Kick Google Out Of Your Digital Life
Data privacy in the 21st Century won’t be found entirely free but open-source software will lead the way. There are options for search engines that won’t save your searches. There is an open-source cloud-based word processor. There’s an open source social network. Unfortunately, email servers need to be saved and secured and that isn’t going to happen without a cost. Google provides a massive suite of free-to-use software that provide netizens with all of these services and they do it for Google’s benefit, which is fine. Using their services is an option and it’s hard to replace all of their products. Their Maps software is robust. The cloud document editing options on Google Drive are user friendly. They are hard to replace but giving them and letting them sell your data is also an option and there are alternatives. Read on to learn about them.
StartPage and DuckDuckGo were created for private search. They don’t store your IP address or link it to what you search. There are no ads and they can connect to your browser. These search engines won’t allow corporations to target you based on the information you give them. The websites you visit, however, will have access to your IP address if you aren’t browsing privately. Neither service provides a mapping or direction-giving functionality.
Ecosia is a philanthropic search site. It uses Bing’s search algorithm. The company donates a portion of all of its ad revenue to charities around the world that plant trees. When you use the service regularly it displays the number of trees that you’ve helped plant with your donations. Your search data won’t be secured but you will be cleaning the atmosphere and providing homes for animals with it.
ProtonMail is a free, donation-based, encrypted email account provider. My tech-friend who introduced me to it told me that its encryption was created by NASA. He said their level of encryption is overkill.
StartMail, and KolabNow are both low-cost email services that sell their products as secure email alternatives. Both services cost around $5 a month and won’t allow international intelligence agencies to access your correspondences.
Web Browsing (Chrome)
Midori and Tor are open source web browsers. Midori is like a regular web browser. Users can choose to browse privately but otherwise it’s just like a regular browser. Tor anonymizes its users’ behaviors and it has a reputation for being used to download media illegally and access the dark web because of this.
Social Network (Google+)
Minds is an open-source social network brought to you by members of Anonymous. Read about it here. It’s designed as a push-back against the invasive data-gathering and censorship of Facebook and Google+.
Cloud-Based Document Creation (Google Drive)
Cloud-based document collaboration is a revolutionary functionality for the age of the internet. It allows people to produce written documents, spreadsheets, graphics, and presentations in the cloud to be shared with collaborators and recipients. The formats aren’t intrinsically secure but they’re open source and can be placed in a secure server.
This service can’t replace Google Maps, yet. Google Maps can navigate around most of the world and it can locate addresses and geographic locations accurately and easily. However, for smaller mapping projects and as an extremely simple navigational tool Open Street Map is a free utility separate from Google.
Google provides exemplary services. They can’t be matched at the price one pays for them. But if you calculate the value of having secure information into that cost, then there are alternatives to a Googelized future for your information security. I think there might come a day when everybody can choose to sell their personal information to companies that want to use it to target their ads, but to get to that day, we first need to secure our information. We need to secure it from Nigerian princes, but we also need to secure it from the behemoth, watching over our shoulders. So these tools are a good place to start in order to get the functions that Google provides without giving Google a functional window into your mind.