I was reading a post on Obsidian Forum and picked up a casual reference to the Raindrop bookmarker/webclipper
, and I started to wonder about privacy and security.
(Raindrop is based in Russia - I'm not sure how it's managing to take payments, given the sanctions, or make payments of its own. Apparently there are 3 servers across the world, presumably synchronised, but I don't know exaclty where.)
And I reflected how much our bookmarks and web history say about us as individuals and as a social collective. And wondered how exploitable that was.
We know that some states have laws requiring data surrender (China, Vietnam) and others have their own ways of doing the equivalent (Russia, Iran, North Korea), and most countries have a degree of capability (USA, UK; EU doesn't admit it). And that VPNs are of limited use (we can be identified with cookies, other programs present etc).
But also that some of these countries achieve significant influence on virtually everything by manipulating social media (Russia the biggest player here), hacking corporates (China) and ransomware (Russia, North Korea). The information available publicly suggests that western governments have a very poor handle on what is going on (viz the investigations into Russian manipulation of last US presidential election) and the companies themselves seeming little better (viz the uncertainty about the extent of bots in the Twitterverse).
I wondered how concerned people here were about these issues. It's a whole different league of concerns to the closed/open source obsession in some of the Obsidian crowd. It's certainly ramped up for me since I realised that an invasion of Taiwan was at quite a high level of probability, and further since the invasion of Ukraine. Food shortages this winter because of that invasion as well as fuel prices will only increase international instability. The totalitarian regimes will surely manipulate for crypto as a way of escaping the US' banking controls.
And for any who are concerned, what do you do about it? I'm careful about what info I put where, and keeping very personal data local. And having never having had accounts with any Meta service, let alone Tiktok. I'm not sure about the rest. I think I'm less individually vulnerable than most, but there's no way of avoiding societal vulnerability.