How to maintain freedom and privacy using technology and Internet

Image8Figure 1 Dear, don't worry...it's just a seller who's collecting our personal data to create the most appropriate advertisements for us...

 

 

Index

 

 

Aphorisms

“Arguing that you don't care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don't care about free speech because you have nothing to say. It's a deeply anti-social principal because rights are not just individual - they're collective. The fact that you don't care about this or that freedom today doesn't mean you can't care about it tomorrow. What today may not have value for you, tomorrow may have value for an entire population, an entire people, an entire way of life. And if you don't stand up for it, then who will?” Edward Snowden, 2015

“When you say, ‘I have nothing to hide,’ you’re saying, ‘I don’t care about this right.’ You’re saying, ‘I don’t have this right, because I’ve got to the point where I have to justify it.’ The way rights work is, the government has to justify its intrusion into your rights.” Edward Snowden, 2015

“A person's true value is not measured by the values he claims to uphold, but by what he is willing to do to protect them. If you don't hold true to the values you believe in, you probably don't believe in them all the way.” Edward Snowden, 2015

“Privacy is not for sale, and human rights should not be compromised out of fear or greed.” Pavel Durov, 2018

“Every one of us is going to die eventually, but we as a species will stick around for a while. That’s why I think accumulating money, fame or power is irrelevant. Serving humanity is the only thing that really matters in the long run.” Pavel Durov, 2018

Surveillance is the business model of the Internet.Bruce Schneier, 2014

“Too many wrongly characterize the debate as security versus privacy. The real choice is liberty versus control.Bruce Schneier, 2009

“The real psychological truth is this: if you’ve got nothing to hide, you are nothing.” Shoshana Zuboff, 2014

“Will we be the masters of information, or will we be its slaves? If the digital future is to be our home, then it is we who must make it so.” Shoshana Zuboff, 2014

“In a world where software influences virtually every single aspect of our lives, Free Software is a precondition for a free society.” Reinhard Müller, 2019

 

“Anytime someone puts a lock on something you own, against your wishes, and doesn't give you the key, they're not doing it for your benefit.” Doctorow's Law, 2009

“It's the actions that matter. Our thoughts, good as they may be, are false pearls until they are transformed into actions. Be the change you want to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi, unknown

"The Web is designed to be universal: to include everything and everyone." Tim Berners-Lee, 2007

"We need to start talking about the right to access the Web and the right not to be spied on. The Internet must remain free, open and neutral." Tim Berners-Lee, 2011

“If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged.” Cardinal Richelieu, 1641

“If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place, but if you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engines including Google do retain this information for some time, and it's important, for example that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act. It is possible that that information could be made available to the authorities.” Eric Schmidt, 2009

“The technology will be so good it will be very hard for people to watch or consume something that has not in some sense been tailored for them.” Eric Schmidt, 2010

“A squirrel dying in front of your house maybe more relevant to your interests right know than people dying in Africa.” Mark Zuckerberg, 2011

“It’s the gradual, slight, imperceptible change in your own behaviour and perception that is the product...That's the only thing there is for them to make money from. Changing what you do, how you think, who you are.” Jaron Lanier, 2020

“A world constructed from the familiar is a world in which there's nothing to learn...(since there is) invisible autopropaganda, indoctrinating us with our own ideas.” Eli Pariser, 2011

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.Benjamin Franklin, 1755

Image11Figure 2: The collection of personal data or personal data harvesting...Source

Image15Figure 3 The surveillance capitalism: "Amazon (Facebook) spies on 100 million devices, Google (Microsoft) spies on 400 million, NSA only for amateurs..."

Image19Figure 4: Dear, the government (NSA, CIA, FBI, etc.) is spying on us. Darling, they must have felt left out. Source

What are the threats to our freedom and privacy?

Modern society is called the information society because technology and the Internet are used pervasively. These means are used for the dissemination of information and content for any purpose (popular, recreational, commercial, etc.). The most important thing is to be aware that our freedom as people is at risk in ways that are sometimes difficult to understand.

Government agencies continuously spy on us in the name of security through global surveillance programs (PRISM, Echelon, XKeyscore, Vault 7, Tempora, Cambdrige Analytica, Net Neutrality, TED with subtitles, TED with subtitles).

Service providers, in exchange for more or less useful free services, consider us as products for their own interests. The forms of abuse range from tracking user habits (TED with subtitles, digital merchandise fetishism and hidden exploitation) to not owning a good (application, film or disc) despite its purchase (DRM).

 

In order to be able to defend itself, a free solution is to use open source software better if free or designed to maintain the freedom of users. Open source software encourages the analysis and study of the source code in order to make corrections, changes and extensions. Free software adds to open source software respect for the freedom of users and the community; users have the freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, modify and improve the software. So it's a question of freedom, not price. To understand the concept, one need to think of "freedom of speech" and not "free beer".

The Free Software Foundation promotes the development and dissemination of free software through the General Public License (GPL). Free and open source software allows the revision of the source code by a large number of people. For this reason, it is more difficult for it to contain defects and malfunctions (bugs) or security holes and corrections are very quick. Moreover, since the source code is freely available, it is very difficult to intentionally insert spy functions (backdoors, trojans and spyware) without these being promptly discovered and eliminated differently from what happened for some commercial applications.

Furthermore, messages defined as "private" in e-mail services, social networks and communication applications are actually not. In most cases, messages are transmitted over the Internet and protected by encryption, but are readable by the service provider. To communicate in a truly private way through a digital device, different solutions based on end-to-end encryption are needed.

An unencrypted message is the same as a postcard while an encrypted message is the same as a traditional letter: in particular, end-to-end encryption ensures that only the recipient can open the envelope of the letter.

