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How to Remove Your Digital Ex

Divorce or breakup can be heartbreaking. And the heartbreak can prove all the more intense if we’re unable to avoid contact with our exes- or reminders of life with them. So if you’ve suffered a breakup, then, how can you remove your ex from your digital life?

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Block or Unfollow Your Ex

This would seem to be elementary. Most of us, though, find it difficult to suppress curiosity about our exes. Still, we have to discipline ourselves to avoid searching their profiles. If we do search them, we train the Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram algorithms to show us more about them, and this is also true of inquiries on browser search engines such as Google, Safari, or Firefox.

You may also have to mute friends or family members (temporarily, of course) who often share photos of your ex. This tells the algorithms you want to avoid these people, and your feed will feature different posts.

Remove Memories from Your Tablets, Phones, and Social Media

If you own one of the newer iPhones, this will be easy. In iOS 14, you’ll find a tool labelled Suggest Fewer Memories Like This. To activate it, open the Photos tab. Tap the For You icon, and you’ll find a list labelled Memory. Choose one you want to eliminate. You’ll find three dots next to your choice. Hit these, and you’ll be shown two options: Delete Memory and Suggest Fewer Memories Like This.

In Facebook, you’ll find the Hide People option on the left side of the Memories page.

Google Photos offers the options of hiding people, pets, or even particular dates- so you can avoid painful reminders of anniversaries. Find the Photos app, scroll to Photo Settings, and open the Memories tab. When you find it, hit the Hide People or Pets or Hide Date icons.

Monitor Your Smart Home Devices

If you neglect this step, you’re begging for trouble. Out of concern for privacy, we recommend NOT acquiring an Alexa or Siri device in the first place. If you do have one, though, and you can’t bear to part with it, at least exercise caution with it. An ex could activate the device remotely- even when you’re away from your home.

Kim Komando, a web expert who bills herself “Your Digital Goddess”, says she’s heard more stories than she can count about exes connecting to WiFi systems of old mates and bugging their routers. Even worse, it’s legal in most jurisdictions to hack WiFi.

Remove or Audit Old Accounts

Some web services, such as iCloud and Google Drive, allow access by exes to sensitive data, including text and photos, so you may have to contact the provider to remove your ex’s access. Exercise special vigilance in monitoring shared paid services, and ejecting your ex if necessary.

Change Your Passwords and Security Questions

Kim Komando suggests changing your passwords to any old accounts if there’s even a chance your ex still has them. And don’t forget the security questions. Even in a casual relationship, partners are likely remember important events in each other’s histories.

For paid services, such as Netflix, you may need additional steps after changing passwords. Check the box marked Require All Devices to Sign in Again with New Password. You’ll have to log in again, but your privacy- and avoiding additional expense- is worth the inconvenience.


If you want to remove your ex from your online activity, these suggestions will help. Remember: eternal vigilance is the price of privacy.


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Facial Recognition Technology Will Change Your Life

Any celebrity can tell you that fame comes at a price. If millions of people know who you are and recognize your facial features, you can attract an awful lot of unwanted attention.

You may be thinking: “So? I’m not a celebrity, so this has nothing to do with me.”

Don’t be so sure about this. With recent advances in facial recognition tools, you too may suffer this aspect of fame. Yes, when you’re out of your house, complete strangers could recognize you and track your every move.

Much of this you bring on yourself. Consider, for example, your use of social media. You post what you eat, what TV shows you watch, where you meet your friends for drinks, and even what your pets are doing. All this personal information you post on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram means anyone who cares to look can easily find you with a browser search.

9/11 terrorists caught testing airport security months before attacks
Mohammed Atta (right) and Abdulaziz Alomari at a security checkpoint in Portland International Airport
September 10, 2001

As if this doesn’t leave you exposed enough, small, easily concealable cameras are nearly everywhere. Add a few minor tweaks to facial recognition technology which, when it becomes just a little cheaper and more readily available, will enable nearly anyone to follow nearly anyone else in real time.

Your privacy, then, could soon become extinct. Everything you do away from home- and when you do it- will be accessible to the world at large..

Related image
Tom Cruise as John Anderton in Minority Report sees a video ad that has been customized for him, and that calls him by name.

How did we get here?

Take a close look at the photo above. Here you see Mohammed Atta and Abdulaziz Alomari, two of the most import conspirators in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, passing through an airport security checkpoint. The next day, Atta and Alomari would hijack Flight 111 from Boston and fly it into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. They and their co-conspirators would murder 2,977 people.

To counter-terrorism professionals, this is one of the most disturbing of all 9/11-related images. It disturbs not for what it displays, but what it implies.

The photo demonstrates that law enforcement and intelligence professionals had the information to prevent the 9/11 atrocities. Atta and Alomari had been testing airport security systems for months, and were on federal watch lists. But airport cops couldn’t recognize and stop the pair, lacking the necessary facial recognition tools and image database.

