Large tech companies find ways to make money off of your data without you knowing about it, they might even be sharing personal information about you with governments or advertisers. If that makes you uncomfortable (I hope it does) then you should consider looking for alternatives to mainstream software services and applications. For example you can replace Google with Ecosia or DuckDuckGo.
Thankfully there’s a group that is dedicated to making our tech more ethical and encouraging people to find these ethical solutions in an easy way via one site: ethical.net.
You can join in the conversation about ethical technologies and uses at their forum.
Ethical.net is a collaborative platform for discovering and sharing ethical product alternatives — whether that means purchasing from a social enterprise, thrift shopping, or learning how to fix your old phone instead of buying a new one.
What do we mean by ethical?
We know that “ethical” can mean very different things to different people.
But for us, it’s broadly about pursuing sustainability instead of growth, and putting people above profit.
Be My Eyes is an app designed to help people with low vision to get help from thousands of people around the world. It works by connecting people with vision problems to those with good vision. For example, a blind person might need to know which object is red so they take a picture with their phone and a volunteer using Be My Eyes lets them know. The app has been available on iOS and now Android users can join in on the fun!
The app is free, anonymous, and available 24/7. Anyone can join as a volunteer or end user. There’s no commitment when joining, so for sighted people, this is a great way to make the world better just a few minutes at a time. Its creators report over 270 thousand help sessions, with over 500 thousand sighted users helping 38 thousand blind ones.
eBird is a mobile app that has been around for a few years and used around the world. As a result the app has been used to collect a rich dataset of bird sightings which provides enough data for researchers to have a very accurate understanding of some bird species. You can use the data to see how birds react to ongoing climate change or just to find out what’s migrating through your area.
“eBird data has become so good and so accurate in the Americas that we can track the full life cycle of populations of birds and watch them in real time as they kind of flow over the continents,” said Rondel.
She recommends people who are newer to watching birds also download the Merlin Bird ID app, which guides users through a series of questions to help them figure out which species they are seeing.
Beyond logging their own sightings, the app also helps bird enthusiasts find the birds they want to catch a glimpse of. The app allows users to search a specific bird and pull up maps that show where the birds have been spotted in the past.
Thanks to the bravery of whistleblowers we know that the Five Eyes are monitoring all internet chatter regardless of who’s talking. This is a big concern for people who care about freedom and rights to have personal communication. As a result, Amnesty International put together a review of messaging apps so you can make an educated decision around what app you use. They cover the basics of what apps are available and what concerns there are around messaging security.
Why is end-to-end encryption important?
End-to-end encryption is important because it protects your personal data even as it passes through the company’s servers. It means that the company is not able to decrypt your messages or see the content. It recently emerged that Yahoo allowed US intelligence officials to scan hundreds of millions of YahooMail accounts. This could easily happen with instant messaging too, if it’s not end-to-end encrypted.
Human trafficking is a real problem throughout the globe and sadly it isn’t showing signs of slowing down. An organization, Stop the Traffik, is focused on ending human trafficking and has launched an app to help in that process. The charity has a good history of stopping trafficking (see their chocolate campaign) and this app should help them in their work. The app uses input from people to gather data from around the world then that data will be analyzed to figure out larger patterns and issues in how human trafficking works. That data will then be used to shape policy and future campaigns.
One of the greatest obstacles in disrupting this global crime is the lack of intelligence on the inner workings, the back-stories, the networks, all the factors that build the real time picture of what is taking place. To help to stem the tide there is a strong need for an accurate and analysed global perspective, which can only happen with the coordinated gathering and sharing of data.
We seek to develop a revolutionary culture of sharing.
To have a meaningful impact STOP THE TRAFFIK believes there is a need for a global perspective, which can only happen with the co-ordinated gathering and sharing of data. Because of our established global network and its big data potential, our commitment to building local community resilience brings the possibility to truly disrupt, and STOP THE TRAFFIK.