Is Your Phone Spying On You?

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Is your phone spying on you?
 
I really didn’t want the answer to this question to be in the affirmative, because if it was, I would have to make a painful decision.
 
Like all unpleasant things in life, refusal to acknowledge reality doesn’t make things any less true; it merely prolongs the uncomfortable task of shutting it out. Delaying a decision is a decision. 
 
I learned last week that Instagram, WhatsApp, and all other such Facebook-owned entities have updated their Terms and Conditions to include access to your Camera and Microphone. That means that if I leave these apps open on my phone, “they” can see and hear everything that goes on inside our four walls if they want to. 
 
 
More information on that, here.
 
Some may object, “Well, if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about!”
 
That may be true if Big Tech shared the same values, but the fact that they censor free speech as though they alone have become the arbitrator of truth tells me which narrative they prefer, and it would be naïve of me to think that they are not above criminalizing those who do not share their agenda. 
   
I love how Instagram works.
 
I love the people I’ve met there.
 
I love the inspiration I’ve found for homeschooling, gardening, cooking, and decorating in those squares. 
 
 
Many people, myself included, are looking for safer alternatives, but it seems that the plethora of up and coming platforms claiming security and privacy are fragmenting those who want to leave, creating less of an influence by disbanding us, rather than bringing people together, which was their intended goal. 
 
Which ship do we all jump to, and who’s to say those companies won’t sell out? 
 
I struggle with how Matthew 5:16 and 1 Peter 3:15 apply here. Additionally, social media networks have become an integral part of our family income. 
 
Part of me wants to move to the boonies and go back to a dumb phone tethered to the wall with a 25ft coiled cable. 
 
 
The other part of me feels that technology, like everything else, can be used for good or evil, and each one of us must be “wise as serpents,” giving proper consideration to the Terms and Conditions of the platforms we use so we can be “fully convinced in {our} own mind” that these choices are good. (Matthew 10:16; Romans 14:5) 
 
I’m not yet fully convinced in my own mind what platforms are good, if I’ll be leaving, or where I’d be going, but I will be making 2 immediate changes. They include:
 
1) Logging out of IG and FB accounts when I’m not using them. 
 
Yes, it’s a pain to log in and out to post, but two good things that will happen as a result of this:
 
  • FB and IG cannot access my phone’s camera or microphone when the apps are disabled
  • I suspect I will find much more time in my day. My hubby challenged me to check my activity tracker on each app last night and I was alarmed and ashamed by how much time I spend mindlessly scrolling in a day. I can be a much better steward of my time, and I think this logging in and out business will help with that. 
2) Switching from WhatsApp to Signal for messaging 
 
  • WhatsApp has control of your phone’s camera and microphone; Signal does not. 
I would love to know if you’ve found safer, free speech-friendly alternatives to FB and IG that operate similarly as far as functionality goes.
 
I’ve joined Parler, but haven’t done anything there yet.
 
I do not enjoy changing platforms, so I need to be thoroughly convinced that moving is profitable and necessary. Tell me what you love, and why you love it! 
 
Until then, it’ll be “log in, log out” for me.   
 
Bonus question: would you ever consider pulling the plug on social media altogether? Why? 
 
P.S. The best way to stay connected is by subscribing for updates! I will try to send them out more regularly! 
 
Update 12/21/2020: I’ve discovered how disable IG/FB from accessing your camera and microphone by going through your phone settings. Go to Settings/Apps/Permissions and uncheck all that apply. You do not need to enable these in order to post. I will still be logging in and out of my accounts, and checking for updates that may revert the unchecked boxes to their previous settings. 
 

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6 thoughts on “Is Your Phone Spying On You?”

  1. Do you know if these changes apply on the browser-based versions on desktop/laptops? Also, I know MeWe is an alternative a lot of like-minded folks are using. I haven’t found it as user friendly as Facebook, but they purport to be set up specifically to be in opposition to this sort of thing.

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  2. I like Signal; I’ve been using it since a weird (bank) hack on my account was discovered this past January. (Just another lovely memory for my 2020, LOL!)

    I have been on MeWe, Gab, and Parler. I am not fully comfortable with any of them while others’ mileage may vary. I will be following to hear the thoughts of others as I am getting ready to launch my own small business in the next couple of months.

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  3. There is a company called Earthley that is very freedom minded. They have built and launched a social media site called Colleqtiv for those purposes-freedom of speech, privacy, etc. I haven’t used it yet, but I very much respect the company and feel confident that they will adhere to those goals.

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  4. I recently deleted my accounts on Instagram and Facebook for those same privacy concerns you mentioned. I don’t feel like the new policies are necessarily disbanding us, but keeping us from becoming complacent. Speaking for myself, it’s caused me to think more about people in my “real life” and how I need to invest more time and energy into building up those relationships which will become more important in the future.

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  5. Hi Jacinda!
    I’ve completely deleted all social media for more than one reason. I’m pretty sure it had become an idol and now that it’s gone for months, I know it was. It is so freeing to not be on anymore and also made me see how much time was being wasted

    Anyway, I do miss Instagram for some connections I’ve made including your posts!

    But I do get your emails and check in on here. it’s not the same but it’s good.

    Happy new year to you!!
    Love Leah

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  6. Great idea on the logging in and logging out! I wasn’t positive if I would just quit Instagram altogether. I seriously do consider pulling the plug on social media altogether and will if I feel certain that my conservative views on there could be used against me by tyrants.

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