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Resources to Divorce Yourself from Big Tech

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posted on Jan, 17 2021 @ 01:46 PM
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Been ruminating about this subject for a while. One of the main (what would the kids call it these days?) "clap backs" from those defending the censorship & account purging by Big Tech is the notion of a capitalism. As a side note, most of of those I see using this rationalization (i.e. Big Tech are private businesses free to set their own Terms of Service) here are politically hard left, and it's transparently obvious that they are OK with Big Tech's actions on this front simply because it diminishes the capabilities of their opposition (anyone else not hard left) to communicate and share their perspective and highlight information that reinforces their ideas. This is generally the same crowd that gets their underpants in a knot when some baker in a small community chooses what customers to take on, setting their own "Terms of Service" as it were, but we are already aware of such ideological hypocrisy, and must soldier on despite of it.

Having said that....it turns out the hard left proponents of Big Tech are not necessarily wrong here (even if they are hypocritical in picking which private businesses they deem fit for restricting their customer's opinions and deciding when it's OK to refuse service). The underpinning of our economic system, which has made the US so prosperous, and which has made our country such a desirable place to immigrate to, is undeniably capitalism. Is capitalism /perfect/? Nope, not at all. Lots of bones to pick. In the end my feelings is that Lenin's famous quip (or at least attributed to him), something along the lines of capitalists selling the rope with which they will be hung with, is prophetic, but that is a digression for another post.

The point of this thread is to illustrate the power of consumer choice, and to provide a list of resources that might help those that are interested in spending their money in such a way as to not benefit Google, Amazon, Face Book, Twitter, Apple etc.

By no means is this list complete; hopefully other members will chime in and provide their own links to competitors to Big Tech. Also, there's no guarantee some of the competitors on this list don't have the same ideological slant as Big Tech, but if there is enough consumer inertia to make a dent in Big Tech's profits, and the clear explanation for such a financial hit is that folks aren't pleased with how they treat their customers, then it ought to be the case that even the leviathans of Big Tech can be dissuaded from their current practices. The market chooses winners and losers, and customers set the direction of the market.

Home Goods/General Shopping

Some alternatives to shopping on Amazon; can't bring myself to put Walmart on this list (there are degrees of unfair business practices I guess).


Electronics/Digital Goods

More alternatives to Amazon for computers/electronics/gadgets


Sporting/Outdoor Goods


PCs/laptops/tablets

The idea here is to provide an alternative to buying a Macbook or Chromebook. I would preface this with a bit of caution in that IF you truly divest yourself from the Apple/Chromebook ecosystem, you''re probably not going to find as rich/thorough an application experience as those vendors. Having said that, there's a vast number of great office tools/utilities/games/applications that you can avail yourself with in an open-source friendly system.

  • System76 (laptop assembled right here in the US running Ubuntu Linux!) - system76.com...
  • Pine64 (offers Linux tablets, laptops) - www.pine64.org...
  • Plasma Slimbook (Chromebook competitor running KDE Plasma a VERY Windows-like Linux OS) - kde.slimbook.es...



Secure Web E-Mail (larger list here on WikiPedia)

Have used most of these myself; some are not free FYI.
Would never recommend Yahoo personally (they are on par with the other Big Techs in terms of biased treatment of their users).
You could also get a personal domain and complimentary email box on most web hosting services (GoDaddy, HostGator, etc), although might require a bit more technical know-how to use.


File/Photo Sharing



Messaging/Chat Services


Alternate Phone Platforms ((WikiPedia List)

Unfortunately this category might be where some compromises must be made when it comes to availability, pricing and features. I've heard and read up on most of these platforms, but never owned one myself. That may change in the near future. This again is where some tinkering/technical know-how might be required to make thinks work well, and I'd limit your expectations for parity of what you'd get from the big phone manufacturers.


I am planning on adding more categories (calendar, personal productivity, computers/tablets) later, but please feel free to jump in and extend the list!
edit on 17-1-2021 by SleeperHasAwakened because: Add photo & file sharing links

edit on 17-1-2021 by SleeperHasAwakened because: Removed What's App

edit on 17-1-2021 by SleeperHasAwakened because: Added Etsy

edit on 17-1-2021 by SleeperHasAwakened because: Add alternative laptops/tablets



posted on Jan, 17 2021 @ 01:58 PM
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a reply to: SleeperHasAwakened

Careful... WhatsApp is Facebook and will be integrating it with Instagram and Facebook Messenger. New ToS on privacy apply from February 8th (except in Europe/Uk).




posted on Jan, 17 2021 @ 01:59 PM
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What's App is a Facebook product and Dick's quit selling firearms to placate the PC crowd.

