Rags of Light

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Taming the Octopus, part 1.

Like many people, I’ve been increasingly concerned about the sharing of data in the online world. At my most paranoid, I can picture the emergence of a free-market version of China’s ‘social capital’ surveillance state. Others have the same worries. At my least paranoid, I just think that the internet is not supposed to run on a model in which we trade our personal data for “free” services. So I’ve been trying to find ways to detach as nearly as possible from the Google/Facebook octopus. Here I’m listing various Google products and what I’ve done about replacing them.

  • For Google search: DuckDuckGo, which emphasizes private search.
  • For Chrome browser: Vivaldi, (desktop); Brave (mobile). Brave is full of anti-tracking features and strongly recommended. I use Vivaldi because I’m hooked on a couple of its rich set of customizable features, and because it doesn’t share any data.
  • For Gmail and Google Calendar: FastMail. Includes mail and a calendar. Subscription $5/month. Other mail apps that emphasize privacy are Tutanota and ProtonMail.
  • For Google Maps: MapQuest. A venerable service. As far as I can tell it’s as useful as Google Maps.

I’m afraid that I’m too deeply invested in Google Photos to make a switch without some major re-adjustments, so that stays for now.

To be continued.