Finally, Term of Service (ToS) are the legal agreements between a service provider and the user who wishes to use them. In particular, they define the terms of use of a service in a legally binding manner and are essential for the protection of copyright on content and for protection against potential liability. The terms of service, due to their length and sometimes difficult to understand, are almost never read by the user who unconsciously accepts them.

 

Some simple rules to remember in order not to be overwhelmed

  1. Proprietary software (closed source) protects the rights and the interests of the developer rather than the users;

  2. Free software guarantees transparency and freedom to users and is a necessary condition for a free society;

  3. A software that uses end-to-end encryption protects you from the collection of personal data and surveillance of mass media;

  4. A free service/product or an unclear business model gains through user data or their lives;

  5. It is better to pay for a service/product with a subscription or donation and be certain of its genuineness than to have it for free without any certainty.

 

The digital sovereignty

Image5Figure 5: The multinationals of information and their domination in the world, 2017. The rise of digital empires is creating a colonial vision of the Internet. Source Source

Image1Figure 6: The world-wide population divided in categories, 2017. Source

According to the inventor of the World Wide Web (WWW), Tim Berners-Lee, the priorities to keep open and free Internet are the following:

  1. Resume control of our personal data;

  2. Limit and, if possible, remove the spread of misinformation on the Web;

  3. Create tools for transparency and understanding of online political advertising.

 

How live without Google (and GAFA (GAFAM e FAANG))

Image20Figure 7: GAFAM the digital empires and colonialism of the Web. Source

What information are large technology companies collecting from us?

How the Tech Giants Make Their Billions

The question: it is possible to abandon Google (GAFAM and FAANG) and remain in the world of today without falling from the frying pan to the fire?

It's not easy because "BigG" is no longer just a search engine. In fact, BigG provides a series of services (video and document sharing, maps, email, mobile operating systems, etc.) very useful, if not indispensable, in everyday life.

BigG has become too invasive. Also, unlike its competitors, its purpose is to sell advertising. It is not a search engine (like Yahoo), it is not a software manufacturer (like Microsoft, Adobe, Oracle, IBM, etc.), it does not live by selling licenses (like Microsoft, Adobe, Oracle, IBM, etc.) or devices (Apple, HP, Lenovo, etc.) or services (excluding some services to companies and individuals).

Its fundamental profit comes from advertising and from this derives the total profiling of its users. Its control is so pervasive that BigG can now be considered a quasi-monopolist (duopoly with Facebook) of Internet advertising.

There is no need to demonise Google, as this is its business model: the services offered are excellent in exchange for the massive collection of personal data. The final choice depends on ourselves. Unfortunately, some facts are very puzzling (for example, any data uploaded to its servers becomes its property or it is allowed to do whatever you want with our profiles, including selling them to third parties).

Everyone can evaluate their privacy as they wish and decide whether the transfer of much personal information is worth the level of services that are obtained in return from BigG (GAFAM and FAANG).

 

Image9

Figure 8: Google's restrictions (obligation to pre-install Google Search and Chrome, payment by device manufacturers and phone operators to use Google Search exclusively, obstacle to the development of new open source versions) on the Android operating system illegally protect its domain on the Internet search. Source

A few key points:

 

How to live without BigG's services and applications

Service or application

Google

Alternatives

Browser

Google Chrome

Brave, Firefox, TOR

Search engine

Google Search

Searx, Presearch, Brave Search, DuckDuckGo, Startpage

Bookmarks

Google Bookmarks

xBrowserSync, Firefox Sync, Floccus, Pocket, Raindrop

Communication applications (messaging and VoIP)

Google Messages, Google Hangouts

Element, Telegram, Wire, Mega, Signal, Jami, Keybase

Video conferencing applications

Google Hangouts and Meets

Jitsi, BigBlueButton, Telegram, Mega, Wire, Jami

Email services and applications

Gmail

Protonmail, CTemplar, Tutanota, Mailvelope, K9-mail

Cloud storage and data sharing services and applications

Google Drive

NextCloud, Syncthing, Mega, Cryptomator

Map services and applications

Google Maps

OpenStreeMap, OsmAnd, Qwant maps

Services and applications Earth visualization

Google Earth

Cesium, Marble, Zoom Earth

Services and applications Street Map

Google Street View

OpenStreetCam

Translator services and applications

Google Translate

Apertium, LibreTranslate, LingvaTranslate, DeepL, Linguee, Swisscows

Calendar services and applications

Google Calendar

NextCloud, ProtonMail, Fruux

Contacts services and applications

Google Contacts

NextCloud, ProtonMail, OpenContacts

Social network services and applications

 

Mastodon, Diaspora*, GNU social

Video content services and applications

YouTube

Invidious, PeerTube, DTube, NewPipe, FreeTube, Internet Archive

Office services and applications

Google Docs

LibreOffice, Collabora, Disroot, CryptPad

Android apps catalogue

Google Play

F-Droid, Aurora Store

Mobile operating systems

Android Open Source Project (AOSP)

