I think both of you have good points, but I think the real issue is, that you both are a bit digressing from a single topic, into 2 different topics.
@Andy2, you are right, about all the problematic surveillance, which certainly is not just OK and to be accepted by everyone. However, I personally think, and I guess many can agree with me, just because data is collected, it is not bad, per sé. The bad part is, when big data is misused and in the worst case is misused in a way, the user does and cannot know about, because he was actively mislead.
That said, I sometimes voluntarily opt-in to data harvesting. For example, there is a game called “Generation Zero” that was quite buggy and players had therefore lots of issues playing it. They were all the time complaining about it. The very same people were complaining that the developers started harvesting data about how the game works for people and how well the game runs for them, plus any bugs, crashes, issues, etc. to improve the game. To me, this is quite a schizophrenic attitude, because they complain about the game being buggy, while also refusing to help the developer fix the bugs.
I do not want to fall into the same double standard trap as them, so I voluntarily opted into their data collection about my game experience. After all, it’s my personal data, but it’s just my personal data about the game, not my life. This is an agreement I am more than willing to accept.
There are even more extreme examples, like e.g. American actors, that get millions of dollars per year, but in turn have NO privacy at all, anymore. Oftentimes, this does not happen voluntarily, but on the other hand, if you become a famous actor, you kind of have to expect that people will be interested in you and your privacy will shrink the more famous you become.
That of course does not mean, that OS users should be just mislead by the NSA, etc. in malicious ways, though even this specific topic is relative.
Let’s see it from a less absolute and more relativistic perspective:
If you have the choice between Apple OS, Microsoft OS and Canonical OS – which one do you choose? If privacy is of big value to you, you will choose Canonical OS (Ubuntu), even though it may have surveillance problems, as well.
Because the alternatives are much worse in the current world.
Finally, the harsh truth is, that sometimes you have no choice but to be the bad guy, even though you might not want to be. Let’s look at Microsoft and Apple.
Are they huge companies which often screw customers over? Yes.
Does that mean they also spy everything about you voluntarily? Not necessarily.
I do not know too much about Apple, so I will take Microsoft as an example.
Microsoft is known to have implemented huge metrics gatherers into their currently newest operating system, Windows 10. This is certainly voluntarily. However – if you compete with companies like Apple, Samsung, Xiaomi, etc. you must be so intrusive and gather all the user data you are allowed to, or you will go bankrupt and e.g. Apple will take over you place, because they certainly won’t stop screwing over their customers, just because Microsoft stopped doing it, in this hypothetical scenario.
This is even much so for state-driven surveillance. Imagine you are the CEO of Microsoft and the boss of the NSA or whatever tells you to build a backdoor into your OS. What are you gonna do? Say “no”? They will laugh at you, ask you kindly again and if you still refuse, they will either remove you from your CEO position through a fake scandal in mainstream news or will find other illegal ways of forcing this backdoor upon you and your company. Same goes for Apple. They sometimes refused to install this and that backdoor but let’s be honest –
the NSA asks you a favour you cannot refuse.
So no matter how long you try to fight back, if you have a huge significance and are legally just a huge company with lots of money, then you still have to obey some rules and some powers. These will win in the end, as long as the current system stands as it currently is.
To be honest, this is the best upshot I would give this discussion. I would only emphasize a bit more, that @Andy2 is in fact correct, that a lot of users do not have the choice, because they simply do not get to know what is happening to their personal data or why. Sometimes, they are actively mislead. All this is true. However, I am sure that most of the time the user has a responsibility.
You cannot be free, if you are afraid to use your own sanity.
That is roughly what Kant told us in one of his famous books. In order to achieve freedom, including freedom of choice, you have to dare to use your own rationality to either accept or refuse offers given you, whether it is a registration at Facebook, Twitter or using Ubuntu. In the end, most of the responsibility is most of the time to be sought within the consumer, not outside of him.
In my opinion, if a user is blindly registering on Facebook, (supposedly) not knowing that they lose their rights to their pictures, videos, pretty much their whole personal life, then I honestly think, that the user is 90% at fault in this scenario. If you are a person that almost reached the year of the Lord 2021, then I expect you to know by common sense, what Facebook will do to your freedom!