More than ever, we live our lives online. While this has brought us a whole heap of benefits, more and more, information you share about yourself online takes on a life of its own. Lots of companies and governments are trying to learn about you through the data and information you share using your digital devices - whether it’s where you are, what you’re doing, who you talk to, or how you’re feeling.
Whether you’re a consumer, citizen or even an entrepreneur, this information can be used to inform a whole host of things; it could be to make money through advertising or tailoring products and services, or to influence your behaviour. Bits of Freedom is there to help protect freedom and privacy online, and show you how you can gain control over your data.
Fundamentally, digital rights are human rights and we shouldn’t let our speech be in the hands of large multinational companies that don’t have our interests at heart.
By providing easy and simple advice on how to protect your data from companies who may not have your best interests at heart, we help to keep your data private. We aim to protect the information you share online from people or organisations that want to use it for their own purposes.
Collaboration with Lush With the help of cosmetics company Lush, Bits of Freedom is raising awareness of data privacy and ethics during The Next Web. “We believe it is important to create a better understanding of our digital rights and wrongs in order to make choices that are aligned with our value system,” explains Alice Dorrington, digital ethics coordinator at Lush. “That is why it is critical that the esteemed digitally-minded audience at TNW are presented with the facts needed to decide for themselves on the ways in which they engage with technology.”
You are in controlBusinesses and consumers alike have the power to say ‘no’ to data addiction. As awareness of data mining practices increases, people are more and more appreciative of companies that don’t partake in the surveillance craze. Understandably, they don’t want each company they have ever researched or purchased from to have a dossier on them – in most cases they don’t want that information to be passed on or sold using cookies and trackers. Increasingly, entrepreneurs are fed up with being dependent on big platforms. While privacy-unfriendly companies such as Facebook and Google would prefer you turn over your customers to them completely, we offer tips to become less dependent on these companies.
The tools you needNowadays anyone can set up their own site. However, the ease and simplicity of setting up your own personal or business site often means you don’t have an overview of how you\'re tracking people and who\'s benefiting. Ask your website administrator to give you an overview and delete trackers that don’t serve the user. Find some tips on how to keep your site and content as private as possible below:
Choose an alternative that does not share everything with Google, such as Matomo.
An add-on like uBlock Origin can show you how much you are being tracked on any given website and block the tracking
Use a privacy-friendly search engine like Startpage.com
Using Google Chrome? Switch to the faster and more privacy friendly Brave browser
For internal communications within your company, choose open source/free software. This is a good way to ensure your and your customers\' interests come first.
You could use Nextcloud as an alternative to iCloud or Google Drive
LibreOffice is an alternative to Word.
Mattermost is a great open-source replacement for Slack
Signal is a more privacy-friendly alternative to WhatsApp