Encia beat me to the WA issue. Nice list though, we should add sites as we find them.

eBay is pulling some crap with their payment system so I pulled all of my items from there yesterday. Anyone have experience selling with Etsy or another site?


edit on 17-1-2021 by HalWesten because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 17 2021 @ 02:00 PM
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originally posted by: Encia22
a reply to: SleeperHasAwakened

Careful... WhatsApp is Facebook and will be integrating it with Instagram and Facebook Messenger. New ToS on privacy apply from February 8th (except in Europe/Uk).






Excellent, wasn't aware of that. TBH there are probably 3-4 other alternatives to personal messaging even beyond what I posted.




posted on Jan, 17 2021 @ 02:05 PM
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originally posted by: HalWesten
What's App is a Facebook product and Dick's quit selling firearms to placate the PC crowd.


I think there are levels of consumer choice here. Some of alternatives on the list I'm betting have the same political stances as Big Tech.

So this isn't really a thread about only supporting vendors or goods and services that adhere to some specific ideology. It's an attempt to provide some alternatives to the main players in the tech industry as a recourse for using your power, as a user/consumer, to "vote with your dollar" or "vote with the ad revenue you bring in".

ETA:

I almost added Etsy to the list, but as someone that has known folks working there who've described their climate, I can tell you that they are in the same boat as the rest of Big Tech. Nevertheless, it's a good call, as eBay is certainly a company that needs some healthy competition to adjust their customer service attitude, so I will add it to the list Hal

edit on 17-1-2021 by SleeperHasAwakened because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 17 2021 @ 02:18 PM
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a reply to: SleeperHasAwakened

For the phone/OS category I remember the Black Phone. Apparently, they don't deal with the hardware side anymore, but their Silent Circle App is still available.

Black Phone App



edit on 17-1-2021 by Encia22 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 17 2021 @ 02:23 PM
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a reply to: HalWesten

Don't bother with Etsy. It's Woke!



posted on Jan, 17 2021 @ 02:24 PM
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FYI Mozilla products would've factored into my list, as someone who has used Firefox, Thunderbird, and even software dev libraries/tools from Mozilla in a professional capacity.

However, after reading this thread from an ATS mod on Mozilla's unofficial political stance (or at least articulated by someone high up in the food chain there), I couldn't in good conscience add them to this list.

Mozilla, along with Google, in my view are examples of how (once) amazing, cutting-edge, collaborative and politically neutral entities get infiltrated by "soft academic" types (think HR, Diversity and Inclusion), who bring nothing to the table in terms of product vision/output, but take what was once a data-driven, meritocratic work environment and shunt it into a sociological experiment that is in line with the indoctrination those types get at university. Apple is probably in that same vein. Jobs would be rolling over in his grave knowing that the company he built from scratch in a garage is choosing what content to put on their AppStore due to political leanings.

This is, in part, why we need competition, not just to keep prices low, but to inform corporations that you don't appreciate them stepping outside their lane (provide a produce/service, not your opinion on social justice or politics).
edit on 17-1-2021 by SleeperHasAwakened because: Fix link



posted on Jan, 17 2021 @ 02:26 PM
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originally posted by: Encia22
a reply to: SleeperHasAwakened

For the phone/OS category I remember the Black Phone. Apparently, they don't deal with the hardware side anymore, but their Silent Circle App is still available.

Black Phone App




If you go to the WikiPedia list you see for the phone category in the list, it is littered with the corpses of companies that tried to break into this space (ahem Nokia).

This is a notoriously hard nut to crack; the entrenched players in devices along with telecos are heavily conspiring to keep out new players.



posted on Jan, 17 2021 @ 02:28 PM
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a reply to: SleeperHasAwakened

It's all becoming very off-putting.
I'm what you call a reluctant user. My big 3 are ATS, eBay and YouTube.
I do use others, obviously, such as discogs and occasionally others but I'm getting tired of advertising and spying and always being prompted to sign up to stuff I don't want.

I'm too lazy or inept to bother fighting all that rubbish with this app or that vpn or some other nonsense I don't trust. Nor am I prepared to spend a lot of money on technology which I have no control over.
I wouldn't buy a car if someone else decides where I can or can't drive (within the law) so why pay for this?

I gave up TV quite happily and eventually I'll simply stop going online.
If it's going to be used to control us. They are going to have to install and maintain it themselves.

