Exar Lab

chown me internet

who owns the internet?

Well, no one really owns the internet, but if AWS, Google, and many other large companies do control large portions of it. Imagine, if Google shuts down their services, would you still be able to get move on with your day? When you think about how dependent we are on proprietary services, it can be a little scary.

the walled garden

Now, I’m not saying that everything must be self hosted and totally self reliant. It’s unreasonable to spend hours and hours designing, coding, and deploying our own messaging services just to text our loved ones because we fear that iMessage might have an outage for a few hours. I think platforms and existing infrastructure is perfectly acceptable to use. Being in the walled garden is not necessarily a bad thing, but give some careful consideration about what you’re signing up for.

Like many things in life, there is a tradeoff. Convenience and time vs. your freedom and control.

worth it

My advice is to find out what parts of your digital life you’d like to have more control over. You may find that currently you don’t feel that you need any more control over your online presence, but this may change over time.

For me, this story of a father’s google account being locked down after being wrongfully accused of child abuse was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Almost all of my family’s memories are stored in Google Photos. My professional and personal communications are almost all done through Gmail. At this point in my life, if I were to lose access to Google services, it would be devastating.

Thankfully, I have the knowledge and the resources to do something about it.


I don’t need to completely migrate from Google services to my own services. At this point, I still feel comfortable using them, but I would feel better with a certain level of redundancy. There are many open source alternatives and other service providers besides Google to choose from. For example, Restic, is an open source backup program with support for many backends. This is a perfectly feasible and realistic thing to do for many tech savvy people. Some may feel that they need to write their own cryptographically secure messaging service, but I’m not one of them. yet…

i have nothing to hide.

“I’m not doing anything illegal, why should I worry?”. That’s wonderful to hear, but unfortunately it isn’t enough. People like the father I previously mentioned DO get caught in the crossfire. I have nothing to hide either, but I can mitigate the risk of losing all the data I have tied to Google in case something were to go wrong if I control my own online presence. You never know how the data that is gathered on your will be used or misconstrued, so a good place to start is “not keeping all your eggs in one basket”.