Taking back your privacy
Yesterday I wrote a l-o-n-g post discussing how governments are trying to steal our fundamental right to privacy from us – the spurious arguments they are using and why they must not be allowed to get away with it.
Today I want to talk about the other players in the anti-privacy game.
There is a strong chance that you use services from Google, Facebook, Microsoft etc. These companies have made their services
- free to use
- easy to access
- highly functional
- accessible – eg; synchronised across all the devices you own
All those descriptive terms above are correct – except the first one. These services are NOT “free to use” in any sense other than they (mostly) don’t take money out of your wallet (although the cheekiest ones like Microsoft, Evernote etc. do).
So what do I mean when I say they are not free? I mean you are still paying – just in a different currency. That currency is your privacy. And no amount of money can compensate for its loss.
Thankfully there are plentiful choices offering alternatives to ALL the services offered by the data harvesting giants that DO NOT COLLECT YOUR PERSONAL DATA while still offering equivalent functionality.
Which means you can make a few simple changes and escape from the clutches of companies trying to steal your every private thought and deed.
To get you started, if (like the majority of people on the Internet) you use Google Chrome (or Microsoft’s Edge which recently started to use Chrome as the engine behind its face) and instead use a browser that doesn’t constantly spy on you – like Firefox or Brave. The Verge article “How to move from Chrome to another browser” at https://www.theverge.com/2019/6/29/18758648/how-to-move-from-chrome-to-safari-firefox-brave-another-browser will get you started.
While changing browser, I recommend installing the plugins / addons Privacy Badger from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (https://www.eff.org/privacybadger) and DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials (for Firefox at https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/duckduckgo-for-firefox/ and for mobile devices at https://duckduckgo.com/app)
That done, start replacing each service you use with one that does not invade your privacy by spying on you and stealing your personal data.
The more tech-savvy among you might consider some of the alternatives that can be self-hosted (ie; on your own server) but Internet based alternatives exist for even the most tech-illiterate out there.
The good people at TechSpot have put together a list of alternatives at https://www.techspot.com/news/80729-complete-list-alternatives-all-google-products.html so there is nothing to hold you back except your willingness to carry on having your personal data taken from you.