Lineage OS, Lineage OS microG

Virtual assistant services and applications

Google Assistant

Mycroft, Home Assistant

Teclados Android

Gboard

AnySoftKeyboard, Simple Keyboard, OpenBoard

Activity tracker

Google Fit

Runkeeper, Endomondo, Samsung Health

Media center

Google Chromecast

Airtame, Roku

Music

Play Music

Tubeats, JustHearIt, Libre.fm

Books

Play Books

Internet Archive, Project Gutenberg, Open Library, Scribd

News and Events

Google News

Brave Today, Pocket, Flipboard

Payments

Google Pay

TransferWise, Revolut, Abra, Circle, Papaya Wallet

Blog

Blogger

Wordpress, Publii, Write.as, Ghost, Telegra.ph, Medium

Web sites

Google Sites

Wordpress, Publii, Joomla!, Grav, Silex

Alerts

Google Alerts

TalkWalker, F5bot, Mentionlytics

Photography

Google Photos

NextCloud, Piwigo, Mega, Keybase

Advertising for advertisers

Google Ads

Brave Rewards, Quantcast, Pinterest, AdRoll

Advertising for publishers

Google AdSense

Brave Rewards, Quantcast, Pinterest

Digital notepad services and applications

Google Keep

Standard Notes, Joplin, Disroot Etherpad

Authenticator services and applications 2FA

Google Authenticator

andOTP, Authenticator, Authenticator browser

Analytic

Google Analytic

Matomo, GoatCounter, OpenWebAnalytic, Countly, Clicky

Resolver services DNS

Google DNS

OpenNIC, Quad9, Mullvad, Cloudflare

Domains

Google Domains

Njalla, Orange Website, Bahnhof

Note: the list is not complete, but it allows you to understand how many BigG services it uses to profile its users. The Android operating system has allowed BigG to extend its user base in a viral way. Unfortunately, without awareness and the correct countermeasures such as those in this document, using an Android device makes it a prisoner of BigG's services.

The best solution is to buy a device (smartphone or tablet), even used, compatible with a free operating system, based on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), such as Lineage OS. In addition to allowing greater customization, performance (speed and battery life) and privacy, it allows you to receive operating system updates throughout the life of the device.

Note: the activation of the root (administrator user) and the replacement of the original operating system with an alternative one does not cancel the legal warranty.

Note: the installation of Lineage OS, although not difficult, requires a minimum of computer knowledge; however, it is possible to learn this procedure through a lot of information and videos present on the net source and source.

Some of the shames of the high-tech giants

Image10Figure 9: The scandal of very low taxes paid by hi-tech giants. Their tax avoidance causes unfair competition with other operators with the consequent loss and a future of failure. Moreover, the lack of income forces the states to increase taxes on those who pay them i.e. citizens ...Source Source

Image14Figure 10 Some of the anti-monopoly fines imposed by the European Commission against the US hi-tech giants. Source

Privacy and respect for the freedom of users by information and communication services and applications

Image3Figure 11: Snoopy and the encryption....

Browser

Feature

Project

Chrome

Edge

Safari

Opera

Chromium

Firefox

Brave

TOR

Developer

Google

Microsoft

Apple

Opera

Google

Mozilla

Brave

TOR project

Open source

No

No

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Web engine

Blink

Blink

Web kit, Nitro

Blink

Blink

Gecko, Servo

Blink

Gecko, Servo

Performance

High

High

Average

High

High

High

High

High

Required resources (CPU/RAM)

High

Average

Average

Average

High

Average

Average

Average

Additional components

Desktop version only

Desktop version only

Desktop and iOS version

Desktop version only

Desktop version only

Desktop and Android version

Desktop version only

Desktop and Android version

Integrated advertising filter

Yes, limited

No

No

Yes, default disabled

Yes, limited

Yes, limited

Yes

Yes, via NoScript

Integrated anti tracking

No

Yes, limited and default disabled

Yes, limited and default disabled

Yes, default disabled

No

Yes

Yes

Yes, via NoScript

Integrated anti fingerprinting

No

Yes, limited and default disabled

Yes, limited

No

No

Yes, limited and default disabled

Yes

Yes

Default safe connection (HTTPS)

No

No

No

No

No

Yes, default disabled

Yes

Yes

Business model

User data, advertising

User data, advertising

User data, advertising

User data, advertising

Google

Donations, agreement with search engines

BAT cryptocurrency

Donations

 

To make browsing safer and more confidential, you must use one of the following browsers:

Note: Chrome is the closed source version and owner of Chromium and is therefore considered not to be respectful of privacy. Google's business model, based on advertising, requires user data as payment for services.

Does your browser protect you against fingerprinting?

Firefox, Brave or Chrome: some very useful add ons to increase the browsing safety and privacy:

Firefox: additional add ons very useful to increase the privacy of browsing:

Note: xBrowserSync allows you to synchronize bookmarks between browsers and devices with end-to-end encryption and without registration.

Note: only Firefox and Kiwi on Android version support add ons, Chrome does not support them.

 

Image2

Figure 12: Welcome to the Google Botnet. There is nothing you can do with Google Chrome without it being transmitted to Google in some way...In addition, Google violates the GDPR.

Search engine

Feature

Project

Google Search

Bing

Startpage

Qwant

DuckDuckGo

Brave Search

Presearch

Searx

Developer

Google

Microsoft

Startpage

Qwant

DuckDuckGo

Brave

Presearch

Community

Open source

No

No

No

Partially

No

No

Partially

Yes

Architecture

Centralized

Centralized

Centralized

Centralized

Centralized

Centralized

Decentralized

Decentralized

Infrastructure jurisdiction

USA

USA

Europe, USA

Europe (France)

USA

USA

World

World

Quality results

High

High

High (Google)

High (Bing)

High

High

High (Google, DuckDuckGo)

High (Google, Bing, Yahoo)

Independent search index

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Integrated advertising filter

No

No

No

No

No

No

No

Yes

Integrated anti tracking

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Safe connection (HTTPS by defect)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Business model

User data, advertising

User data, advertising

Advertising, donations

Advertising, donations

Advertising, donations

BAT cryptocurrency

Presearch cryptocurrency

Donations, public servers

Advertising, tracking and profiling

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

No

No

No

 

The following search engines are respectful of user privacy and provide innovative features:

Note: Google, Bing and Yahoo (Bing) have a business model based on advertising and requires user data as payment for services.

