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Saturday, 7 January 2017

The new Corporate slavery - escaping capture

This year will be make or break for many of the global corporates, and a desperate race continues to capture consumers before the chains go on. Here are a few tips to avoid capture:-

Cars -  Personal Car Leasing means increased sales for the manufacturers and is attractive to consumers who get a new car to drive at low cost for the first three years. The size of the 'bubble' payment is large, discouraging consumers from buying their own car and encouraging them to lock into a new three year deal on expiry. If the manufacturers' profits start to drop, they can nudge up monthy costs for new deals. To escape, bite the bullet, save your pennies and buy a 4 year old version of your car from an auction for cash. 

Electricity - The national drive to get everyone onto smart meters - ostensibly to allow energy savings - may allow price discrimination instead. The suggestion slipped out during the annual Autumn power scare that consumers could avoid blackouts in the future by paying a 'premium' electricity price to keep their 'lecky switched on. This suggests that power cuts in future will be controlled remotely via individual consumer meters rather than by pulling a switch at the power station. They will no doubt justify the technology with an excuse about remote consumer disconnection for non-payment being cheaper and kinder. Or to allow them to keep a home with a dialysis machine connected during a general cut. To avoid, resist the fitting of a smart meter at all costs. 

The Cloud -  This one's pretty obvious. Firstly, vast volumes of storage for all your music, films, data, photographs and so on is offered free. This is the consumer capture stage. Once the market has been fully enrolled, the charging can start. It will be crude blackmail - pay or we'll ditch your stuff. To avoid, never keep anything in the cloud. Back up your stuff onto external HDDs.

Amazon / Spotify etc - Similar. You buy videos, music, games etc only these are not loaded on your own computer but on the vendors' servers. Which means they can cut access, or start charging more, at any time. Your stuff is hostage. To avoid, buy real CDs / DVDs or download MP3s to your own devices unlinked to vendor software

Facebook / Twitter etc - These are the most overvalued stocks in the market, true bubbles. The only reason they're holding value and not bursting is the opportunity the companies have to start charging their massive captive consumer base. Facebook's market penetration means it's almost good to go. Initial fees will be modest to maximise retention, with universal payment via mobile phone charges plus the alternatives. To avoid, ditch Facebook. 

Internet of Things - It starts with apps to turn your central heating on from the office or have your fridge place a repeat order with the supermarket and will end with the corporates controlling your thermostat and filling your fridge with their stuff. This one's a no-brainer. The only thing in your house connected to the internet should be your router/modem and the device you use to surf the web and download data.  

The 'bite' has yet to come for most of these - the corporates are still in the phase of rolling out the tech and capturing consumers. However, they are all good to go if they have to. Together with the good points made in the comments to the previous post about robots, the future is arriving by stealth. I'm not a tinfoil hat sort of person, and the foregoing are just the sort of basic, sensible precautions I take myself. Any such additions to the list are welcome. 


Anonymous said...

This corporate model is very similar to the methods by which government has already trapped most of us, so clearly... it works.

For some reason (I can't think what), I have avoided all of those that you list, as an example I needed a new electric meter, the old one which was already installed when I bought the house had a "white" meter for night use... I specifically requested NO SMART METER and the company obliged. I had heard that the government was planning to make them compulsory by 2020, so I will get around four years at least.

The above example is of the UNHOLY alliance between government and corporate power working in tandem, so resistance is necessary, but I fear, eventually (as the Yanks might say) "footle".


Anonymous said...

Pay cash for everything you can, never use the tap and pay method with your plastic. Bin the Satnav, don't own a smart phone.

The consumer, the nation must commence to fight back.

Poisonedchalice said...

I wouldn't worry too much about FB. Their monetisation already amounts to $15 per user per year through ads. I like your thoughts on smart meters though; I always thought they were pointless.

barnacle bill said...

No mortgage, no car loan and everything backed up on external HDs here Radders.

But I do agree with your thoughts on electricity and smart meters. The relatively small estate I live on has seen a push by all the main electric suppliers to get us all on to smart meters.

Something I have resisted despite frequent doorstepping to tell me all the advantages of such a smart move.