Law enforcement and intelligence adopt FR

Following the 9/11 atrocity, the U.S government strove to make up for lost time. Security experts wanted advanced facial recognition tools- and fast. Electronics firms were happy to meet the new demand, and continually refined their cameras and algorithms to capture ever greater detail, nuance, and accuracy. Software engineers developed machine learning apps that could sift through gigantic image databases almost instantaneously, eliding over irrelevant photos.

Now the technology is nearly perfect. Chinese police recently used facial recognition tools to find a suspect in a dense crowd of 50,000 concert attendees. The PRC also uses the tools to catch jaywalkers and send them instant fine notifications.

Amazon, one of the leaders in the field, sells a real-time facial recognition system, called REKOGNITION, to police departments all over the U.S.

Commercial uses multiply

September 12, 2017 is another signature date in the history of facial recognition. On that date, Apple unveiled the iPhone X. Previous face-scanning phones could be spoofed easily with masks or video. The iPhone X could not. It was the first phone with a truly safe face-scanning security portal.

The success of the iPhone X has opened up other possible uses:

  • Automated tagging of individuals on Facebook and Instagram
  • Recognition of, and automatic adjustment of seat and steering wheel placement for, each authorized driver of a car driven by several people
  • Flagging of frequent hotel guests immediately on their entry into the lobby, so they can bypass the usual desk check-in, and their room doors will open automatically as they approach
  • Streamlining of airport security checks… Your face will be your boarding pass.
  • More convenient shopping… At an FR-enabled retail store, you simply walk in, pick up the goods you want to buy, and walk out. You never have to produce cash or swipe a card. The store automatically deducts the price of your purchases from your credit card.
  • Highly personalized advertising… As you pass a billboard, a kiosk, or a mall sign, it will display ads tailored to your known interests, and may even call you by name.

Don’t call any of this far-fetched. Some of these applications have been implemented already. Others are on the way, and will reach consumer markets shortly.

Can facial recognition threaten your privacy or safety?

FR Technology brings many benefits, but there may be a few drawbacks in it. It could become a serious threat to your privacy, or even your career or your safety.

In a future post, we will explore the dangers of FR technology in detail.

For the best deals in internet service, contact Satellite Country. We can help.

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Image result for black mirror images

Can you trust social media? Is your privacy always safe in the hands of Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram?

Most of us don’t give much thought to how social media are handling our personal data. Perhaps we should.

The network effects of digital communication enable extremely rapid growth for firms that get in early, and over time they can dominate their market segments. Within a few years, they can acquire monopolies or near-monopolies. Once such near-monopoly is Facebook. Because of its massive user base- numbering in the billions- it gets close attention from advertisers. It crowds out other media- especially print.

This, in itself, could create serious problems for you. But what if Facebook becomes the dominant means of authenticating personal identity? You may soon be unable to handle the ordinary business of life without an account.

The Zuckerberg Mafia finally hit me where it hurts.”

Consider the case of Jason Ditzian, who operates the website The Bold ItalicHe was recently kicked out of a San Francisco ride-sharing service, City CarShare, after Getaround bought it. Getround had founded its platform on Facebook, and authenticated membership through it. Lacking an account, Ditzian could no longer use City CarShare. As he put it, “The Zuckerberg Mafia finally hit me where it  hurts.”

Getaround’s user agreement states: “We may permit third-party advertising networks to collect information about your use of our service over time…” It goes on to state that this could include location information. Getaround, then, would know where you’ve been- and when you’ve been there. Could this be a threat to your well-being?

What are you telling the world about yourself?

Most people post huge amounts of personal data on social media. Your Facebook posts may reveal:

  • Where you live
  • Who your friends or lovers are
  • Where you travel
  • What pets you have
  • Where you work
  • What you read
  • Your musical tastes
  • Your political or religious commitments and opinions

This can provide a nearly complete profile of your personality, background, and interests. What happens if this information falls into the wrong hands?

Could governments get your data?

 So far, your social media posts are used mainly to benefit advertisers. This may not be a serious problem for you. But what if governments or hostile political activists get their hands on the data? Consider China, for example. It has begun assigning “citizen scores” for applicants for housing or jobs. Its scores are derived largely from information on social media.

Could something similar happen here? Could the state use your data to ruin your life? Could it guess your location at any given moment, based on your Facebook posts?

The personal information Facebook can collect now is already a severe threat to privacy. At least you can opt out of participating, though.

What if that option is taken from you? If enough businesses and social groups require social media proof of I D, you may have to give in. Your survival may require it. You would have to leave yourself vulnerable to those who would use your personal data against you.

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The enclosed images are from Black Mirror, a Netflix series. It is said to be a contemporary version of The Twilight Zone.