For those concerned with internet privacy, Google is fast becoming a problem. We trust them with more information about us than almost any other entity.
They know what we search for, which links we click, what emails we get from where, our location history, almost everything a corporation could know about us.
For many this is simply the price of convenience. “I have nothing to hide, so why should I worry” they say. If you’re among that group, this post may be of little use to you; however if you’re concerned about one monolithic corporation knowing almost everything about you and controlling what information you have access to, then read on.
When it comes to internet searches, Google is ubiquitous. In the same way that we used to tell someone to “xerox it” when we wanted a copy of something, when we tell someone to search something online we say simply, “google it”. Over 88% of searches are performed using Google. If you’re looking for a privacy focused alternative, take a look at https://duckduckgo.com
DuckDuckGo’s philosophy closely matches ours. Their mission statement is “Too many people believe that you simply can’t expect privacy on the Internet. We disagree and have made it our mission to set a new standard of trust online”. Unlike Google (and other well known search engines) DuckDuckGo does not track its users across the internet and is quickly becoming a favorite of users concerned with their privacy.
Did you know that Google keeps a list of everything you’ve bought online based on your email? (https://myaccount.google.com/purchases)
This is just one (very obvious) way we can see the level of data collection Google is employing. If you’re interested in an email provider that won’t (and in fact can’t) read through the content of your emails take a look at ProtonMail.
Proton Mail is based in Switzerland and employs strong end-to-end encryption to all customer accounts. Not only do they not collect data on their customers, but in fact they cannot, because they can’t decrypt your emails.
They offer free accounts with limited storage, but have very affordable options for paid accounts. You may be reluctant to pay for something you can get for free, but remember, if you’re getting the service for free you are the product and your data is being bought & sold among advertising and tracking companies.
Check back for Part 2 with more alternatives to Google apps & services soon.