Liberated solutions and infrastructure deployment

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Liberated solutions and infrastructure deployment

United States – Inquire via email
Hong Kong – Inquire via email

Digital Theory – 001 – 10.1.2022


As of late, the notion that modern humans are akin to the cyborgs of science fiction is increasing in popularity. While we presently interface with the digital part of our digital minds through our fingertips and keyboards rather than neural implants, if we observe the overall function of the cybernetically enhanced characters in popular culture we can note some striking similarities between them and the modern human.

The cyborg has technology implated directly into the body while the definition of augmented human is silghtly broader. I propose the concept that any human who carries a smartphone is in fact presently an augmented human. I draw this conclusion from an observation of the manner in which technology radically increases the ability of the modern human. Today we have vast knowledge at our fingertips via the internet and non-public hidden services. Many of us have augmented our own memory through storing information not in our minds but in our devices, only remembering key search words or filenames used to locate this stored data.

This illustrates the immense power of present technology and spurs the human imagination in respect to the implications of future technological development. This also poses a question to some, that being to embrace or resist further augmentation of our minds by this technology. Because most of popular devices and software are centrally controlled by some corporation or entity, even the existing level of mental integration constitutes a severe threat to privacy and autonomy.

For example if an entity has system-level access to your device, they likely have knowledge about your thoughts that perhaps your spouse or closest friend may not have. Internet search history is the first section of data that comes to the mind of most people. And while this certainly is a significant and easily obtainable source of insight into a person’s thoughts and feelings it often doeas not require direct system access to get a rough idea of what a person’s interests are.

As most people use default DNS servers, their internet service provider or cellular carrier is at least able to log the websites that they visit even if they cannot determine the exact article. To compound this there are browser tracking cookies that uniquely identify users accross the internet and highly specific browser “user agents” which consist of many system details, such as operating system version, browser version, screen size, etc. And this is only some of the tracking capability related to the web browser, system level details can contain far more personal data.

Which circles back to the dilemma of technological integration with the mind and the nature of deepening dependance on technology. Some people feel that the “big brain” move is to avoid using technology whenever possible, these individuals will often boast about how they never do banking online, or don’t ever put personally identifing information on the internet. While this strategy has a thread of intelligence, it is undeniable that these individuals have fundementally handicapped themselves in respect to life in the modern digital world.

So if an individual does choose to integrate technology in their personal life, which many of us have, then the question should be what is the nature of this technology? Who owns it? What permissions have I given to the owner? And what is the extent of the abilities this technology grants the owner?

Interestingly, all of these questions are answered in the contract that is agreed upon when the technology is installed or used. The same contract that very few people ever read. It really is not entirely the fault of the user that they are ignorant of the details in respect to their technology, billions of dollars have been spent to shape the perception of the public, and most users when asked why they didn’t bother to read their terms of service or the license agreement for the software they use will state something to the effect of “what am I going to do even if I don’t agree with the contract? I need the tool to function.”

These people do not know there exists an alternative world of technologies that can allow them to live in the modern digital world without chain or master. Typicall retailers do not carrier computers with libre operating systems and software, and advertisements aply a sort of social pressure to run the latest proprietary system.

As a system integrator and open-source evangelist, I have had surprising success in converting many small businesses and individuals to open-source systems, either in full or at least in part. One very effective way I have found to do this is to review the license agreements or terms of service rather than technical details of how exactly the individual is owned by the master of their device.

Business owners have varying levels of technical literacy, but nearly all of them are familiar with contractual agreements and can at least decypher the meaning of documents written in legalese. When various invasions of privacy are explained, and the fact that these invasions of privacy are completely legal as a result of the contractual agreement that accompanies certain software, the audience can menatlly go in several directions. A common one is to explain how they do not care as they have nothing to hide and are doing nothing wrong, or that they never put truely personal information into their device. To me this point fractures on multiple levels, first is that the future norm is built on what people are willing to accept today. In the 90’s if a company said that the license for their software would be ephemeral and the customer would have to pay for it as a service in perpetuity this would have not been well recieved. Today this is the norm, with software that either runs on a machine the user does not own or continuously reports back to the master to verify the user has permission to run the software.

With the growing dislike of today’s business models around software and hardware, one can only imagine what the future holds as people continue to forfeit their privacy and their rights for convinience. What is the world our children will inherit? For we are building that future today.

However not all is in the image of a dystopian future. We do have vast options in respect to the nature of our technological augmentations, if we just look away from proprietary ecosystems. Linux is likely the most popular open-source operating system and has the lowest barrier to entry for users looking to move from a Mac or Windows environment. While it is true that some Linux distros to include proprietary drivers for quality of life for new users, any Linux distro is a huge improvement in respect to privacy and security.

Typically Linux Mint or Manjaro are seen as approachable distros, with familiar graphical interfaces. Both of these distros will use far fewer system resources when compared to Windows and do not report back to any central server. For those looking to dive deeper I do want to acknowledge there are other UNIX derivatives available that also have favorable licensing, but these are outside the scope of this article.

Once a person’s primary machine is freed from the proprietary botnet, there are near limitless freedoms to discover. For many the next step is to liberate themselves from the proprietary mobile trap in the form of an Android phone running Graphene or Lineage OS and leveraging Termux to replace much of the functionality they used to get via proprietary apps. From there private server infrastructure becomes an attractive prospect, trusting only yourself to host your data. Certainly there is no mandatory order of operations in the free world, but the above sequence seems to often be the easiest for new users to adopt.

Making one’s exodus from the proprietary software matrix may at first seem like a journey of great sacrifice, however once a person un-learns all of the rules which they though existed they will find absolute liberty in the free world.

– Виктор Олексенко

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