 

Advertising filter additional components and applications

Feature

Project

Adblock

Adblock Plus

AdGuard

Ublock origin

Blokada

Pi-hole

Developer

Community

Eyeo

AdGuard

Community

Community

Community

Open source

Yes

Yes

Partially

Yes

Yes

Yes

Required resources (CPU/RAM)

High/High

High/High

Low/Low

Low/Low

Low/Low

Low/Low

Android/iOS/browser

No/No/Yes (Firefox, Brave, Chrome, Edge, Safari)

No/No/Yes (Firefox, Brave, Chrome, Edge, Safari)

Yes/Yes/Yes (Firefox, Brave, Chrome, Edge, Safari)

No/No/Yes (Firefox, Brave, Chrome, Edge, Safari)

Yes/Yes/No

Does not require installation on the device, only Raspberry Pi

Performance

Average

Average

High

High

High

Average

Acceptable advertising list

Yes

Yes

Yes, optional

No

No

No

Requires to establish VPN connection

No

No

Yes, local connection

No

Yes, local connection

No

Browser/operating system protection type

Yes/No

Yes/No

Yes/Yes

Yes/No

No/Yes

No/No, entire local network

Required root user

No

No

No

No

No

No

Download Android/iOS/PC

No/No/Web site

No/No/Web site

Web site/App Store/Web site

No/No/Web site

Web site-F-Droid/No/No

Web site

Business model

Paid features

Advertising

Paid features

Donations

Donations

Donations

Advertising, tracking and profiling

Yes

Yes

Yes, minimal

No

No

No

 

Some open source applications for Android, availables only on F-Droid, which allow you to block advertising:

The main advantages of using an advertising filter:

Note: browsing on a PC is via a browser which uses the add ons as an advertising filter. On the other hand, browsing on Android and iOS is done through applications that require an advertising filter at the operating system level provided by a specific application.

 

Communication applications (messaging and VoIP)

Feature

Project

Whatsapp

Messenger

iMessage

Skype

Viber

Telegram

Mega

Keybase

Signal

Wire

Element

Developer

Facebook

Facebook

Apple

Microsoft

Rakuten

Telegram

Mega

Zoom

Signal

Wire

Element

Open source

No

No

No

No

No

Partially

Partially

Partially

Yes

Yes

Yes

Architecture

Centralized

Centralized

Centralized

Centralized

Centralized

Centralized

Centralized

Centralized

Centralized

Centralized/decentralized

Decentralized/centralized

Infrastructure jurisdiction

USA

USA

USA

USA

Luxembourg/Japan

Netherlands/USA/Singapore

New Zealand

USA

USA

Switzerland/local

Local/UK

Bonds intelligence agencies

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

No

No

No

No

Web/Android/iOS/PC

Yes/Yes/Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes/Yes/No

No/No/Yes/Yes, macOS only

Yes/Yes/Yes/Yes

No/Yes/Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes/Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes/Yes/No

Yes/Yes/Yes/Yes

No/Yes/Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes/Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes/Yes/Yes

Users (active/group size)

2000 M/256

1300 M/250

1000 M/33

300 M/50

260 M/250

500 M/200 k

200 M/500

1 M/10 k

30 M/1000

30 M/500

30 M/10 k

Size (attachments/storage)

16 MB video-100 MB file/unlimited (local storage)

100 MB file/ unlimited (cloud storage)

100 MB file/unlimited (local storage)

300 MB file/unlimited (local storage)

30 MB file/unlimited (local storage)

2 GB/unlimited (cloud storage)

Unlimited/15 GB, paid version up to 8 TB (cloud storage)

Unlimited/250 GB (cloud storage)

100 MB file/unlimited (local storage)

25 MB-100 MB paid version/unlimited (local storage)

100 MB/unlimited (cloud storage)

Safe attachments/self-destructing messages

No/No

No/Yes

No/No

No/No

No/Yes

No/Yes

Yes/No

Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes

Yes/No

Cloud/local backup support

Yes, third parties in clear text/Yes

Yes, clear text/Yes, export

Yes, clear text/No

Yes, clear text/Yes, export

Yes, clear text/Yes, export

Yes, clear text/Yes, export

Yes, E2E encryption/No

Yes, E2E encryption/No

No/Yes

No/Yes

Yes, E2E encryption/No

Anonymous registration/username

No/No

Yes, email/Yes

Yes, email/Yes

Yes, email/Yes

No/No

No/Yes

Yes, email/Yes

Yes/Yes

No/No

Yes, email/Yes

Yes/Yes

2FA – two factor authentication

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

No

No

Yes

No

E2E encryption chat-call/group/conference

Yes/No/No

Yes, secret conversations/No/No

Yes/Yes/Yes

Yes/No/No

Yes/No/No

No, secret chats only/No/No

Yes/Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes/Not available

Yes/Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes, private groups/Yes, via Jitsi

TOFU

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

No, secret chats only

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Yes, only the first device

Perfect Forward Secrecy

Yes

Yes, secret conversations only

No

No

Yes

Yes, secret chats only

Yes

Yes, self-destructing messages only

Yes

Yes

Yes

Server federation

No

No

No

No

No

No

No

No

No

Yes, paid version

Yes

Business model

User data, advertising

User data, advertising

User data

User data, advertising

User data, advertising

Donations

User data, paid features

User data, paid features

Foundation

Paid features

Paid features

Advertising, tracking and profiling

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

No

No

No

 

Note: a good comparison in term of security and privacy features of the most commonly used communication services or applications.