The recent tennants next door were contractors working at our local power station. Now closed down. Their parting words when they left was to get a portable generator. Heeding these words of advice I now have a not exactly portable two cylinder Lister genset in my garden shed. Just waiting for my electrician friend to wire it in properly to my mains supply.

rapscallion said...

I have a very reliable 15yr old 4x4
I will be fighting to the last second against have a smart meter - natch
I have nothing in the cloud (and I work in IT) I abide by the simple maxim in IT that if I don't own it, none of my data goes on it. Backup using varying methods, but all the really important stuff is on external HDD.
Don't use Amazon/Spotify/Facebook or Twitter. I only use weather apps on my phone and switch it off when I don't need it (most weekends)

All this on the basis that I don't trust the ba$tards farther than I can throw them.

Anonymous said...

Raedwald; "second hand car "

Spot on. Got the wife a pre registered but otherwise new vehicle a couple of years back.

Smart meters: no real reason but for load management purposes. Don't need one, won't get one, if I can avoid it.

Barnacle Bill: " Their parting words when they left was to get a portable generator."


Raedwald: ".. Cloud .."

An excellent way to compromise your data security for anything but the most mundane information.

Everybody at the cloud company has access to anything you put into a commercial cloud. The information is in transit across the internet and unless encrypted is vulnerable to snooping - (Hi GCHQ - they've practically admitted everything going across the internet is recorded ) No company should be using a commercial cloud for commercial business purposes.

Facebook, I am trying to wean myself off it, but did enjoy bating all the 'never Trumpers', the 'Remainers' and the 'Scottish independence' people in 2016.

Anonymous said...

The M-disc archival DVDs/Blu-Rays are another good way to back stuff up, at least if you don't have vast quantities.

More expensive than ordinary recordable discs, but worth it.

I already follow most of your advice.

Don Cox

Anonymous said...

That's a timely warning to those who may not quite understand the gradually closing traps. Happily, as a wary (and I hope, wise) 70-year-old, I have avoided all five. Neither do I have a smart phone, since I don't want to be tracked everywhere. However, one dark, menacing cloud on the horizon is the installation of 'black-box' tracking devices fitted to all new cars, apparently mandated through EU legislation. This has profound implications for privacy and it will be impossible to opt-out.

Demetrius said...

We are becoming prisoners in our own homes, assuming the small print does not have a lien on this as well. You do not mention which corporate entities. May I open the bidding with Virgin?

Dave_G said...

Anon 11:32 - opt out? Perhaps not but local 'blocking' devices exist (I know how to build them too) so if you really don't want to be tracked by GPS then you don't need to be - of course the already-abundant CCTV cameras make GPS tracking somewhat redundant.

I recently made a specific requests (demand) to NOT have a Smart Meter installed and will be THE most difficult client to find/property to enter if they legislate for them. I also have TWO generators!

Anti-cloud usage has always been my stance but maybe this is the approach by people 'of a certain age' who remember what freedom really was?? Far too often it is the young and gullible that consider such technological progress as beneficial rather than intrusive.

I'm all for technological advance but at the behest of the user, not legislation, the Government or Corporates.

English Pensioner said...

I kept getting phone calls from a company "acting for SSE" who say that my meter is old and needs replacement. Its not that old and I don't want it replaced by a smart meter. Each time, I've told them I won't have anyone in my home without a proper letter from SSE through the post explaining who they are and what's to be done. They promise to write, but it's never happened. And the old meter remains. And, touch wood, the calls have stopped.

As for using the cloud, you've got no idea where your data is stored, nor how secure it is. Backup drives are coming down in price all the time, I got a 4TB drive for under £100. Only switch it on when doing backups, switch it of at all other times so you can't get caught by one of these cyber-crooks who encrypt your data and blackmail you for the key.

Span Ows said...

As with most comments I am well on the way to not having any of those things. Also use FB a little, had a big Brexit binge.

Interesting today (for the first time although it could have been around for ages) I heard a radio ad giving out a number in case of power cuts - 115 or something - seems the expected crumbling is about to start.

Anonymous said...

I have formed a strong suspicion about a functionally excellent printer I bought some time ago. It came with a CD-based driver and some neat capabilities, including the ability to create PDFs from scanned docs. However, after a couple of years it fell into conversation with the mother-ship, and this (free) PDF function was disabled, although I was invited to sign up to a pay-for Adobe service to continue using the feature.

