Surveillance capitalism, privacy and finding balance online, with Dave Smyth

Dave Smyth is a designer and developer based in the UK. Over the last few years, Dave has become increasingly interested in privacy and surveillance capitalism. He sometimes shares his thoughts on these topics via his blog – from looking at our permanent digital records and how to de-Google ourselves, to read receipts, Twitter lists and cookies.

With so much happening in the tech world right now – including Facebook rebranding as Meta, the increasingly noisy conversation about privacy, and recent leaks that have shocked the world – we felt it was a timely conversation to consider how we use the Internet and social media, and why we might want to review the browsers, search engines, tools, platforms and apps that we use.

We talk about digital minimalism, social media holidays, managing Twitter and removing all followers (and why that is beneficial but sometimes problematic). We talk data, tracking and advertising. We also ponder over the value we get back from sharing our lives with the world. Of course, these are themes that have possibly entered the realm of death, funerals, and pensions – we don't like to talk about them. It's often easier to ignore, hoping that the issues will go away.

But the elephant in the room is that millions of us are suffering from "online fatigue" and we're increasingly worried about our mental health, weekly screentime and privacy. As such, many of us are looking for an escape from this digital world. Never mind the metaverse, if you've been thinking about how you use apps, how you email or browse the web, then Dave will definitely leave you something to think about.

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