We've reported through this series about the likes of Samsung, Apple, Google, Amazon in recent times. I made an extreme case about us being followed around all day, every day, I say extreme, but in fact, in today's world this is exactly what happens.
"Every breath you take, and every move you make. Every bond you break. Every step you take. I'll be watching you"
~ The Police
Let's be honest, if you own a cellphone, you will never be private. That doesn't mean you should give up on privacy but that in turn doesn't mean you need to go 'all in' and get a Pixel phone.
Sure, having a Pixel phone with GrapheneOS, or CalyxOS are better options when it comes to the OS itself, more privacy, some hardening, no Google services or Framework etc.
Yet as I've mentioned in another post, this solution leaves a chip developed by Google in place plus, of course, you're paying for a phone to a company you want to get rid off. On top of which, this phone might not be everyone's 'cup of tea'.
Today's EXPOSED! is a follow-on from our recent Orwell's Blueprint EXPOSED! mini-series and it carries on that light approach. You do not need to go fully (privacy) ballistic but every little bit counts. Once again, as long as you have a phone, you will never be 100% private!
You need to ask yourself "do I need a phone?" If the answer is yes, what do you want from that phone? Does it need to be the companion that orders your Uber Eats, shows you the way when you drive yourself? Waze? Google Maps...then accept that you are going to be giving up all the information the collection agencies need anyway.
If this is the case and you're 'comfortable' with this, an iPhone is, perhaps, the best 'out of the box' solution for you. It has all you need and want. Plus 'out of the box' is a bit more private as a Google powered phone. If you are adding AdGuard and some blocklists then you'll achieve more privacy. Put simply, the more trackers that are blocked the less data you give to 'those companies'. And if you can go the extra mile and replace apps with something open-source and with zero trackers then that would be the best result.
Of course, if you are more of an Android type, then you can achieve things with ADB and add/have some decent firewalls. I believe that perhaps rethinkDNS would do a lot for everyone who is not so technical, or who doesn't want to mess around with ADB.
As mentioned earlier, every bit helps so even the smallest steps, like not using a Google account or replacing apps with open-source equivalents, are steps in the right direction.
And to help you do this let me give you today a list of some alternatives to install as replacements to your closed-source social, news and media apps. Small steps to you regaining a bit more privacy.
For YouTube, use NewPipe on Android and not the official YouTube app. On iOS use Invidious or Piped. The best part is that you also do not need to deal with any ads watching on your usual YouTube videos.
Use Nitter when you want to get your Twitter fix. If you are on Android you can use Fritter — to follow and see the post, zoom and reshare to other apps just like a Twitter app. There is no login, so you follow people without an actual Twitter account. If you need a Twitter account you can use Twidere — which can not just be used for Twitter, but also for Mastodon.
For Instagram on iOS use Bibliogram which is similar to Nitter. If you are on Android and need to log in to an Instagram account, consider Barinsta.
If you are on Android, consider installing UntrackMe which redirects system-wide every link to a private link, like Twitter to Nitter etc.
Today's post is not about how to disappear online because that is just impossible, but about how to get a tiny bit of power back from the guys you use daily for 'free'. They aren't free, they sell your data so ultimately you pay with your privacy.
We'll cover another burning issue next week in our regular EXPOSED! episode. It's good to be back, and I hope I can share some useful things with you. Or just EXPOSE some companies which deserve to be exposed.
Stay safe and always consider doing that little extra to get back a bit more privacy