Haha. I still have the CD driver, which I loaded onto an old laptop which I have ceased using in online mode. The original functionality, as installed in this offline machine, cannot be switched off by the OM; and using this machine I can access the PDF feature.

When the printer-as-installed on this latter machine realises it cannot talk to the mother ship it complains bitterly and begs to be connected. Tough!

Anonymous said...

Dave_G 13:57. Yes, tracking from a car black-box GPS could doubtless be blocked but, unfortunately, insurance companies tend to have the upper hand, and policies are likely to be invalidated if one's mandated tracking device is blocked.

Rac said...

Slowly closing trap it is indeed, one jaw being corporate the other being government with regulation attempting to replace common sense and experience. Makes one wonder what it will be like 50 or even 25 years from now, God help them.

auralay said...

I am a little anal-retentive about data - I still have emails from 1996 (how sad is that?).
I back up to a NAS drive but I have heard that ransomware can attack that too.
I of course have a good anti-virus loaded and occasionally boot from a stand-alone anti-virus CD (Kasperski or AVG) which can check for nasties in the boot sector etc.
I add one further layer of back-up which I think could reduce the threat of ransom-ware.
I dual boot my desktop with a separate hard drive with Linux (Currently Mint18) In Linux I read and back up my data to the Linux hard drive.
As to Google / cloud etc I accept the drawbacks for the convenience, knowing I can go slightly 'dark' when searching for news items which might trigger attention. TANSTAFL and caveat emptor are universal.

Anonymous said...

I am suspicious of anything with the word 'smart'in it. It is rarely smart in the way you think and is generally to benefit someone else not you.

Scrobs. said...

Our water bill is now halved with a meter installed.

Rateable value of a three bed house meant much more spent on stuff we never used!

I sometimes worry about my Gmail account though, and then usually I don't...

DeeDee99 said...

Having recently moved to the SW, I switched the existing storage heating for gas central heating. I asked the electric company to change the existing dual tariff (cheap overnight rate) meter for a single tariff one and they refused. It's either a smart meter or keep the existing one. I kept the existing one.

I've always thought that car leases are a trap, I'd never go down that route but I fear my son who currently has a company car, mortgage and very little savings, would choose it if he lost the company car.

It's the younger generation who will get trapped by most of the "scams" Raedwald lists. They're tech-savvy, but image-obsessed and naive.

John Brown said...

When the supply of electricity becomes like that of the third world and many people start resorting to generators at home I think we can expect these items to be banned.

However, it may not get as bad as this, as I believe that it will only take a few outages of electricity for the population as a whole to throw out the "green" politicians and insist upon the return of sufficient fossil fuel generators to keep the lights on.

The population are only "green" as long as it does not affect them.

James Higham said...

The national drive to get everyone onto smart meters - ostensibly to allow energy savings - may allow price discrimination instead.

This is the one I'm looking at in particular.

Anonymous said...

If we hurry up and build enough nuclear power stations, there will be no need for energy savings.

As for "smart" -- it just means "hackable". I would prefer not to have my electricity switched off by some clever teenager.

Don Cox

Budgie said...

Another corporation which is essential to avoid is the BBC. Once you are weened off the BBC world view it becomes very easy to spot those who, apparently unknowingly, spout its propaganda.

Thud said...

Other than the smart meter I'm comfortable with everything you mentioned.I'll let you know how it works out for me.

visc said...

Smart meters are hackable and you do not have to have one - refuse.
There are no benefits - the so called "savings" trumpeted have quietly been reduced massively to near zero, that is before we look at the £11bn for rollout which consumers have to pay.

That is before we look at the issues

The IoT is a buizzword and a set of low value functional additions that are easily hacked - most IT press is expecting larege issues to arrive as most IoT devices are vunerable - there is an attempt to retrofit security at the network level.

As with all things - who benefits?

G. Tingey said...

My technical & professional training in science & engineering tells me from experience to .... ...
DON'T GO NEAR the "Internet of things" - far too easy to corrupt & malhandle.
If they do succeed in installing any "smart meters" in my home ( & I will be resisting), I will immediately, as soon as they have gone, install a grounded Faraday cage around said meter, which will fuck the signals, so there ....