Image6

Figure 13: The most widely used communication applications Monthly Average Users (MAU), 2018. Source

Video conferencing applications

Feature

Project

Messenger

Hangouts-Meet

Skype-Teams

Zoom

Telegram

Mega

Wire

NextCloud Talk

BigBlueButton

Jitsi

Developer

Facebook

Google

Microsoft

Zoom

Telegram

Mega

Wire

NextCloud

BigBlueButton

Community/8x8

Open source

No

No

No

No

Partially

Partially

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Architecture

Centralized

Centralized

Centralized

Centralized

Centralized

Centralized

Centralized/decentralized

Decentralized/centralized

Decentralized/centralized

Decentralized/centralized

Infrastructure jurisdiction

USA

USA

USA

USA

Netherlands/USA/Singapore

New Zealand

Switzerland/local

Local/service provider server venue

Local/service provider server venue

Local/service provider server venue

Web/Android/iOS/PC

Yes/Yes/Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes/Yes/No

Yes/Yes/Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes/Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes/Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes/Yes/No

Yes/Yes/Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes/Yes/Yes

Yes/No/No/No

Yes/Yes/Yes/No

Maximum users (conference/chat)

50/250

Hangouts 25/25

Meet 100/100 conference only 60 minutes, 250/100000 paid version only

Skype 50/50

Teams 1000/20000, conference paid version only

100/100 conference only 40 minutes, 1000/1000 paid version

1000/200000

20/500

12/500

Local installation 10/100

High performance installation

50/500

150/150

100/100

Video codec support

VP8

VP8/VP9

H.264

H.264

VP8/VP9

VP8/VP9

VP8

VP8/VP9

VP8/H.264

VP8/VP9/H.264

Audio codec support

Opus/ISAC

Opus

Skype SILK

Teams Satin/SILK

Opus/SILK

Opus

Opus

Opus

Opus

Opus

Opus

Camera-Screen/Audio sharing

1/No

Hangouts/Meet 1/Yes, PC only

Skype/Teams 1/Yes, PC only

2/Yes, PC only

2/Yes

1/No

1/No

1/No

2/Yes, PC only

1/Yes, PC only

Application integration

No

Yes, Google docs and other paid version

Skype No

Teams Yes, Microsoft office and other paid version

Yes, Moodle and other

No

Yes, Mega cloud

Yes, paid version

Yes, NextCloud

Yes, Moodle, Wordpress and other

Yes, EtherPad, Moodle

E2E encryption conference/chat

No/No

No/No

No/No

Yes/Yes, optional

No/No, secret chats only

Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes

No/No

Yes/Yes

2FA – two factor authentication

Yes

Yes

Skype Yes

Teams No, paid version only

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No, user not necessary

Anonymous registration /username

Yes, email/Yes

Yes, email/Yes

Yes, email/Yes

Yes, email/Yes

No/Yes

Yes, email/Yes

Yes, email/Yes

Yes, email/Yes

Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes

On-premises installation

No

No

No

No

No

No

Yes, paid version

No

Yes

Yes

Business model

User data, advertising

User data, advertising, padi features

User data, advertising, padi features

User data, advertising, padi features

Donations

User data, paid features

Paid features

Paid features

Donations

Paid features

Advertising, tracking and profiling

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

No

No

No

 

 

Image16Figure 14 Unless one day you want to see all your data (messages, photos, videos, etc.) publicly available on the Web, you should delete WhatsApp from your phone. Source

Email services and applications

Feature

Project

Gmail

Outlook

Mailfence

Mailvelope

CTemplar

Tutanota

Protonmail

Mail-in-to-box

Developer

Google

Microsoft

Mailfence

Community

CTemplar

Tutanota

Protonmail

Community

Open source

No

No

No

Yes

Partially

Partially

Partially

Yes

Architecture

Centralized

Centralized

Centralized

Centralized/decentralized

Centralized

Centralized

Centralized

Decentralized

Infrastructure jurisdiction

USA

USA

Belgium

Service provider server venue

Iceland

Germany

Switzerland

Local

Anonymous payment method

No

No

Paid, Bitcoin, email required

Donations and paid, Bitcoin, email required

Donations and paid, Bitcoin, Monero

Donations and paid, Bitcoin, email required

Donations and paid, Bitcoin, cash, email required

Not necessary

E-mail application support

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

No

Yes, via ProtonMail Bridge paid version

No

Size (attachments/mailbox)

25 MB/15 GB

20 MB/15 GB

50 MB/0.5 GB, 5 GB paid version

Service provider limits

10 MB/1 GB, 50 MB/50 GB paid version

25 MB/1 GB, 1000 GB paid version

20 MB/0.5 GB, 20 GB paid version

Unlimited (local storage)

Safe attachments/self-destructing messages

No/

No/No

No/No

Yes/Yes, depends on the service provider

Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes

Yes/No

E2E encryption

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

2FA – two factor authentication

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes, depends on the service provider

Yes

Yes

Yes

Not necessary

Business model

User data, advertising

User data, advertising

Paid features

Donations, paid features

Donations, paid features

Donations, paid features

Donations, paid features

Donations

Advertising, tracking and profiling

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

No

No

No

 

The following e-mail services are respectful of user privacy and some of them provide innovative features:

Note: Gmail, Outlook have a business model based on advertising and require user data as payment for services. In addition, messages can be read by service providers as the encryption keys are saved on the server. A simple way to secure these services is to use a browser like Firefox with the Mailvelope add on or an email client like Thunderbird. Both solutions add end-to-end encryption and make message content unreadable to service providers.

