I don’t normally post this kind of topic in the T1D Living space. I try to keep it pretty streamlined to be only T1D shiz, however, as you can imagine, the lines can get pretty muddy because EVERYTHING seems to have an effect on the endocrine system. And while you have the obvious endocrine infulencers like food, exercise, environment, toxins, habits, thoughts, etc. you also have the not so obvious influencers like: what issues are covered in the media, what our politicians are fighting for or against, how medical care and pharmaceuticals are handled, etc.. These secondary influencers play a big role in our health which is why I feel like I need to call out BigTech in today’s post because they are doing us a huge disservice.
For those in the health & wellness arena, you know that there is a major wave of censorship happening across the biggest tech giants. Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple all admit to censoring data, changing algorithms, having security breaches, and selling customer data.
When corporations the size of Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple start to indulge in such questionable practices and policing of its consumers, we need to take notice, put them on notice, and do our part to end the monopoly.
Here are some great alternatives to Big Tech
The filtering, censoring, and ranking or search results is HUGE. Which is why it’s important to use a search engine (or meta-search engine) that is net neutral. Since Google can no longer be trusted, here are some great alternatives:
- Ecosia – This is by far my favorite search engine. Not only is it an excellent search engine, but they are a CO2 Negative company. Their servers run on 100% renewable energy and for every 45 searches they plant 1 tree.
- StartPage – Is a second favorite I see in a lot of naturally minded groups. They give you Google search results without the tracking.
- Givero – Like Ecosia, searches = donations. Givero allows you to choose which organizations you’d like your searches to donate to.
- Qwant – Prides themselves on privacy and neutrality. A big favorite in the natural space.
- Mojeek – Technically the above 4 “search engines” are “meta-search engines” meaning they source their results from other search engines like Bing & Google. Mojeek is an actual search engine (like Bing & Google). It does not track and claims to be neutral.
- DuckDuckGo. Poor DuckDuckGo (DDG). I have heard such mixed reviews about DDG. Some people say they’re independent, others say they’re in bed with Google. What do I think? I think there was a lot of confusion because for a while Google was trying to steal DuckDuckGo’s customers. They did this in a number of ways by purchasing the domain Duck.com and redirecting it to Google.com, making sure that Duck.com outranked DuckDuckGo in search results, and removing the DDG browser extension every time a user installed a browser update. The muddiness of Google’s Duck.com with the actual DDG site was very… muddy. DDG has called google out for anti-competitive behavior and slandering their name. Recently (within the past year or so) DDG was able to buy duck.com from Google! Way to go DuckDuckGo!
Chrome (owned by Google), Safari (owned by Apple), Internet Explorer (windows), Opera (windows) are some of the top internet browsers. But did you know that they are all outranked by a privacy-driven browser: Firefox.
- Mozilla Firefox is the #1 rated Internet browser by Tech Radar. They are an open-source browser that is super popular in privacy circles.
- Brave is another popular browser in the health & wellness realm.
- Waterfox is an offshoot of Firefox that is configured for more privacy.
There are a lot of reasons why privacy in your inbox is important. You wouldn’t want third parties taking a peak at your personal emails, email receipts, or anything else…. Unfortunately that’s what’s happening when you’re using Gmail. Gmail shares the content of your inbox with third parties, advertisers, and really anyone who pays to see it. And of course, they use it for their own data collection as well. On top of that, when you are logged into Gmail, google tracks your activities online as you browse other websites.
The bonus of Gmail though, is that it doesn’t cost money (for accounts up to 15GB). I was going to say that it’s free, but it’s really not free because you’re paying them in trade, with your personal data. And while most of us aren’t up to anything shaddy, it’s the principle that no company should have this much power or access to your personal data. Ever.
I have not made the gmail switch yet, but here are some Gmail alternatives that I’m looking into that do well in terms of privacy:
- ProtonMail – This seems to be a favorite in the health, wellness, and personal freedom communities. ProtonMail is free up to 500MB and has an app for both driod and apple products.
