Try These Ethical Alternatives to Popular Apps

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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.

Check it out!

GDPR Might Make the Internet Better by Eliminating Shady Businesses

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Now that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is in effect companies are reacting. You may have noticed new messages on websites outlining that they are collecting information on you, or maybe you’ve received emails updating you on new privacy policies. Those notices are a result of the GDPR’s rules around how companies spy on you and use your data for profit. What GDPR is doing in practice is eliminating the business models of some corporations and we might all benefit from these sketchy companies going kaput.

For companies whose entire business model was users not really understanding the entire business model, the cost of direct sunlight may just be too high. Unroll.me, a company that offers to automatically declutter your in-box (while, uh, selling the insight it gleans from your data to companies like Uber), announced that it will no longer serve E.U. customers.

If enough companies follow this lead, one practical effect might be a split internet, with one set of GDPR-compliant websites and services for the E.U. and another set with a somewhat more, let’s say, relaxed attitude toward data for the rest of the world. But even a loosely enforced GDPR creates conditions for improving privacy protections beyond Europe. Facebook, for example, has already said it will extend GDPR-level protections to all of its users — if they opt in to them.

Read more.

Even Massive Multinationals Support Net Neutrality

Net neutrality is what allows the internet to be what it is, and without it the internet would be pretty much useless. The Trump administration is presently trying to eliminate net neutrality to protect the profits of a very small group of companies. It’s worth noting that the Obama administration also tried this but didn’t go ahead with it

Without net neutrality the internet will undoubtedly suck, for a look at what that will be like check out this article. Net neutrality is awful for individual freedom and it’s also quite awful for profits, which is why today many popular websites and services are speaking out. For example, Netflix will basically be banned for some people and thus will lose their subscriber base.

If you’re an American then you ought to call your local representatives and talk to anybody who will listen about this issue. Today is the day of action. The repeal of net neutrality is censorship under a different name.

Sites across the web will display alerts on their homepages showing “blocked,” “upgrade,” and “spinning wheel of death” pop-ups to demonstrate what the internet would look like without net neutrality, according to advocacy group Battle for the Net. But most of the pop-ups The Verge has seen have been simple banners or static text with links offering more information.

Netflix, Spotify, and Airbnb have all placed banners at the top of their home pages, while Vimeo has an explainer video and graphics made available for download. Other websites, including Facebook and Amazon are participating, but haven’t yet disclosed what form their protests will take. Apple is not on the list of participants.

Read more.

The Web Makes You Humble, Not Stupid

In the early years of the internet people worried that it would make people stupid and people would sit around not contributing to society. It turns out that the internet is not as bad as TV. Indeed, the web may make us more humble and help us realize our own ignorance.

One possibility is that the internet actually makes us more humble. “We suggested that people might be engaging in a sort of social comparison between themselves and the internet,” Amanda Ferguson, one of the study’s authors, writes me in an email. “This would reduce their ‘feeling-of-knowing’ the answer (since they’re comparing themselves to the all-knowing internet), and ultimately lead them to answer fewer questions.”

Read more.

Amplifyd: A Platform to Stop Corporations from Doing Evil

Amplifyd Pledges – How It Works from Amplifyd on Vimeo.

Amplifyd is a new online platform that connects people to empower campaigns that want to stop corporations from doing evil things. The first campaign is focused on getting Starbucks and Peet’s Coffee to serve only organic milk in their stores.

In the future you can use the service in other ways. Is a company tearing down the rainforest or destroying land for precious minerals? Well you can use Amplifyd to get attention on the bad company!

Not all corporations are as overtly dreadful, but regardless, profits rule the day for most corporate organizations.

Amplifyd has launched a new advocacy platform, called Amplifyd Pledges, that gives people the power to take an amplified stand against harmful corporate policies, without even having to get up.

People can take part and amplify their voice by making a pledge to a campaign on the new platform. This works by choosing a dollar amount, then securely saving your credit card info for later. Amplifyd uses the collective pledges everyone makes as the financial carrot to get the corporations to change their policies.

Check out Amplifyd.

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