How to Live Without Google and Other Evil Tech Giants

This is my personal list of tools to avoid Surveillance Capitalism. Wherever possible I will recommend privacy-friendly, free (as in freedom) software, but if no such software is available the main goal is just to get you away from the worst offenders, a.k.a. #GAFAM (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple & Microsoft) or #FAANG (incl. Netflix) or #GMafia (incl. IBM). Personally I'm also including ebay, Twitter & Yahoo on the list of evils.

I will try to keep this list up to date, add more stuff and fix mistakes that are pointed out to me (see changelog). Please also give me tips for other tools I could use, but don't be mad if I don't have the time to look into and add all of them. Besides avoiding big tech companies there are other important aspects regarding privacy and security that I won't get into in this article much – but I might add some links.

For other lists check out these websites:

Chapters:

Part 1

Operating Systems

Mobile Operating Systems

Mobile App Stores

Desktop Operating Systems

As for Desktop App Stores many free operating systems come with their own stores. I can only speak for Ubuntu, which comes with a store including free as well as proprietary apps. You can't filter them so you'll always have to check whether the app is free or proprietary before installing. Otherwise just manually install apps from developers you trust by following the install instructions on their websites.

Web Browsing

Web Browsers

Browser Addons

Search Engines

Communication

Mail Providers

Mail Apps

Instant Messaging

Instant Messaging is a very difficult topic. There is not a single messenger that can be recommended by all privacy advocates. Whenever someone tells me I should switch to messenger XY someone else shows me a list of privacy flaws of messenger XY. So I'll just mention two apps that at least don't give your data to the big surveillance capitalists, even if they have flaws.

Social Media

To understand free social media you first need to understand the Fediverse and therefore these concepts:

Server Software:

FYI

The Fediverse is much more than just Social Media and blogging. There is e.g. also Funkwhale (below) and PeerTube (below). For a full? list of Software in the fediverse check out the Wikipedia article.

Mobile Apps:

Localization

Video

Video Players

Video Streaming

Movie/TV Streaming

Audio

Audio Players

Music Stores/Streaming

Photo

Gallery Apps

Camera Apps

Image Editing

Image Hosting Services

Books

Environmental Tip: Generally prefer eBooks and Audiobooks over physical books – except second hand. Digitization – if done right – reduces used resources, used energy and waste.

Productivity

Clouds & Sync

Office

Finance

Payment

Online Stores

Development

I'm not a developer. Not even slightly. So I'll keep this short.

Collaboration Platforms

Captcha

I passionately hate Google reCaptcha. There is so much tracking going on on the web that I can just block away – many sites will still work. But once a website developer chooses to use reCaptcha for a site where you need to register to use that's game over.

Other

Hardware

Generally: You'll want to go with hardware that runs the software we discussed before. If you already have a device where you can flash one of the privacy friendly operating systems I'd recommend you do that instead of buying a new device: Consider e-waste and resources! Also consider buying a used device and/or resell your old device.

Smartphones

Computers

Other Devices

Some General Considerations

This concludes the main body of my guide on surveillance capitalism (though updates will follow). Since I got lots of feedback on other aspects of privacy and related topics I'm adding this general section.

The following is a categorized list of articles by people, organizations and communities who have more knowledge on these things than me. I added my thoughts every now and then as well as related tools that are mentioned in the articles and/or I can recommend. Links in the bold categories are to Wikipedia articles. Please let me know if important authors are missing.

Changelog