Breaking Free in 2019: Tech Alternatives to Google and Apple
When your data leaves your fingertips, there's no telling where the bits and bytes go next. The servers could be located in a foreign country where domestic laws don't apply. With government oversight failing to stop them, America's largest tech companies (not to mention government bodies) are getting more bold with how they're using your data.
Modern internet architecture and digital consolidation have enabled broader and more intrusive surveillance than ever before, ranging from collection on cell phones and laptops to 'smart' devices scattered throughout your home.
Machine learning algorithms and software can detect your mood, the content of your conversations, your characteristic voice signature, people in your photos, the locations of your photos, your physical location, the people you care about, and more. AI programmers have even figured out how to mimic your voice and unique mouth movements. Hackers and scammers can use that to deliver a script in your voice or create a fake video showing you say something you never said.
If you're using a mainstream smartphone on a regular telecom network in the U.S., odds are that these types of data are being collected from you continuously. Although targeted advertisements based on the data don't sound so bad, other applications of your data can be fraudulent and downright evil.
A larger company is a larger target for hackers and greedy businessmen. Plus their executives have larger monetary incentives to sell your data in real time.
Good news! Smaller tech companies offer plenty of solutions that can help you declare independence from the data-hungry tech overlords of Google and Apple (and many other data collection companies).
Keep in mind that the alternatives shown below are only as strong as the device they're running on. Your digital security is as strong as the weakest link. If your operating system requires device-level software that monitors your device activity, none of the nifty security features of these apps and mods will help.
|Alternatives to||Better Options||What to Watch|
|Android, iPhone OS||Lineage OS, CopperheadOS, Sailfish OS||Phone and network compatibility|
|Google Chrome, Edge, IE, Safari||Firefox, Brave, Tor, Firefox Forks (Pale Moon, Waterfox)||Company ownership|
|Google Search, Bing||Qwant, Startpage, Searx, DuckDuckGo||Turn off tracking|
|Gmail, Google Calendar and Contacts||Account limits, secure hosting integration|
|Google Drive, iCloud||Dropbox, Owncloud, Nextcloud||Cost and speed|
|Web Hosting||Bluehost, Inmotion Hosting, many others||Server upload and download security|
|Google Photos, Instagram||Flickr, 500px||Creative Commons open sharing|
|Reviews & Ratings||Yelp, Trustpilot||Authenticity|
|Google Maps||HereWeGo, Bing Maps, OpenStreetMap||Number of businesses listed|
|SMS Texting, Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp||Signal, Telegram, Silence||Encryption loopholes, third-party audits|
|Voice & Video Calls||Ring, Wire, Matrix, OoVoo, Tango, Viber||Microphone hardware and software security|
|VK||Data privacy and protection|
|YouTube||Twitter, Vimeo, Brighteon, NewPipe, DailyMotion, Bitchute||Content ranking and search algorithms|
|VPN||NordVPN, OpenVPN, many options||Number of servers, speed|
|Antivirus||Many options||Trustworthy developer|
This is not an endorsement of any products or services. Not all alternatives have been tested for quality.
In the future, corporate democracy and employee co-determination of corporate board members could pressure the world's most powerful technology executives to make good decisions for their communities, not just their bottom lines. Decentralized alliances of these world-positive businesses could serve a broad domain of consumer needs.
Which apps have you tried?