[RndTbl] On forcing people to get Google accounts

Trevor Cordes trevor at tecnopolis.ca
Thu Nov 3 23:01:25 CDT 2022

On 2022-11-03 Brian Lowe wrote:
> A general question for the Roundtable.
> Is it acceptable for Canadian companies to compel people to create an
> account with a giant user-hostile American advertising company in
> order to get stuff done in their lives?

I totally agree that Google is basically the devil and I want to
withhold as much of my info from them as I can.  That's why I was
talking after the last muug meeting about how it's exceptionally
surprising how a totally FLOSS phone hasn't emerged and taken a big
market share.  I'm talking a phone you can go to a Telus or Fido kiosk
and "buy" with your normal plan options.

Ya, there's a couple of fringe phones that are $2k each (no plan) that
you have no idea how to get and no idea if they'll work with any
carrier here, and yes there's a couple of fringe OS's you can use on
your old outdated useless phones.

But every time I look into this stuff it's like: "ya it boots but you
can't really make calls, you can't really text" so it definitely feels
like it's not "a thing" (yet).

But it's been this way for many years, and all the energies of the FLOSS
community can't come out with something viable by now?  Even forgetting
about hardware, how come the OS has to basically be missing all the
most important "phone" things?

I look at what happened with Canonical and their 10 or 15-year ago plan
with Unity to make an OS for phones (and everything else) and make
their own Ubuntu phone.  Ya, that was vaporware and died a horrible
official death a couple of years ago.

When I put on my tinfoil hat, I start to think FLOSS phones / OSs are
being actively discouraged / suppressed / sabotaged by Apple, Google
and/or govs because they *need* the total tracking and control they get
by pwning your whole device.  A totally FLOSS OS or device might allow
us to shed all that tracking and control.  It was very odd how
Canonical just dropped their grand vision (payoff??).  </tinfoil off>

As to your specific situation, maybe eyeball the new MTS fibre they are
laying all over town.  If your house gets it run, check out the MTS
plans.  I haven't yet, but I probably will soon.  Maybe their modems
aren't braindead like Shaw's.  I wouldn't bet money on it, though, as
MTS internet has always stunk.

I wonder if you could use one of the phone emulators to install and run
the app in a sandbox.  Apple/Google provide SDKs and dev tools and you
might be able to sign up to access those things.  Don't quote me on

Alternatively, I keep an old phone around and do a factory wipe on it,
and remove the SIM card and just use it on wifi to install apps I don't
trust, including credit union apps.  Besides any other apps and the
wifi SSID/pw (for my "public" wifi vlan), there's no personal data at
all on the thing (no email, text, etc).  So if they access everything
on that phone I don't really care.  Most people have their last, 2-3
year old phone lying around, and if you don't have one, many people will
sell you theirs for a few bucks.

And as others said on the roundtable, it really is fun and flexible to
tell Shaw to put you in bridge mode and build your own linux or openbsd
router/firewall.  I've been doing that since 2000.  (In fact, I build
and sell them for a yearly fee, mostly for businesses, but give me a
shout if you want.)  You don't even need a separate box.  If your main
box runs Linux you can have your router/firewall also be your
workstation (that solves the "wasted power" argument).  (Don't listen to
the sayers of nay as they are just scared of not being able to make it
all work.)

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