Privacy

Although it’s great to self-host your web fonts instead of using a service like Google Fonts (that may decrease the privacy of your site’s visitors, because Google can log IP addresses and other stuff), it’s probably not necessary to use web fonts at all. Every PC or tablet or phone has a lot of fonts already pre-installed, which are more than perfect for displaying your website (unless you take a lot of care about corporate design or your personal brand and require a specific font).

Kyle Piira explains, why he stopped using Google. He used Google products for nearly everything: Emails, calendars, contacts, entertainment, news, web browser, online storage, domains, analytics, ads, … But one day he got an email that changed everything:

“Your account has been suspended”

It was only a second account but it made him rethink everything. He then switched to mainly FOSS alternatives.

It’s definitely a great read! It also reminds me a little of my own rethinking. I didn’t experience any account termination, but at some point I became more critical of Google’s massive data collection. Step by step I replaced Google products with alternatives (which are often even much better). Today I am almost Google free.

iPrivacy

Matt Baer, the creator of the writing platform write.as, writes about Apple’s privacy focused marketing and how that doesn’t matter when your iPhone is full of apps like Facebook, Instagram or Google.

Though I appreciate the ads for what they are, it’s silly to see iPhone advertised as a privacy panacea when every one has Facebook, Instagram, Google, Pinterest, and every ad-supported “free” app in the App Store installed on it.

But instead of hoping to be rescued …

We don’t need to wait on Google or Apple to build feel-good features into their products, and we don’t need a new marketing campaign about the “privacy” they offer.

… we can do something ourselves for more privacy! Just using the phone less:

Simply make it a less integral part of your life and you’ll automatically reduce how much it knows about you

Don’t rely on Apple or Google to care about privacy:

Some of what’s truly good for us is bad for them. So let’s not rely on them to tell us when we finally have privacy, or digital wellbeing, or whatever will comfort the masses today.

I hope I don’t have to explain why Google is bad, but just to give a few reasons to switch to alternatives: You’ll probably get better privacy because those alternatives collect less data about you, your data won’t get sold to advertisers or government organizations that easily and you help to prevent a monopoly. Sometimes alternatives are also just better than the Google product and don’t lock you in so much.
There is some discussion recently about another evil move by Google. Google plans to deprecate (and remove) an API in it’s webbrowser Chrome, that is used by many ad-blocking addons. Of course they are ignoring voices from the community! Only enterprise customers will be able to use this API for custom development. Is it a surprise at all, that Google wants to do that? Google (Alphabet) is one of the biggest (ad) companies.
The last times I wrote about email topics, I already had the thought in my mind to try setting up my own mail server again. I already tried this a while back, but switching from FastMail (my favorite mail provider) was too scary for me because I wasn’t quite confident about the setup. But now I overcame my fear that something could go wrong and just tried it. (I’m really proud of it.
Yesterday, I wrote about Delta Chat and Chat over IMAP. To be able to chat using email, you need an account at an email provider. Many people use Gmail, with over 1.5 billion users it’s probably the biggest email provider out there, people already joke, Google owns email. But email at it’s core is decentralized. You can use whatever provider you like and still communicate with the rest of the world.
When you publish websites, write blog posts and make them available on the internet, it’s not uncommon, that you also want to get statistics about how many people read your stuff, how many people visit your website etc. And you also want to enable comments under your blog posts, giving people an opurtunity to ask questions or just leave a reply. For the first case Google Analytics is the most widely used solution.
Many people use Google Chrome, because they like it’s fancy syncing feature. You know, open a tab on your PC and just continue on your phone. Or because of the nice built-in password manager. Just save that damn password and it’s securely stored in your Google account and available everywhere. But what about privacy? You can forget it when you use Chrome. You have no privacy there. Google can read all of your browser history, passwords and bookmarks.
As you may know, I have a new phone. And because it’s new I didn’t root it. Thanks to German laws and the merchant I have 24 months guarantee - so if it breaks itself, it’s not my fault. And because I didn’t root, I have to live with some of the manufacturer’s decisions. And that one includes the deep integration of the Google Assistant. The Google Assistant might be an awesome product, when you look at how it can simplify one’s life.
Jan-Lukas Else
20 years old student who writes about everything he cares about.