Last week, the big tech triumvirate of Apple, Amazon, and Google colluded to take the number one app on the Play Store down citing that the network “did not adequately police content that promoted violence” despite the fact, as Glenn Greenwald states here, that not one person arrested at the Capitol riot was a user of Parler. As Greenwald explains about the people who actually initiated the protests on January 6th, “The Capitol breach was planned far more on Facebook and YouTube. As Recode reported, while some protesters participated in both Parler and Gab, many of the calls to attend the Capitol were from YouTube videos, while many of the key planners “have continued to use mainstream platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.”
I can tolerate many negative aspects of human behavior. This includes the often corrupt or collusive behavior of many large corporations. As human beings, any institution, organization, charity, corporation, or group that we create is always done with the best intentions and will be flawed in some respect. But there are two violations of morality I have never been able to look beyond. I refuse to work or associate with any company involved in war. This means corporations who profit off making weapons and influence governmental policy decisions to satisfy their bottom lines. This is evil behavior no matter what happens to your stock price. The other condition is the violation of any First or Second Amendment Rights based on the laws established in our Constitution. I also protest violations of privacy, the foundation of the 4th Amendment. But I also understand that in certain circumstances, privacy can be used as a tool to protect criminal behavior. But violating an individual’s right to speech, their right to practice religion, the right of anyone to publish, the right to protest and the right to address the government for grievances as well as the importance of bearing arms should never be taken away by any business or government. The violation of these rights in the form of censorship is my Maginot Line. Once this line is crossed, you have declared war on me.
So like promised last week, I am going to provide you with some options outside of the Big Tech monopolies. For clarification, I will not be attacking the “circus” aspect of the internet in the form of telecommunication companies and streaming services. Even though these companies have their own flaws, I can choose at any moment to eliminate my relationship with them by terminating my subscription. I did this with the AT&T owned HBO Max this past month. These options will be fundamentally based on social media and platforms that aggregate news. The impact these services have via information sharing and discovery as well as the ability to censor news that the website does not agree with can have a huge propagandistic effect on people’s knowledge and personal opinions. This behavior is inexcusable for any corporation or government in the 21st Century. Here is my list!
AMAZON: I had an account with Amazon since 2012 and was an active participant with this company on Prime Video including movie rentals, Amazon Music, Amazon Kindle for my books, Online shopping, and Magazine Subscriptions. After my daughter got a reduced membership price in 2019 after starting her university, I started moving much of my entertainment content off Amazon. Only my movies and e-books remained. But after Amazon used their ability to drop a website from hosting on AWS for controversial reasons and colluded with Apple and Google, I decided that my time with the company had expired. As of January 19th, 2021, the last day of Donald Trump’s mediocre presidency, I moved my movies and books to open-source solutions and deleted my Amazon account. As an added bonus, I also deleted my Twitch Account, a game streaming company that Amazon purchased back in 2014.
APPLE: Stopped using Apple programs and applications many years ago. But I still had an ITunes account with dozens of albums and podcasts. After their actions, I went back and moved my music to a local drive, deleted my podcasts and downloaded them onto an open-source alternative and said goodbye to Apple forever. The ghost of Steve Jobs will never make another penny off of me.
FACEBOOK: Only used it on three occasions. I had an account in 2013 and deleted it a few months later in the early part of 2014. I tried Facebook because of my adoration for MySpace, the social media company that Facebook destroyed during its rise in the late 2000s. I did not like having to use my real name, so I deleted the account. I came back in 2017 with an alias and was suspended after Facebook discovered it in 2018. I also used my father’s account for a few months after his death in 2019 before closing it permanently. There is something about Mark Zuckerberg and the nature of Facebook that has always irritated me. Just observing his actions and often robotic speeches, he comes across as an individual that lacks a moral center. This is why I always felt uncomfortable using Facebook. Thankfully, Facebook’s actions before the election in 2020 proved my hesitation correct. I will never use any of their services again.
GOOGLE: Been using this service for an awfully long time dating back to the mid-2000s. I bought into their “Do No Evil” motto that was part of every Google commercial on television in the 2000s. I bought my first Google owned Android OS phone in 2014. I often have dozens of their apps on my phone even though I do not partake in their entertainment applications like Google Play Music, Play Books, Play Movies, their spy applications like Google Photos, and their three alternate versions of YouTube. After the events of January 6th, I moved my Contacts off Google, closed my Google Play Games and YouTube accounts, and closed my alternate Google account, firstname.lastname@example.org, that is primarily used for this blog. The only thing that remains with Google is my Gmail and Project Fi accounts which need to remain open so my phone can be used. All Gmail is now diverted to my Protonmail accounts. Once I decide to purchase a new phone, I am going to likely eliminate Google from my life once and for all.
TWITTER: I was ahead of the crowd on this one. I opened a Twitter account in 2010 and used it less and less until deleting my account in 2015. I was not impressed with the platform. I felt the platform gave too much power and influence to individuals with the most followers. I found the people with less “follows” to be significantly more interesting. So Twitter has been outside my orbit for a half a dozen years despite the tremendous amount of fame that a certain ex-president gave it during his one term.
