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How One Man Attempted To Hide From Silicon Valley’s Surveillance

Technology surveillance
Technology surveillance

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Joel Stein didn’t just throw all his electronic devices out the window and lock himself in a dark room. 

He did the opposite in order to chip away at his data history. He used other devices, gadgets and apps to do the job, which helped clean up his “digital exhaust” and gave him the ability to mask his phone number and hide years’ worth of photos that had been collected, for example. 

And to purchase these apps online, Stein got a hold of a card without a name on it, which is apparently simple to do. But there are a lot of other things to worry about if you’re trying to hide like this, including facial recognition, license plate recordings and more. It becomes a lot of work trying to protect your information. 

The lesson: maybe privacy issues can’t be fixed by one individual alone.


Joel Stein, journalist who wrote the Bloomberg piece, “I Tried Hiding From Silicon Valley in a Pile of Privacy Gadgets;” he was a long time columnist for TIME Magazine and also wrote for the Los Angeles Times; he tweets @thejoelstein