- Tutanota – Also free (up to 1GB) and comes with a Calendar service (like google calendar). Very secure and private. Comes with an app for both droid and apple products.
- Mailfence – Another free email service (up to 500MB) that “supports the fight for digital rights” prides themselves on security & privacy. Also comes with Calendar service (like google calendar) and Documents service (like google docs). Does not come with an app for your phone.
- TheXYZ – This is not a free email service, however charges a very minimal service rate of $1.95/month. You get 25GB of storage, a calendar service, notes service, and drive services. Comes with an app for both droid and apple products.
If you’re looking for a Calendar service that is linked to your email, Tuanota and MailFence are great choices. But if you’re looking for a standalone Calendar service check out these alternatives :
Amazon is a retail giant. They sell pretty much anything you can think of and are now in the pharmaceutical industry, as no surprise to anyone. Which is probably why they started censoring movies, books, and anything related to natural health or vaccines education. So where do I go to buy things? I now try to buy directly from the supplier’s website. So if I’m buying my Uncle Harry’s toothpaste, instead of buying it on Amazon, I go to UncleHarrys.com and buy it there.
The two biggest categories I buy on amazon are supplements and books. Here’s my Amazon-workaround for those.
- Supplements: Go directly to the suppliers website or use iHerb.com.
- Books: Thriftbooks.com is my favorite place to buy used books from. I’ve also used HPB.com (half price books) when I can’t find what I’m looking for on ThriftBooks. Going to your local Goodwill or FiveBelow/Dollar Store is another great place to browse used books.
I will say that I like to still buy my controversial books from Amazon, to show them that We The People want these books. So if you’re going to use Amazon, make sure you’re using Amazon Smile (smile.amazon.com) and choose a charity that aligns with your beliefs. Amazon will donate a portion of your purchase to your chosen charity. I have my Amazon Smile charity listed as “National Vaccine Information Center”.
If you are a business, blogger, or anyone that sends out emails and uses Mailchimp you may want to reconsider. They have recently been in the news for banning accounts of people who share content in the “medical freedom/informed consent” realm. I still currently use mailchimp but have been looking into the following alternatives:
Private cloud storage is a must for me. And since I currently use Google Drive, I’m in the market for a new service. The downside about leaving Google Drive is that it has so many features. You have google docs, sheets, slides, you can upload and store your photos right in drive. It’s super convenient. There are no other services like it out there right now, which means you’ll need a separate service for each. Here are the cloud storage services I’m looking into.
- Sync – Starts at $8/month for 2TB. They also have an app so you can access your files from any smart device
- Tresorit – Free up to 3GB. Anything more than that starts at $10/month (200GB). They too have an app so you can access your files from any smart device.
- CryptPad – privacy focused with strong encryption. Plus it’s free!
- Only Office
- Cryptee – privacy focused platform for doc and photo storage. Free for the first 100MB. Plans start at $3/month for 10GB.
- Cryptee – Cloud based and privacy focused platform for doc and photo storage. Free for the first 100MB. Plans start at $3/month for 10GB.
- Piwigo – Cloud based with the option of self-hosting. Unlimited storage. $44/year for a 1 year subscription, $78 for 2 year subscription (10% savings), and $105 for 3 years (20% savings).
- Lychee – Has to be self hosted. But on the plus side, it’s free!
Ohhh social media. Unfortunately there aren’t a whole lot of options available at the moment, but I’ve seen a whole lot of people stepping up to the plate to create a censor-free platform. The most promising I’ve seen is Colleqtiv.
- Colleqtiv (coming soon!) – Site is in beta testing right now and should launch in the beginning of 2020. Created by Katie Tietje (owner of Earthley and ModernAlternativeMama.com). Read more about Colleqtiv in my post here.
- MeWe – A current favorite in the health & wellness community by default. They are ad free, spyware free, and use the hashtag #not4sale in a lot of their marketing. Thank you next, Zuckerberg!