Disclaimer: Everything I share online, anywhere, is meant to educate and encourage, because I Love people and hope to be a positive force, even when it hurts. Plus, the honor is to serve: I monetize nothing online. A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't (Twain)! Those who don't share what they know, it dies with them (Me)! One axiom I've honored since 1975: Never go where you're not wanted! In the digital world the same applies. Any hint that I'm not welcome and I'm gone. My goal is not guilt or disparagement, but fun & joy in genuine unity, whenever I am blessed to receive that. If I offend anyone anywhere anytime, it's not intentional.
If you want to be completely anonymous or secretive, I'm not well versed on that, other than the well-known fact that you cannot use any modern electronics at all, if that's your goal: Privacy is another matter. But similarly, one must use some basic wise (or logical) tips, and that is what this writing is all about. If you research: Smart TV's are Stupid, you will get it.
Smartphones are little more than mobile spy machines, and Facebook is more intrusive than the (older) programs used by covert governmental agencies; indeed, they have since adopted some Facebook models to improve their own surveillance programs. So, if you have a smartphone and a Facebook account (and App), you can skip all the rest of this, because no matter what else you do to protect your privacy, it is way too late already, provided you keep these two: And they are banking on it that you will. That is why Apple's co-founder Steve Wozniak says to get off Facebook!
It is all analogous to the proverbial Mark of the Beast, in that, people become so programmed by their enculturation that this entrenchment binds them permanently; they cannot escape it: Well, I mean, they can, they have volition, but they won't anyway. The powerful drive to keep-up with the Joneses (the monkey-see-monkey-do-ism) is all-powerful, and this is but a sign/symptom of egotism. The drive to be accepted by others is potent in those with no self-worth; with no self-identity; with no critical thinking skills; with no independence. Wisdom and individuality; that's freedom folks!
Buy an older laptop; cheaper that way, plus it was purchased new and registered by someone else. Then, pick a Linux Distro. If Windows or Mac was your former OS, check out these tailored Linux OS clones. After some time using the one you become most familiar with, you will thereafter be able to use most any Distro, since those of the same (e.g) Ubuntu derivative often use the same programs and Apps.
They come with stock programs, like VLC Media Player, the Firefox Browser, Thunderbird Email, and the LibreOffice Suite, which are also available on MS/iOS, so if you've used them therein, you can use them on Linux too. Other cross-platform software options are the Chromium browser which is Chrome without Google! There's also GimpShop for photo editing, and a list of video editing software for Linux, as well as music editing software. Oh that dreaded learning curve!
Purchase a more powerful home PC and media center; a NUC-PC kit is an excellent choice (no baked in OS), but there are other Home Linux PC units: There, you can do most of your heavy work, such as editing, burning, ripping, building, officing, and so on. A linux tablet with a portable bluetooth keyboard is a nice option, such as the Linux Pine Tablet; a glorified laptop for on-the-go. And then there's the Pine Phone: I've got high hopes for that project!
Phones! Indeed, that's the biggest hurdle for most followship consumer drones. Since holding, face-planting, or otherwise showing off a smartphone, which is like jewelry bling was, several decades ago (and still is for some), or a child's security blanket, a phone becomes one's self-worth and even self-identity; horrifying indeed for anyone with a soul, but to the desperately superficial, it's all there is within that terrifying little and pathetic world. However, if you can stand on your own foundation, there are much better communication options.
Since Wireless connectivity is everywhere (and free) in urban settings, plus, if one remains exclusive with a Linux OS on all electronic devices, your privacy will be much easier to maintain. Again, avoid Facebook most of all; it's worse than the Dark Web! Finally, avoid the proprietary electronic products of the big-dog snoops, such as Alphabet, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft; the tech giants. The worst of those are the AI and/or voice-operated snoop devices; if it can listen to you, it is! What they will never say is this: Yea, you caught us; we're spying on you and recording everything in your home!
Locally (in the USA), try to avoid the big-com wireless companies, such as Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile, as well as others. By 2025 or so, some think that Smartphones as we know them will be dead. I think that too many and varied wireless signals pushed through our brains and bodies, will over time, cause catastrophic mental and physical illnesses, and to the point that compiling health-related lawsuits over the following decades, will render wireless tech obsolete, and cause an early death for over a billion. But direct-line connectivity remains safe, like fiber and ethernet.
Direct connection is possible for mass transit, local and cross-country, which stays in touch with the earth, even in a maglev transport. One would connect a wired (or wireless-free) laptop type of device, directly via ports, similar to what will exist with USB4, yoked with both power and wired ethernet. This would be safe and very fast; people will get used to this way, just the way the sheeple masses get used to whatever they're force-fed or sold-told: They will comply! Brand loyalty is a manifestation of gullibility that few see in themselves.
Take Apple Inc. (AAPL), for example: Consumers wait overnight for new releases and have immense brand loyalty even though MacBooks and iPhones aren’t technologically unique or superior. In fact, Samsung makes phones with better features Xiaomi make phones at a much cheaper price point. Nevertheless, Apple seems to break sales records year after year. The company has mastered the art of retail marketing and exerted more economic influence on us than any company in history, according to NYU Professor Scott Galloway. (Source: Investopedia: The Psychology Behind Why People Buy Luxury Goods)
The Ego in I-Phone!