 

Multi user email applications

Feature

Project

Gmail

Outlook

Yahoo Mail

BlueMail

K9-mail

Thunderbird

Claws Mail

Developer

Google

Microsoft

Yahoo

BlueMail

Community

Mozilla

Community

Open source

No

No

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Multi platform

Android/iOS

Android/iOS-Windows/macOS

Android/iOS

Android/iOS-Windows/macOS

Android

GNU/Linux/Windows/macOS

GNU/Linux/Windows

Multi user support

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Support for encryption/digital signatures

No/No

Yes/Yes

No/No

No/No

Yes/Yes, via OpenKeychain

Yes/Yes, via Enigmail

Yes/Yes, via GNUPG

IMAP/POP3/exchange support

Yes/Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes/No

Yes/Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes/Yes, via ExQuilla

Yes/Yes/No

Additional components

No

No

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Business model

User data, advertising

User data, advertising

User data, advertising

Paid features

Donations

Donations

Donations

Advertising, tracking and profiling

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

No

 

 

Cloud storage and data sharing services and applications

Feature

Project

Google Drive

OneDrive

iCloud

Dropbox

Mega

Keybase

Cryptomator

NextCloud

OwnCloud

Syncthing

Developer

Google

Microsoft

Apple

Dropbox

Mega

Zoom

Cryptomator

NextCloud

OwnCloud

Community

Open source

No

No

No

Partially

Partially

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Architecture

Centralized

Centralized

Centralized

Centralized

Centralized

Centralized

Centralized/decentralized

Decentralized/centralized

Decentralized/centralized

Decentralized

Infrastructure jurisdiction

USA

USA

USA

USA

New Zealand

USA

Service provider server venue

Local/service provider server venue

Local/service provider server venue

Local

Web/Android/iOS/PC

Yes/Yes/Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes/Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes/Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes/Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes/Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes/Yes/Yes

No/Yes/Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes/Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes/Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes/Yes, via Möbius Sync/Yes

Storage size

15 GB/paid version up to 2 TB

5 GB/paid version up to 1 TB

5 GB/paid version up to 2 TB

2 GB/paid version up to 3 TB

20 GB/paid version up to 16 TB

250 GB

Service provider limits

Unlimited (local storage)/service provider limits

Unlimited (local storage/service provider limits

Unlimited (local storage)

Synchronisation/versioning

Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes

Yes/No

Depends on the service provider

Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes

E2E encryption

No

No

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

2FA – two factor authentication

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes, manual

Business model

User data, advertising, paid features

User data, advertising, paid features

User data, advertising, paid features

User data, advertising, paid features

User data, paid features

User data, paid features

Donations

Paid features

Donations, paid features

Donations

Advertising, tracking and profiling

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

 

No

No

No

 

 

File sharing services and applications

Feature

Project

WeTransfer

pCloudTransfer

Sendanywhere

Disroot Lufi

Send

WebTorrent

OnionShare

Developer

WeTransfer

pCloud

Estmob

Disroot

Community

WebTorrent

Community

Open source

No

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Architecture

Centralized

Centralized

Centralized

Centralized

Centralized

Decentralized

Decentralized

Infrastructure jurisdiction

USA

USA

USA

Holland

Holland

Local

Local

Web/Android/iOS/PC

Yes/No/No/No

Yes/No/No/No

Yes/Yes/Yes/Yes

Yes/No/No/No

Yes/No/No/No

No/No/No/Yes

No/No/No/Yes

File size

2 GB/20 GB paid version

5 GB

10 GB/50 GB paid version

2 GB

10 GB

Unlimited (local storage)

Unlimited (local storage)

Sharing duration

7 days/configurable paid version

7 days

Up to 48 hours/configurable paid version

Up to 30 days

Up to 7 days

Unlimited

Unlimited

Persistent connection required

No

No

No

No

No

Yes, during sharing

Yes, during sharing

E2E encryption

No, only paid version

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Secure connection protocol

HTTPS/TLS

HTTPS/TLS

HTTPS/TLS

HTTPS/TLS

HTTPS/TLS

WebRTC/TLS

Onion routing network

Business model

User data, advertising, paid features

User data, advertising, paid features

Advertising, paid features

Donations

Donations

Donations

Donations

Advertising, tracking and profiling

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

No

 

 

Secure connection services (VPN, TOR, I2P)

Feature

Project

NordVPN

ExpressVPN

IVPN

ProtonVPN

Mullvad

TOR

I2P

Developer

NordVPN

ExpressVPN

IVPN

Protonmail

Mullvad

TOR project

Community

Open source

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Architecture

Centralized

Centralized

Centralized

Centralized

Centralized

Decentralized

Decentralized

Infrastructure jurisdiction

Panama

British Virgin Inslands

Gibraltar

Switzerland

Sweden

World

World

Number of devices

Paid up to 6

Paid up to 3

Paid up to 7

1 gratis/paid up to 10

Paid up to 5

Unlimited

Unlimited

Anonymous payment method

Bitcoin, Ether, Ripple, email required

Bitcoin, email required

Bitcoin

Bitcoin, email required

Bitcoin, BitcoinCash

Free, Bitcoin, Monero, Ethereum, Litecoin donations

Free, Bitcoin, Monero, Ethereum, Litecoin donations

Log traffic/DNS/IP/timestamp

No/No/No/No

No/No/No/No

No/No/No/No

No/No/No/No

No/No/No/No

No/No/No/No

No/No/No/No

Traffic encryption

AES256-ChaCha20

AES256

AES256-ChaCha20

AES256

AES256-ChaCha20

AES256

AES256

Secure connection protocol

OpenVPN/IPSec-IKEv2/Wireguard

OpenVPN/IPSec-IKEv2

OpenVPN/WireGuard

OpenVPN/IPSec-IKEv2/Wireguard

OpenVPN/WireGuard

Onion routing network

Garlic routing network

Kill switch/anti DNS leak

Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes

No/Yes

No/Yes, DNS not used

P2P traffic/unlimited bandwidth

Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes, paid version

Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes, low speed

Yes/Yes, low speed

Independently audited

Yes, log traffic only

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Perfect Forward Secrecy

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

TOR/multi server encryption support

Yes/Yes

Yes/No

No/Yes

Yes/Yes

No/Yes

Yes/Yes, onion routing

Yes/Yes, garlic routing

DPI protection

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Malware and ads protection

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

Encrypted/clear traffic split

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

No

No

No

Port forwarding

No

Yes

Yes, openVPN only

No

Yes

No

No

Business model

Paid features

Paid features

Paid features

Donations, paid features

Paid features

Donations

Donations

 

