5 years ago: Digital Feudalism and How to Avoid It


I learned a lot in those five years and we’re still working for the same goals. Surveillance Capitalism is worse than it ever was but we also have new hopes: @Purism, Mastodon, @gnome, DAT, …

The one thing I’d change is to replace “open source” with “ethical technology” and “free (as in freedom)” in my words.

@aral @Purism @gnome today I was told that google G Suite for education has 70m+ customers and that in the USA, two schools in three are using it. I haven't checked this figure, but if it is even close to being true we are placing the data of millions of children into the hands of the largest dealer in data on earth - before we even give them a choice.

A whole generation sold into data serfdom.

We have to get the technology you are talking about into the hands of educators.


@StuC @aral @Purism @gnome The rise of G Suite for Education has been lead by $200 Chromebooks that are always up to date, instantly interchangeable between users, and are easily managed centrally.

While the Pinebook ($100 laptop of similar spec to a $200 chromebook) has the hardware nailed, the software stack to put on it in an educational environment isn't advertised, nor are most school district IT departments even aware other offerings exist outside G Suite for Education, Microsoft & Mac.


@bikecurious I wasn't criticising the user experience. I am sure Google work hard to provide a good one.

As to the price, well, the obvious question must be "why is it so inexpensive?" .

Because Google see's it as a loss leader?
Because they are betting on getting your data in the end?
Because they are denying their competition market share?

Another question I ask myself is...
"Is there something Google could do to remove all doubts? "

and I think there is - Zero Knowledge Storage.

@StuC The price is so cheap due to Google being able to cut almost every corner with Chrome OS. No need for an i5 CPU, or sizable storage/ram is a recipe for a cheap bill of materials. Google isn't doing contra-revenue for most Chromebooks AFAIK.

There is no incentive for Google to remove all doubts about Chromebooks either, the decision to use Chromebooks is made by school administrations and enforced against the students by teachers and peer pressure to conform.

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