Privacy respecting software ideas

We have many privacy respecting software and hardware. Some of these make a great job and us privacy aware folk can immediately start using them without hesitation ( duckduckgo, purism and protonmail are example to these in my opinion).

Then there are some which are good but requires know-how and time such as bigbluebutton.

Lastly there is what I call the black area. The area where we do not have any privacy respecting alternatives. I guess dating apps/sites are an example to these that I can think of. We do not have any privacy respecting alternative to these.

I like to do a virtual brainstorming with you all. What privacy respecting software does the humanity need that either does not exist at all or doesn’t do a enough/complete job.

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Dating Apps

Dating apps are definitely a big one. But that will be challenging since any person with some programming knowledge can easily create a fake account and make a bot find everybody there. So even if the authors don’t spy on people others will likely. (There may be ways around this but I guess some form of verification - which may be itself privacy invasive).

Perhaps the best approach there would be to make it acceptable to have fake names, but then it introduces physical security problems - where one might be afraid of a stranger.

The best privacy alternative to this are offline speed-dating events, I guess.

Personal Assistants

The ones that are ““privacy””-friendly are pretty bad.

Privacy-respecting Smart Cities

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The most frustrating application for me is the web browser. I have tried Tor and Firefox with the uMatrix extension, and/or the NoScript extension, but lots of sites would be broken and I would have to explicitly allow some resources, which got annoying pretty quickly. I was happy with Cliqz, to the extent that I could trust it was doing what it promised (some clever tricks to keep users anonymous by changing the values sent back to web sites, rather than trying to stop specific trackers), but it was discontinued due to Covid.

I’m currently using Brave, and I’m happy with the experience so far, although I’ve seen some criticisms (the attention tokens and something about them changing URLs to get referrals in cryptocurrencies, I don’t remember the details), and I don’t know if I can trust it in the long run.

My ideal browser would be free software, not dependent on big companies (like Firefox with Google) or venture capital and it would automatically avoid trackers without breaking sites (bonus points if it automatically answers “No” to all cookie consent forms, as Cliqz did). I would pay for a browser like that, but unfortunately I don’t see a market, since they are all “free”.

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If the app doesn’t store any of that data, even using verification could be tolerable.

that did not stop craigslist users :smiley: Jokes aside, in my opinion every dating app have physical security problems. Individuals must be cautious regardless of a verification system.

I guess you mean things like Google Calander. Never checked alternatives bc I use the old fashioned pen and pepper for that. But now that I think about it, I also would have enjoyed a privacy respecting app for that.

Hahahah where to start though. So many things need to be fixed such as surveillance cameras.

And I would also add Privacy-respecting Smart Homes

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As you said they are all free, I doubt a subscription based browser would ever fly now that the web browsers became synonymous with “free”. I am sure many people would be shocked to hear most browsers are owned by companies that are trying to make profit. This is exactly why start-up consultants always tell their trainees that if they give their product for free at the beginning, they may never be able to change their model. There one day may be a browser that charges you monthly and dont try to make money on ads but i truly doubt it will survive in the long run.

Yes i also heard about the same criticism. Brave has been a favourite of mine for over 2 years now. I still trust them. I think people sometimes forget that the team behind Brave needs to eat, pay bills and what not. And in my personal view, they should even be able to become the next unicorn. I observe that some people within the privacy and open source community is allergic to any type of monetization. I rather see a tech company with privacy respecting product swim in dolla dolla bills than an average for profit company that does not even attempt to look slightly ethical or privacy aware.

To wrap it up, I think web browsers are something we have been lucky with when it comes to privacy. I dont blame you for wanting something that is even better. But considering how deprived we are in other areas, a browser wont be my first wish if a genie appeared out of a bottle :smiley:

I’m fine with companies making money, the problem is the ethics and sustainability of the business model. If venture capital is involved, there will usually be an exit strategy that often involves growing quickly and selling to a surveillance capitalist. If the product is free, the prevalent business model is to exploit users’ data, behavior and free will. If a company can survive without doing any of that, great. Ads are fine if they are ethical. Cliqz was criticized for being bankrolled by Burda, which was ok with me, but they didn’t survive. I don’t know if Brave is sustainable, and if it will be in the long run. If it does and is ethical, I’m mostly fine with what they are doing.

I do have a general concern with the way Brave works. I think it’s good that Brave Rewards are opt-in, and I’m fortunate enough that I don’t have to care, but I wouldn’t like to create a future where poor people are compelled to sell their privacy and those who are better off can protect it. It’s a hard problem, the only solution I can think of is Aral Balkan’s suggestion of having essential software funded by taxes. That’s controversial and creates different problems (e.g. independence from the State) but it’s something to consider.

I think I care about the browser because it’s practically the only thing I use :slight_smile: I check my RSS feeds (with TinyTinyRSS), my e-mail, I have my calendars and tasks in OwnCloud… Communication is a problem, but Jitsi and free chat alternatives work for me, the problem is getting people to use them instead of Hangouts, Zoom, Slack, etc. Other than that, browsing is the only thing I do.

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