Other corporations I terminated my relationship with because of bad behavior. CBS (CBS News and CBS Sports) and Yahoo for their censorship and propaganda, Adobe due to discovering better open-source solutions which made their membership ridiculously overrated and pricey, and Oracle, and Salesforce because of the creepy, Orwellian announcement about being the government funded platforms that will track vaccinations. I also cut ties with the popular millennial investment app Robinhood due to some questionable business practices and the constant instability of their application.
The only mega-national, trillion-dollar technology company that still does business with me is Microsoft due to three factors: my Acer Nitro PC using Windows 10, my yearly Xbox Live subscription which has been active since 2005, and my yearly Office 365 subscription which is necessary for my family. Until I can find a way to unwrap myself from Bill Gates cold, heartless hands, I will be stuck with Microsoft for a little while longer.
USE LINUX BASED OPERATING SYSTEMS AND OPEN-SOURCE APPLICATIONS WHEN APPLICABLE.
The problem with this solution is that you need the knowledge of an IT worker to understand how these programs and applications work. Especially with Linux Distributions, there is a learning curve to use it properly. Here are the best Linux distributions for beginners as a replacement for Windows 10:
List of Open-Source Applications That Can Be Substituted for Corporate Proprietary Products and Are Easy to Use for Beginners:
-2FA Apps (Authenticator) – Time Based Log-In Authorization
Aegis Authenticator or andOTP instead of any of the large company options owned by Microsoft,
Google, LastPass, or Salesforce.
Open-source AntennaPod or Podcast Addict created by an independent developer instead of Google or Apple’s offering.
OsmAnd instead of Apple, Bing, or Google Maps. The only downside is that all maps need to be downloaded onto your device.
-Ad Blocking App
Open Source Blokada
-Internet Search App
Use DuckDuckGo instead of Bing or Google.
-YouTube Substitution App
NewPipe instead of YouTube. Plus, you will not get bombarded with advertisements.
QKSMS instead of any of the dozens of proprietary options. Do not use WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger especially. More on this later.
Protonmail instead of any of the large proprietary applications like Gmail, Yahoo Mail or Microsoft Outlook.
More on this later. Firefox and Chromium are the best options for privacy and security over Google Chrome, Apple Safari, Microsoft Edge, and others.
-Password Manager App
Open-Source SSE (Secret Space Encryptor) instead of proprietary applications like FastPass, Dashlane or Norton.
Alternative Proprietary/Corporate Applications Outside of the Big Tech Companies
If the idea of tinkering with Linux is an oppressive thought (Even though the applications listed above are easy to use), then downloading proprietary/corporate/developer applications separated from Big Tech should be your choice. Here are a few more options.
Use Scribd or Kobo Books instead of Google Play Books, Amazon Kindle, Audible, or Walmart Books. I do not recommend Barnes & Noble’s Nook App as it has had issues with ‘disappearing’ books over the years of its existence.
Even though some of these have become large tech companies, it is always better to use Spotify, Pandora or Tidal over Apple, Amazon, or Google applications.
If Open Source does not work for you (Simple SMS Messenger is another option), I recommend using small developers like Delicious with their Chomp or Textra apps or privacy messengers like Signal or Telegram. Using anything from Apple, Google, or Facebook here is a danger to your privacy.
There are dozens of them online from small developers. Opera, Dolphin, Vivaldi, and Puffin along with my personal favorite, Brave as well as privacy focused ones like Mozilla, InBrowser, and Tor. There is never a reason to use a browser from Amazon, Apple, Google or Microsoft on your phone or PC.
-Social Media Apps
Time to check out of using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitch and YouTube or any other online social media company that has decided to censor someone’s content. For social media, use MeWe and Minds. If it ever comes back, use Parler. For a Twitter substitute, use Gab. For a YouTube substitute, use Rumble. Juxtapost is just as good as Pinterest. If you love open source, use Mastodon even though it is complicated to set up. The communities on these alternative websites are not as populated as the big tech platforms but they are growing exponentially by the day. I have found multiple groups to chat with on MeWe and find the platform satisfactory.
I am going to stop the list here or this blog will be 10,000 words long. The most important thing to remember is that whatever tool you use on your phone, try to use an alternative to the ones provided by the Big Tech companies. Use TrueCaller instead of the Google Phone app for instance. You can separate yourself from these oppressive privacy invading mega-corporations that have no interest in your individual opinions. They only see you as a digital number that they can exploit with their insidious AI algorithms and tracking software.
AFTERWORD: I went looking for a good alternative “News” site on the Apple and Google Stores. There are none that I can really recommend. Even Flipboard, which I used religiously for five years, mainly posts news articles from the mainstream. The best solution to resolve this is to use an RSS reader like the open source Flym or the proprietary Feedly where you can set up the diverse type of information with varying opinions that I hope everyone reads online (Right?) Until next time!
UPDATE: Add Reddit, Stripe, PayPal and Visa to the list of companies that are violating people's right of choice and free association. I cancelled my Reddit account in 2018 and my Paypal in 2019. I cancelled my Stripe account today (A new tool for donation to this website will be created over the next few weeks). I do have one Visa card through Chase. Will have to find a way to resolve this problem over the next few weeks also.
EXPERT OF SOME