I'll be reading a book somewhere.



posted on Jan, 17 2021 @ 02:40 PM
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a reply to: SleeperHasAwakened

The problem with many off shoot stores that are franchises is they are only viewed as successful as long as they are producing a profit for the parent company. It is like: I sell you an egg. I tell you if you hatch that egg, I will help you care for the chicken, but you must give me one egg for every two eggs the chicken lays.

You think this is not a bad idea, and if you do well, you may buy a couple more eggs, and everyone is happy, but do you really own the chicken or the eggs? Is it really your business, or are you just making money because you are making money for someone else? What happens when the chicken stops laying eggs?

I am a huge believer in local businesses, and I champion the investment for all businesses to be self sufficient. I live in the woods and our electricity goes out almost daily, anytime the wind blows over two miles an hour. I have gone without electricity and land line service, for as long as three months, in the past. I have learned the value of being able to operate and function without electricity and without other modern conveniences. It really isn't as bad as it seems, and it will definitely spark any creative juices that you may have laying dormant.

Community, team work, and preparedness, are what we should be focused on, because when big tech goes down, it will be very hard for those that never lived without it.



posted on Jan, 17 2021 @ 02:48 PM
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I think this is the correct response to Big Tech censorship. Good luck!

You are right that private companies have the right to a TOS. However, I'm not sure banning services to someone because of their skin color or gender is justified. That sounds like prejudice. Amazon made a rational argument for banning Parlor, including listing quotes posted on there about violence and overthrowing the government that was not taken down.

Free speech has always had limits. I doubt we are free to conspire to take over the government or commit murder.
edit on 17pmSun, 17 Jan 2021 14:53:21 -0600kbpmkAmerica/Chicago by darkbake because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 17 2021 @ 02:48 PM
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a reply to: NightSkyeB4Dawn

I 100% agree with you, and what you wrote, particularly the part about the importance of self-sufficiency and not relying heavily on mega international corporations (i.e. Big Tech) is a scathing rebuttal of globalism.



posted on Jan, 17 2021 @ 03:10 PM
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I was using Hughes.net for email but switched over to proton mail this past week.

They also have VPN.
edit on 17-1-2021 by CharlesT because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 17 2021 @ 03:13 PM
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originally posted by: seeker1963
a reply to: HalWesten

Don't bother with Etsy. It's Woke!


I’ve had more problem with Etsy & their sellers than any online business.
I would be very cautious of buying anything pricey on there.



posted on Jan, 17 2021 @ 03:19 PM
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originally posted by: darkbake
I think this is the correct response to Big Tech censorship. Good luck!

You are right that private companies have the right to a TOS. However, I'm not sure banning services to someone because of their skin color or gender is justified. That sounds like prejudice.

Any reasonable person would denounce prejudice in business. Oh, hmmm wait, except Yelp. You see it's OK to patronize certain businesses based on the owner's skin color UNLESS you're not a person of color, in which case say you created a listing for "white owned businesses" you'd be deplatformed inside a day and might have the FBI reading your email.


originally posted by: darkbake
Amazon made a rational argument for banning Parlor, including listing quotes posted on there about violence and overthrowing the government that was not taken down.

Free speech has always had limits. I doubt we are free to conspire to take over the government or commit murder.


Not really buying it sorry. We already saw last summery that posting pictures during riots, encouraging/cheering on arson and private property destruction, and even coordinating rioter movements is all OK on Twitter/Facebook, as long as it's for "social justice"

Big Tech should either censor/ban ALL political speech or censor NONE of it, not just the side they don't agree with.



posted on Jan, 17 2021 @ 03:33 PM
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What about Norton? Are they trustworthy?



posted on Jan, 17 2021 @ 03:37 PM
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originally posted by: SleeperHasAwakened

Having said that....it turns out the hard left proponents of Big Tech are not necessarily wrong here (even if they are hypocritical in picking which private businesses they deem fit for restricting their customer's opinions and deciding when it's OK to refuse service). The underpinning of our economic system, which has made the US so prosperous, and which has made our country such a desirable place to immigrate to, is undeniably capitalism. Is capitalism /perfect/? Nope, not at all. Lots of bones to pick. In the end my feelings is that Lenin's famous quip (or at least attributed to him), something along the lines of capitalists selling the rope with which they will be hung with, is prophetic, but that is a digression for another post.


Two thoughts.

First, big tech is not a hard left thing. It has very little in common with the hard left and is inimical to the Marxist idea. Big tech tends to be libertarian. Applying a crude Marxist filter, they control the means of production and distribution of data and ideas. Which makes them capitalist.

If you find their ideas and approach problematic, your issue is not with the left.