Image12Figure 15 The surface Web (classical Internet), the Deep Web (restricted Internet) and the Dark Web (anonymous Internet). The Onion Router (TOR). Source

Resolver services DNS

Feature

Project

Google DNS

OpenDNS

Cloudflare

CleanBrowsing DNS

Quad9

OpenNIC

Blockchain DNS

Provider

Google

Cisco

Cloudflare

CleanBrowsing

ClearDNS

Community

Community

Open source

No

No

No

No

No

Yes

Yes

Architecture

Centralized

Centralized

Centralized/decentralized

Centralized

Centralized

Decentralized

Decentralized

Infrastructure jurisdiction

USA

USA

USA

USA

Switzerland

World

World

DNS over TLS (DoT)

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

DNS over HTTPS (DoH)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

DNScrypt

No

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

DNSSEC

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Alternative TLD

No

No

.crypto, .zil

No

No

Yes

.bit, .lib, .emc, .coin, .bazar OpenNIC

IPv4 address

8.8.8.8

8.8.4.4

208.67.222.222

208.67.220.220

1.1.1.1

1.0.0.1

185.228.168.9

185.228.169.9

9.9.9.9

149.112.112.112

192.71.245.208

31.171.251.118

Automatic Firefox/Brave/Chrome

Performance

High

High

High

High

High

High

Average

Content filter

No

Yes, optional (family)

Yes, optional (adults, malware)

Yes, optional (family, adults, malware)

Yes, optional (malware)

No

No

Anti-censorship

No

No

Partial

No

No

Yes

Yes

DNS Hijacking/Logging

No/Yes

No/Yes

No/Yes

No/Minimum

No/Minimum

No/No

No/No

Business model

Users data, paid features

Users data, paid features

Users data, paid features

Paid features

Donations

Donations

Donations

Advertising, tracking and profiling

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

No

DNS protocols and operating systems compatibility

Protocol

Operating system

Windows

macOS

iOS

Android Open Source Project (AOSP)

GNU/Linux

OpenWRT

DNS over TLS (DoT)

Unbound, stubby

Unbound, stubby

No

Native Android P 9.0+, Blokada, DNS66

Unbound, stubby

Unbound, stubby

DNS over HTTPS (DoH)

dnscrypt-proxyV2

dnscrypt-proxyV2

DNSCloak

Dnscrypt-proxyV2, DNS66, Daedalus

dnscrypt-proxyV2

dnscrypt-proxyV2

DNScrypt

dnscrypt-proxyV2

dnscrypt-proxyV2

DNSCloak

Dnscrypt-proxyV2, DNS66, Daedalus

dnscrypt-proxyV2

dnscrypt-proxyV2

Blockchain DNS

Firefox, Brave, Chrome

Firefox, Brave, Chrome

No

Firefox

Firefox, Brave, Chrome

No

 

 

Note: a secure connection via VPN, automatically changes the DNS resolver.

Map services and applications

Feature

Project

Google Maps

Apple Maps

Bing maps

Maps.me

Waze

Here WeGo

OsmAnd

OpenStreeMap

Developer

Google

Apple

Microsoft

Mail.ru

Google

Here

Community

Community

Open source

No

No

No

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

Web/Android/iOS/Tizen

Yes/Yes/Yes/Yes

No/No/Yes/No

Yes/No/No/No

Yes/Yes/Yes/No

Yes/Yes/Yes/No

Yes/Yes/Yes/Yes

No/Yes/Yes/No

Yes/Yes/Yes/No via OsmAnd/OsmAnd+

Maps

Google

TomTom

Bing, Here

OpenStreeMap

Waze

Here

OpenStreeMap

OpenStreeMap

Real time traffic

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes, via OsmAnd+

Autovelox/Speed limits

No/No

No/Yes

No/Yes

No/No

Yes/Yes

No/No

No/Yes

No/Yes, via OsmAnd+

3D maps

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

No

Yes, via Marble

Preloaded maps (offline)

Yes, expiry 15 days

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Points of interest

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Route registration

Yes

No

No

No

Yes

No

Yes

No

Sharing and collaboration

No

No

No

No

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Additional components

No

Yes

No

No

No

No

Yes

Yes, no third parts

Business model

Users data, advertising

Users data, advertising

Users data, advertising

Users data, advertising, paid features

Users data, paid features

Users data, paid features

Donations, paid features

OSMF foundation, donations

Advertising, tracking and profiling

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

 

 

Translator services and applications

Feature

Project

Google translate

Microsoft Bing translator

DeepL

Apertium

Developer

Google

Microsoft

DeepL, Linguee

Apertium

Open source

No

No

No

 

Quality/quantity of languages

High/High

High/High

Maximum/Low

Average/Average

Dictionary

 

 

Linguee

 

Web/Android/iOS/PC

Yes/Yes/Yes/No

Yes/Yes/Yes/Yes, Windows only

Yes/Yes, via DeepL/No/Yes, Windows and macOS only

Yes/Yes/No/Yes

Additional components

Firefox, Chrome integrated

Firefox, Edge, Outlook

Firefox/Brave/Chrome

No

Translation limit

5000 characters, unlimited paid version

5000 characters, unlimited paid version

5000 characters, unlimited paid version

No

Preloaded languages (offline)

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Document translation

Yes, format (.doc, .docx, .txt)

Yes, format (.pptx)

