In our last edition of the Privacy Cookbook I looked at various decentralized and federated solutions for social media.

Today I want to take a closer look into YouTube! It is, after all, the one app that most people seem least able to get away from!

Let me start by pointing out that YouTube (owner: Google) is tracking you, regardless of whether you are logged on as a user or just as a visitor. That is no real surprise, of course, as hey! Google makes its money out of selling data and ads.

Now we have learned that there is Peertube which is a fantastic decentralized solution where you have all your channels and the YouTubers that you like to follow.

However, there are simpler solutions, but even these need to be set up so let's dig in to them.

Invidious

Invidious
An alternative front-end to YouTube

As the screen already tells you, this is a front-end for YouTube. Invidious is totally open-source and everyone can have a look at the code or host their own 'instance'.

omarroth/invidious
Invidious is an alternative front-end to YouTube. Contribute to omarroth/invidious development by creating an account on GitHub.
  • No Ads
  • Accounts without Google involvment
  • Very light and fast website, nothing else but the Videos!
  • No Java Script
  • Reddit comments (replaced YouTube comments)
  • Not using any YouTube-API

NewPipe (Android)

NewPipe is basically the same setup as Invidious but for Android. It is on the f-droid store and fully open-source. The beauty here is you can also subscribe to channels without making an account. Unlike Invidious you can really do this without any account whatsoever!

Now, Invidious and NewPipe are both great solutions, however, they can't do it with any or all Google, so videos getting pulled from googlevideo.com and Google will know your IP address. This is, however, pretty much all Google gets from you.

Now if you don't want Google to have your IP address, there is a workaround ;)

Invidious

Settings --> Proxy videos (click it and Google won't have your IP address)
Or use the Tor Browser, and Invidious will even give you a onion address like this: kgg2m7yk5aybusll.onion

So as you see, you don't need to stop watching your cat videos, gaming recommendations or whatever it is you do YouTube, but what you can do is watch it all without surrendering your privacy!