November 6, 2020

Update: added 2 Android OS, 2 phones, a search engine, a map app, 2 blog CMS, and a tool to delete Tweets to list.romainaubert.com

I maintain a list of products that respects people’s data, and are user-friendly. Generally, I add products that are a good alternative to Google’s tools, to help people switch.

I do not have specific requirements yet for products I add to the list. Some are open-source, some are Free/Libre and Open-Source (FLOSS); all products tend to be user-friendly” so people switching from Google can adopt them.

I just added:

  • Android OS: GrapheneOS, LineageOS
  • phone: Librem 5, PinePhone
  • map: OSMad
  • blog: Ghost, Hugo
  • other:
    • Semiphemeral, a tool to delete tweets
    • Signal, a MIDI Editor
  • search engine: Ecosia*

https://list.romainaubert.com/

*Ecosia is closed-source but they transferred ownership to a foundation. That means Ecosia’s CEO made a legally binding commitment that:

  • Company shares can’t be sold at a profit or owned by people outside of the company.
  • No profits can be taken out of the company.”1

For a product to be open-source is not the quintessential of taking care of people’s data.

Ownership and gouvernance matters.

Back in April 2020, Keybase, an open-source2 messaging and file-sharing application, got acquired by Zoom3, the video conference company with dire track-record on privacy and security.

Here is a brief overview of Zoom’s privacy and security trackrecord; Zoom4:

  • lied when it claimed it used end-to-end encryption,
  • collects a tone of data: including user name, physical address, email address, phone number, job information, Facebook profile information, computer or phone specs, IP address, and any other information you create or upload;”
  • sends data to Facebook (even if you don’t have Facebook account);
  • secretly displayed data from people’s LinkedIn profiles;
  • and is prone to pressure from Chinese governement

NYC even banned its schools from using it for remote classes.5


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  1. https://ecosia.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/205118821-What-does-it-mean-to-be-a-social-business-↩︎

  2. Keybase’s repository: https://github.com/keybase↩︎

  3. https://keybase.io/blog/keybase-joins-zoom↩︎

  4. https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2020/04/security_and_pr_1.html ; https://zoom.us/privacy/↩︎

  5. https://ny.chalkbeat.org/2020/4/4/21225416/nyc-forbids-schools-from-using-zoom-for-remote-learning-due-to-privacy-and-security-concerns↩︎


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