Yes, format (.docx, .pptx, .txt)

Yes, format (.odt, .ods, .odp, .docx, .xlsx, .pptx, .txt)

Website translation

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Translation of conversations

Yes

Yes

No

No

Confidential translation

No

No

No, paid version only

Yes

Business model

Advertising, users data, paid features

Advertising, users data, paid features

Users data, paid features

Donations

Advertising, tracking and profiling

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

 

 

Calendar services and applications

Feature

Project

Google calendar

Outlook

Outlook.com

iCloud Calendar

Thunderbird

ProtonMail

NextCloud

Developer

Google

Microsoft

Microsoft

Apple

Mozilla

Protonmail

NextCloud

Open source

No

No

No

No

Yes

Partially

Yes

Architecture

Centralized

Centralized

Centralized

Centralized

Centralized

Centralized

Decentralized/centralized

Infrastructure jurisdiction

USA

USA

USA

USA

Service provider server venue

Switzerland

Local/service provider server venue

Web/Android/iOS/PC

Yes/Yes/Yes/No

No/Yes/Yes/Yes, Windows and macOS only

Yes/Yes/Yes/Yes, Windows only

Yes/No, via DAVx5 or Google calendar/Yes/Yes, Windows and macOS only

No/No/No/Yes

Yes/Yes/Yes/No

Yes/Yes, via DAVx5+Etar/Yes, via native application/Yes

Reminders/notifications support

Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes

Third-party calendars support

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

WebDAV/CalDAV support

Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes, via CalDavSynchronizer

No/No

Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes, via Lightning Calendar

Yes/Yes, via ProtonMail Bridge paid feature

Yes/Yes

Business model

Advertising, users data, paid features

Advertising, users data, paid features

Advertising, users data, paid features

Advertising, users data

Donations

Donations, paid features

Paid features

Advertising, tracking and profiling

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

 

 

Contacts services and applications

Feature

Project

Google contacts

Outlook

Outlook.com

iCloud contacts

Thunderbird

ProtonMail

NextCloud

Developer

Google

Microsoft

Microsoft

Apple

Mozilla

Protonmail

NextCloud

Open source

No

No

No

No

Yes

Partially

Yes

Architecture

Centralized

Centralized

Centralized

Centralized

Centralized

Centralized

Decentralized/centralized

Infrastructure jurisdiction

USA

USA

USA

USA

Service provider server venue

Switzerland

Local/service provider server venue

Web/Android/iOS/PC

Yes/Yes/Yes/No

No/Yes/Yes/Yes, Windows and macOS only

Yes/Yes/Yes/Yes, Windows only

Yes/Yes, via Sync iCloud/Yes/Yes, Windows and macOS only

No/No/No/Yes

Yes/Yes/Yes/No

Yes/Yes, via DAVx5 and native application/Yes, via native application/Yes

Categories/groups support

Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes

Duplicates merge support

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes, native and via

DuplicateContactsManager

Yes

Yes

Import/export formats (.csv, .vcf) support

Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes

No/Yes

WebDAV/CardDAV support

Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes, via OpenProtocolsConnector

No/No

Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes, via CardBook

Yes/Yes, via ProtonMail Bridge paid feature

Yes/Yes

Business model

Advertising, users data, paid features

Advertising, users data, paid features

Advertising, users data, paid features

Advertising, users data

Donations

Donations, paid features

Paid features

Advertising, tracking and profiling

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

 

 

Digital notepad services and applications

Feature

Project

Google keep

OneNote

Note

Evernote

Disroot Etherpad

Joplin

Standard Notes

Developer

Google

Microsoft

Apple

Evernote

Disroot

Community

Standard Notes

Open source

No

No

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Architecture

Centralized

Centralized

Centralized

Centralized

Centralized

Decentralized/centralized

Decentralized/centralized

Infrastructure jurisdiction

USA

USA

USA

USA

Holland

Local/backup service venue

Local/backup service venue

Web/Android/iOS/PC

Yes/Yes/Yes/No

Yes/Yes/Yes/Yes, only Windows

Yes/No/Yes/Yes, only mac OS

Yes/Yes/Yes/Yes, only Windows and mac OS

Yes/No/No/No

Yes/Yes/Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes/Yes/Yes

Storage size

15 GB/paid version up to 30 TB

5 GB/paid version up to 5 TB

5 GB/paid version up to 2 TB

50 MB/paid version up to 10 GB

Unlimited

Unlimited (local storage)/backup service limits

Unlimited (local storage)/backup service limits

Synchronization

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes, 2 devices/unlimited paid version

Yes

Yes

Yes

Versioning/markdown support

No/Yes, only Web via plugin

Yes/Yes, only Web via plugin

No/Yes, only Web via plugin

Yes, paid version/Yes, only Web via plugin

Yes/Yes

Yes/Yes

Yes, paid version/Yes

Sharing and collaboration

Yes, paid version

Yes, paid version

Yes

Yes, paid version

Yes

No

No

Offline access

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes, only PC/Yes, paid version

No

Yes

Yes

E2E encryption

No

Yes

Yes

Yes, only Windows and mac OS

No

Yes

Yes

2FA – two factor authentication

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes, paid version

Business model

User data, advertising, paid features

User data, advertising, paid features

User data, paid features

User data, advertising, paid features

Donations

Donations

Donations, paid version

Advertising, tracking and profiling

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

 

 

Virtual assistant services and applications

Feature

Project

Google Assistant

Siri

Cortana

Alexa

Bixby

Home Assistant

Mycroft

Developer

Google

Apple

Microsoft

Amazon

Samsung

Community

Mycroft

Open source

No

No

No

No

No

Yes

Yes

Android/iOS/PC

Yes/Yes/Yes, Chrome OS only