What's more, follow the money (and code) and you'll find those alternative resources are the same old same old, with the same objectives as the big players. Remember, if the product is free, you're the product. You're also using the same old servers, the same old cables, the same old providers.

Second, maybe it's a fifty something thing but social media? Pfah. Online shopping? Meh. Music? Vinyl mainly. Films?
Still got working DVD and VCR playes because there's nothing I want to watch on Netflix etc. Games? Last good game I played was Civilization III. Still play now and again. Sites like this for a bit of entertainment, some apps for business comms, maybe the TV listings and some rabbit holes like the archives my ex mother-in-law directed me to at the end of last year. The rest of it? Pah.
edit on 17-1-2021 by Whodathunkdatcheese because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 17 2021 @ 03:45 PM
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a reply to: CharlesT

That's a good question Charles; I haven't heard much info on Norton when it comes to their unbiased/politically neutral treatment of customers.

One thing I want to add to the list is series of free computers/operating systems as alternatives to choosing say an Apple Macbook or Google Chromebook. And you know what? You probably wouldn't even need an anti-virus scanner! I haven't run any anti-virus scanning on my PCs for over a decade. I use open-source software, and the idea is, the majority of applications running on the system, even the operating system itself, are audited and reviewed carefully by millions of people around the world. If you stick to widely used open-source applications, do a little research on them online to verify that others use it and its trustworthy, you're generally going to be fine. I say generally because even open-source software can be infiltrated and have exploits embedded in them. Nothing is foolproof or 100% secure, and many times it's not applications (and viruses) that trips us up nowadays, it's things like choosing easy to guess passwords, clicking on suspicious links without scrutinizing them carefully, or otherwise falling pray to what we call in the biz "human engineering" (the bad guys use trickery or deception to get you to give up private information by impersonating a real website or email message).

I'll leave it to others to speak for customer-friendly A/V tools.



posted on Jan, 17 2021 @ 04:17 PM
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originally posted by: Whodathunkdatcheese

Two thoughts.

First, big tech is not a hard left thing. It has very little in common with the hard left and is inimical to the Marxist idea. Big tech tends to be libertarian. Applying a crude Marxist filter, they control the means of production and distribution of data and ideas. Which makes them capitalist.

I work in Big Tech; I'm very familiar with the culture and general ideological attitudes of rank&file workers. I have friends and colleagues that have/do work in many of the companies listed above.

I never brought Marxism into the discussion and that is deliberate. The main theme here is not disenfranchising or espousing any economic ethos, at least as far as the philosophy Big Tech goes. They are 100% capitalist and all about making money, without any government disrupting the business of making money.

This is about freedom of expression without being purged, "canceled", fired from your job, having your posts taken down because they are "Pro Trump" (or even Pro Antifa) or otherwise exhibiting bias based on political persuasion.

As has been reiterated many times, the opinion of most is that Big Tech is withing their purview as a private business to censor/purge/deplatform based on how they perceive content to fit within THEIR opinion on what is or isn't acceptable.

Thus, the point of this discussion is to use our power as consumers to let Big Tech know that THEY MUST BE EITHER APOLITICAL OR OMNI-POLITICAL. Pick one, IDGAF.


originally posted by: Whodathunkdatcheese
If you find their ideas and approach problematic, your issue is not with the left.

What's more, follow the money (and code) and you'll find those alternative resources are the same old same old, with the same objectives as the big players. Remember, if the product is free, you're the product. You're also using the same old servers, the same old cables, the same old providers.

Yes I don't dispute any of that, but there are alternatives to most of the services Big Tech provide, and the point here isn't necessarily to establish a philosophical beachhead of absolute freedom and reprieve from The System and tPTB (which isn't possible), but merely to divest one's ad revenue/commercial footprint from the most egregious symbols of The System.


originally posted by: Whodathunkdatcheese
Second, maybe it's a fifty something thing but social media? Pfah. Online shopping? Meh. Music? Vinyl mainly. Films?
Still got working DVD and VCR playes because there's nothing I want to watch on Netflix etc. Games? Last good game I played was Civilization III. Still play now and again. Sites like this for a bit of entertainment, some apps for business comms, maybe the TV listings and some rabbit holes like the archives my ex mother-in-law directed me to at the end of last year. The rest of it? Pah.

Yeah 100% agree there, I don't get the social media thing, I don't use it, I think it does more harm than good on net balance. If everyone simply disengaged from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram you would find that you have an enormous level of power over these companies. They cannot exist without your ad revenue.

Finding alternatives to social media is easy, and I didn't bother listing them.
Exercise. Read a book. Chat with family via email or IM. Send a text or heaven forbid call them! Life existed before social media.







 
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