use the software for five minutes, you sit in front of the screen in disbelief. After half an hour, wondering slowly turns into anger. Well-known alternative search engines and mail providers such as Duckduckgo, Ecosia or Fastmail remain inaccessible. The newest news? Rather not. Weather? Unfortunately, no. Streaming portals, social networks, online shopping, encyclopedias, navigation? Almost all standard applications on the net are blocked by the program and the software pastes an accusatory red banner in front of almost all of the 50 most popular sites in Germany. Only a few small islands can be found in the sea of ‚Äč‚Äčmonopolists.

The realization: You cannot avoid the tech companies

Just ten minutes with the Big Tech Detective leaves a bad aftertaste for those who still believe that the Internet is an egalitarian medium. The software was initiated by an NGO called the Economic Security Project, which, interestingly, is also financed by Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes. They demand more competition, more regulation and, in the end, a break-up of the corporations. An idea that circulates in parliaments and their working groups whenever a public scandal becomes known. Hearings with the CEOs are currently being prepared again in the US Congress. There is consensus on both sides of the warring parties that there is a need for action. But no matter how the process ends – it will probably take years before a decision is reached.

Until then, the bitter realization remains that a serious and consistent avoidance, even a boycott of the tech companies in the status quo is as good as impossible. The Big Tech Detective also exposes those who claim they are not dependent on their services. You no longer surf the net. But at best jumps from puddle to puddle.

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