Whenever a person asks me for a Riseup invitation, I ask them a simple question: “why?” If their answer is “privacy”, I’ll tell them that their privacy practices are more important than the service they use. It doesn’t mean that it’s good to use GMail, it means that if they don’t meet the basic requirements of respect for their privacy, safe tools will not help them.

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It’s needless to say that Big Tech are tracking everything you do. They know what you like, what you dislike, what you need in life, where you come from, where are you going, and many other details. They probably know about you more than you yourself. One of the biggest parts of GMAFIA, is the G, Google.

Google is one of the biggest parts of our lifes. People are depending on Google more than anything. They use Google Search to find stuff, GMail for their email service, they use Googlized Android OS, Google Maps for navigation, Google Drive for cloud storage, and other privacy-violating stuff. This is wrong.

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It’s not a long time that I’ve been using Nextcloud. Before that, I had to host everything locally on encrypted drives. Google Drive (and apps) were available all the time but I didn’t want to use them because not swimming at all is much better than swimming in pool full of shit.

The situation remained the same until I found out about Nextcloud. Nextcloud is a complete solution for people like me who are careful about the software they use and how their privacy is affected.

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Almost all of our Android phones come with a modified Android OS that uses Google services. As you (probably) know, Google is not much of a privacy-respecting company to trust. I personally suggest deGoogled operating systems such as /e/ or LineageOS but if you can’t replace your Android phone OS with such operating systems, you can at least start using free software apps on your phone and get rid of Google.

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When I talk about how Google is violating people’s rights over privacy, some people claim that Google is providing service and in return it gathers information. It’s true, however, Google doesn’t provide service, Google gets service from us. Google made some platforms and apps to collect personal information from you and you’re providing your service (which is your information) to it.

I can’t force anyone to use privacy-focused stuff, even if I could, I wouldn’t. I believe people should at first understand the true value of their freedom and privacy, then choose to use a service. Currently, due to wrong education systems, people are forced to use proprietary and privacy-violating stuff. Our schools are using Microsoft apps and teachers only teach proprietary software.

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UPDATE: I Moved to WordPress

Since few years ago, I’m building my blogs using Jekyll static site generator. Now, after some years, I’m deciding to move to a WordPress blog as I travel a lot and I want to be able to update my blog using different devices. As I explained on some toots, I can’t pay for a service based outside of Iran as my homeland is under heavy sanctions from U.S. and its allies. We can’t even open a bank account outside of Iran.

I don’t want to use a hosting service based in Iran as all of the providers have to follow rules/laws and it can be led to closing my blog if I write something that the government doesn’t like. I’m searching for someone or a foundation that can provide a host that I can install WordPress on and connect my domains to it.

My current website is kindly hosted by amazing Autistici/Inventati and they’re privacy-focused and use free software. It’s important to that the hosting service uses free software and doesn’t violate people’s rights about privacy.

If you’re interested in helping me, please drop me a message.

There’s daily reports about violating people’s privacy during Cornoavirus pandemic and some of these violations are happening because of proprietary apps provided by governments which keep track of people to control them. The idea of government keeping people safe by forcing them to stay home is something I can’t disagree with but governments are not trustworthy and there’s a high risk that they (governments) keep these data/profiles even after pandemic.

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Criticism of violating people’s privacy is not limited to a particular organization or individual. If any service (etc.) violates users’ privacy rights, it should be criticized. Doesn’t matter if it’s libre, proprietary, governmental, or private. People’s privacy should be respected no matter what service you’re providing or how your service is working. If you can’t respect people, change your service and if you can’t change it then stop.

We should all agree that most people in the world don’t know how their private life and privacy is being violated and there’s some people that spread disinformation in support of these services. We should also stop calling these data-hungry companies “services” because what they provide is a platform to steal people’s data and it’s not a service.

We don’t encourage people to stop using Google because we don’t like Google (I mean we don’t like it but it’s not the point), we tell people stop using Google because Google and other similar evil corporations are violating people’s rights (and that’s why we don’t like it). If a free software service tracks people or violates people’s privacy rights in any way, it should be criticized too. We should not have double standards or differentiate between services; specially when it comes to libre services as such services may create a bad impression of free software among users.

I’ve talked about it before many times but as I see this happening again and again, I write it here too. Most of free software services are provided by individuals or small teams/collectives that are generous enough to spend their time and money to help society be more free and secure. We should know that nothing is free; we may not pay for these services but the maintainers are paying to keep their software/serivce up. They pay for servers, domain names, developing costs, and some other stuff.

Some people may not be able to donate or help developing these libre software/services but the thing we can do is to avoid causing more costs for the maintainers. It’s actually pretty simple. Just don’t create an account on a libre service/software if you don’t need it. This can reduce the amount of data that those maintainers should store/handle on their paid server and this can help their service cost less.

I encourage you to share this note (or a similar one) with your friends to help these service providers.

Some countries launched a program to track people who are in danger of getting infected with the new Coronavirus. If you’re in one of these countries, please follow the instructions provided from your local government. Your health situation is much more important. I believe there’s not enough time (now) to come up with an alternative to both track the health situation of people and being securely private.

I’m currently following the news about these programs and we may can force governments to purge data stored from citizens during this tracking program. If you have any information about this applications, please let me, EFF, and FSF know about it.

My contact information is on my contact page.
Contact EFF with details provided on eff.org/about/contact.
Free Software Foundation contact information is available on fsf.org/about/contact.