Alireza Hayati

Avoid

Please avoid using Amazon, Airbnb, Apple, Discord, Evernote, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Lyft, Netflix, Skype, Spotify and Twitter for your privacy. These platforms and services collect data or share your personal information with third-parties. Your privacy is important and they shouldn’t ask/collect any information without asking you for your permission.

This list is not complete or exclusive.

There are many alternatives to use. Free Software Foundation, Open Source Initiative, GNU Operating System, Mozilla Foundation, Tor Project, and a lot of other services are available for replacement.

For support recommendations please visit /support.

Why I Don’t Use Them

I care about privacy. Most of software I don’t use are violating people’s privacy. I believe you should be able to control your own data. Some of services (like Google) violate people’s privacy and right to stay anonymous.

Amazon

I don’t use Amazon because Amazon requires me to provide information but does not keep them safe. Amazon tracks users and stores data. For example, when you’re reading a book on Amazon Kindle, Amazon will know how many pages you read and which books do you have.

Amazon also is able to watch and listen to you (when it wants to) by Amazon Smart Television.

Airbnb

Airbnb rejects users without a Google or Facebook account and also it shares data with these companies. Airbnb lets Facebook control some data, for example, If you use Facebook as a login system, you can’t be able to book a room from a Facebook friend.

Apple

Apple collects data without prior notice and uses these data to create custom advertisements or some services like custom playlists in Apple Music. Apple won’t let you to download your data or use you computer in a way you like. Apple tracks users and even worse, keeps your location data.

Discord

The program reportedly collects lots of data about users. The developer denies the claim that Discord reports which processes are running on the user’s machine. I have no way of determining the facts about this specific point. Whether it collects those particular data is a minor detail; I mention it only to avoid appearing to assert a criticism that might not be true.

Evernote

Evernote can read the contents of users’ notes under various circumstances, and the notes can be subpoena’d from Evernote without the user’s having a chance to object. We know this from Evernote’s statement that it planned to start reading customer’s notes from time to time. Evernote cancelled those plans in response to objections from customers, but that doesn’t alter the fact that the state can subpoena from them from Evernote.

Facebook

I don’t use Facebook because Facebook collects and stores data and requires real name and information. Facebook tracks people and is not a safe place. Facebook stores a lot of information and tries to collect any information possible. Facebook owns some other apps like Whatsapp which is dangerous because they may be able to read your messages or violate your privacy.

Google

Please read my weblog post “Why I Don’t Use Google Anymore”.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn makes it “near impossible” to sign up without giving the company your address book. Perhaps this is effective only for users of the most common email services, but that doesn’t make it any less nasty.

LinkedIn claims to own every user’s profile, and puts self-serving restrictions on what information users can put in the profile. Not to mention the dangerous indemnity requirement. Ignore the weak ending that advises people not to stand on principle. We can strengthen others, and strengthen principle, by encouraging them to take a stand on principle (and setting examples ourselves).

Lyft

The app demands access to lots of personal data and Lyft shares data with third-parties.

Netflix

Netflix is a surveillance system: it demands customers identify themselves to pay, and thus records what each person watches.

Skype

Skype refuses to say whether it can eavesdrop on calls. That almost certainly means it can do so. Microsoft has changed Skype to make it easier for states to snoop on users. Skype gave personal data about a Wikileaks supporter to another company without any legal obligation to do so. Skype churns the meaning of preference settings, and gives its users a run-around when someone cheats them. Microsoft says that messages and file transfers are encrypted end-to-end, but since the software is nonfree, you cannot rely on that to be true.

Spotify

Spotify can tell whether users are happy or sad, based on what they listen to. It will use that data to manipulate them. The data will sooner or later be combined with other personal data, to control people according to the corporate will.

Twitter

Twitter had started to require users to prove identity in some way if they connect through Tor. Twitter makes it impossible to create an account without providing a mobile phone number. Roy Schestowitz reports being censored (“shadowbanned”) by Twitter for posting about Twitter censorship.