With all that we know about how large companies harvest data about their users, i.e. US, data misuse and the lack of user privacy, and with leaks such as Cambridge Analytics (FaceBook), WikiLeaks, the power of Google and large IT companies, it has been a challenge to get off the grid and protect your online privacy.
It still amazes me that I see friends and family still use these tools and complain about their data is being misused and their privacy is being abused. Yet, surprise, they are still using them. They post photos, comments, and personal information like it’s their own personal diary. Sometimes, they wonder how person X found certain information about themselves – seriously? They posted it up online! A serious case of cognitive dissonance happening right there.
Getting off social media was a relatively straightforward thing to do. Just close your Facebook account, and Instagram account… and voila you’d be done. Since 2014, Facebook acquired WhatsApp and that made getting off the grid more challenging. Now they want to integrate WhatsApp messenger, Facebook messenger and Instagram messaging (Article here: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/25/technology/facebook-instagram-whatsapp-messenger.html) Oh great. Most of my friends, family and I’d guess a large percent of the world use WhatsApp messenger to communicate. Hoorah for online privacy.
What alternatives are there? And what do I use?
This is my personal list of tools I use:
- Brave https://brave.com/
- Firefox https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/new/
- Epic https://www.epicbrowser.com/
- Please do not use Google Chrome or Internet Explorer.
- Telegram https://telegram.org/
- Signal https://www.signal.org/
- Notable mention – Wire https://wire.com/en/ (I used to love Wire but the notifications were very sporadic and not all messages were sent / received properly. I am not sure if they have fixed these issues.)
- Duck Duck Go https://duckduckgo.com/
There are times when I will use Google and Google services when I have no choice. It is a balance of the service of the tool, convenience and privacy. If you have any other recommendations let me know.
Until next time.
Sites that contain good information on online privacy.