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Gizmodo Writer Experiments Blocking Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Apple from her Life

Accepted submission by Common Joe http://{common.joe.0101} {at} {} at 2019-02-10 04:04:55

In a series of articles at Gizmodo, Gizmodo Writer / editor Kashmir Hill blocks Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon for a week each, then she blocks all five simultaneously. The last article was just published on Feburary 8th.

This wasn't a casual experiment. She literally had an expert block every known IP Address by said companies and banned technology from these different groups for that particular week. In the last week, she couldn't even use DuckDuckGo because it was run on AWS (found in the conclusion).

Selected paragraphs from the introduction:

The common retort to these concerns is that you should “just stop using their services.” So I decided to try.

This is a story of how, over six weeks, I cut them out of my own life and tried to prevent them from knowing about me or monetizing me in any way—not just by putting my iPhone in a drawer for a week or only buying local, but by really, truly blocking these companies from accessing me and vice versa. I wanted to find out how hard it would be—or if I could even do it—given that these tech giants dominate the internet in so many invisible ways that it’s hard to even know them all.

It’s not just logging off of Facebook; it’s logging off the countless websites that use Facebook to log in. It’s not just using DuckDuckGo instead of Google search; it’s abandoning my email, switching browsers, giving up a smartphone, and living life without mapping apps. It’s not just refusing to buy toilet paper on; it’s being blocked from reading giant swaths of the internet that are hosted on Amazon servers, giving up websites and apps that I didn’t previously know were connected to the biggest internet giant of them all.


To keep my devices from talking to the big five’s servers, and vice versa, Dhruv built a virtual private network, or VPN, for me, through which I sent all my internet traffic. He then used the VPN to block my devices from being able to use the IP addresses owned by Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and/or Apple, depending on the week.

On a normal day, as measured by the VPN, I tend to send two million data packets out onto the internet and more than half of them (60 percent) go to the tech giants. That meant that over half of my normal internet usage was going to grind to a halt—including virtually every way I communicate with my friends, family, and colleagues.


You have no idea how hard it is to find a phone that’s not touched by Apple or Google.

Original Submission