The name says it all: I-phone (or iPhone). Why do these phones sell for way more than they are worth? Human ego! Allow this data to clarify. When I traveled with a church group from the US to Israel in the 1990's, we noticed something rather interesting (now remember the context setting; the 90's): In New York, all the taxi cabs were Cadillac's, but the Limos were Mercedes Benz. But when we got to Tel Aviv, the taxi cabs were all Mercedes Benz. What?
In the 1990's, the Mercedes Benz was considered a luxury car in the US, owned only by the rich. A Cadillac was nice but it was still a common American car (I even had one). But you see, the belief that a Mercedes Benz was any better than a Cadillac was psychological, not mechanical nor economical.
On their continent, the Mercedes Benz was as cheap to buy as a Cadillac was in the US. And what was a luxury car in Israel? Yep, Cadillac! We saw three such stretch Limos. This is not because of import taxes, though they do play a small role in the cost of a car anywhere. No, this was more about perceived social status, and nothing else: Ego! After all, they are all just painted machines.
I recently heard a news briefing wherein the word used was Moral Economy, which of course made me LOL, but then, I had to accept the fact that many people are genuinely naive about the country they live in. 100% of each and every problem that society has, can easily be traced back to the Capitalist Plutocracy, created centuries ago by the wealth-class of those generations. Economic paradigms that led to the notorious robber baron, can all be traced back (further) to the first capitalistic ideals of Western Europe, which ultimately metastasized via colonialism into the Americas.
But this is really a topic of dependency, and we all feel it in our time: Context! The vast majority of our ancestors (go back a dozen generations, then back forever from there), lived a subsistence lifestyle, of one kind or another. Only in recent times do kids comment that all food comes from the grocer or a drive-thru window. What would you do if all grocery stores and restaurants suddenly and permanently closed? Fight over what food remains, but most likely, ultimately die from starvation: The 1/2 percent of us who could survive a lifetime without money would be victimized by the rest!
Still, this is more than a mere addiction to Internet use; it's that too. In fact, that would be only a side effect. Internet dependency is the created necessity for the Internet or a web connection itself (especially WiFi). A local illicit drug dealer (an idea later modeled by Big Pharma) will donate or discount highly addictive drugs (e.g. meth) to local drug consumers; first-time users and daily abusers, getting them addicted, so they become regular faithful customers.
This proven method assures maximum profit (i.e. capitalists; predators; parasites; sponges; scavengers; scammers; etc.), regardless of the costs to the users. Anything that you buy faithfully or regularly, is among a simple list of your addictions (needed goods such as food, shelter and dress excluded, of course). One must assess them and place them into categories of healthy for self and planet, versus not healthy for self and planet.
One twisting logic trail, went something like this: Well, you used landline phones in the early 20th Century; what's the difference? In one sense this is true; we did use phones and postal letters to communicate with one another. However, the difference is that we did not linger on either of them. Sometimes I'd only make a few quick phone calls a week. I hardly ever wrote letters, because most everyone I knew lived nearly.
We'd call and say: Hey, come over for a meal, or for a party (etc.): That was it! We communicated mostly in person. In fact, it would have been strange to communicate, on any deep or meaningful level, in any other way. And that's the conundrum today: Meaningful deep personal communication! Everything is superficial and shallow, and everyone has been conditioned by, and in, such superficiality, so as to see it as natural or normal: Normalization!
The makers of computers (esp. computational consumer devices) recognized this marketable psychology early on. That is why so much R&D went into the development of the smartphone and cellular data transmission; more dollars in a shorter period of time than for any other electronic device ever! Based upon the capitalist model of (the now publicly accepted) addiction dedication dependency, these businessmen could see the potential of such a device/service combo.
Thus, electronic ecosystems were, and still are, being built; the Big Two current Western entities are Alphabet (Android) and Apple (iPhone). And yet, most all of their electronic devices are made in sweat-labor shops in (or around) Shenzhen, China. See the Criticism of Apple Inc as well as why Google finds a new reason to move Pixel 5 production out of China.
Notwithstanding, the bulk of humanity are monkey see monkey do, and desperately (dare I say pathologically) want to be and have and do, whatever the other monkeys have and do. And since most people did not (do not) have the intellect to fully utilize computers (witnessed in obsolete tech still present, such as the fax machine), the need for push-button tech, moved it to the forefront of R&D (i.e. smart phones for unsmart people). Now (circa 2020), few electronic devices can function without an internet connection, either always or at least on a regular basis: Success!
Born in 1958, I was not connected to the Internet until I was in my late thirties, and even then it was infrequent. Somehow I managed to survive, and thrive, without any Internet connection whatsoever, for nearly 4 decades. But for those who live in an enculturation bubble (the sheer bulk of our species), the idea of a life, transcendent of their micro-experiences, actually befuddles them. The next generation always thinks they are more advanced than the last, just as a half-dozen decades from now, the young will see you (too) as ancient and backward, as well as all that you think of as advanced, on this day, or even a year from now.
In times past, humans grew, raised, hunted, fished (etc) for their own food; all of it. So this would have been a strange question to ask. As an elderly Techie (yea, we're out here), this topic is likewise strange. Since 99.99+% of all humanity, lived-died without any of the tech we utilize today, assuredly I say, you too can also live without any of it. But you won't!
Just do not fool yourself into believing that any money-dependent business (or individual on Earth for that matter) would protect you or your data (or whatever), based upon the quantity of their employees. The best hackers are loners! And mobile security is no better or worse in the Android ecosystem, than it is anywhere else where deep pockets reign.