On the way to your digital independance… ? The road is clear!
De-google-ify Internet offers you the possibility to follow it in several steps.
Discover and use free alternatives (hosted by Framasoft), with the help of our collaborative documentation to learn how they work, how to log in, how to use their fonctions, etc..
If you have the possibility, freely host the same software directly on your school/association/company/organization thanks to our self-hosting tutorial found in the Framacloud.
You can also look for a trustworthy local webhosting service among the KITTENS, Keen Internet Talented Teams Engaged in Network Services!
These services are software, but this software is set up on someone else’s computer (on what’s called "servers"). Using services offered by Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft… ("GAFAM") means giving them your data, the parts of your life that you put on the Internet. So it’s a matter of trust.
This trust has allowed a handful of companies (GAFAM) to centralize data from a huge part of the population, holding a near-monopoly on our digital lives (an oligopoly). The dangers and stakes are threefold: economic, technological, cultural…
Our approach is simple and consists in determining the self-imposed conditions that may justify such trust. We aim to offer alternatives that respect people and diversity while making it impossible to reproduce such monopolies.
In order for you to determine whether you can trust us, we have published an introduction to our Framasoft network (and to the non-profit that supports it), together with our reports and administrative documention under Who are we?
We are a small-scale non-profit (under 40 members, under 10 employees) that has to deal with many different types of requests:
- taking part in various events ;
- answering the press and media ;
- providing assistance with our services ;
- sharing technical experience ;
- providing all types of explanation…
In order to answer you in the most human, personal fashion, we have designed a single page that enables us to find the most suitable person for your particular query as quickly as possible. We promise we’ll do our best, but there are only 24 hours to a day ;).
Like all our actions, our services are not free of charge: they are financed by donations from people who support us through a one off or regular donation. About 90% of Framasoft’s revenues comes from the donation economy and is used to finance:
- our permanent staff’s salaries ;
- servers and technical expenses ;
- travel, flyers and communications ;
- our participation in the world of free software/libre culture, etc.
Framasoft being an association of general interest, a donation of 100€ in France will cost you 34€ after tax exemption. We have set up a unique site to support us, consult our reports (validated by an auditor), and learn more about the donations received.
What is at stake?
In recent years, we have witnessed the widespread corporate concentration of Internet actors (Youtube belonging to Google, WhatsApp to Facebook, Skype to Microsoft, etc.). This centralisation is detrimental, not only because it curbs innovation, but also because it results in a loss of freedom for users, who no longer control their digital existence: their behaviour is continually dissected and analysed so that they can be better targeted by publicity, and their data – which should be private (sites visited, emails exchanged, videos watched, etc.) – can be analysed by government services.
The way that Framasoft would like to deal with this issue is simple: to highlight and provide a Free, Ethical, Decentralised and Solidarity-based alternative to each of these services which deprive users of their freedom.
The increasingly centralized online services provided by sprawling giants like Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, or Microsoft (GAFAM) pose a threat to our digital lives.
These services track us everywhere, while claiming to give us a better “user experience”. But our behaviour is under constant surveillance. This information can be used to display targeted adverts, but the revelations of the Snowden case have also shown that Internet giants have been forced to communicate this data (sometimes extremely private: emails from Gmail, photos shared on Facebook, Skype conversations, smartphone locations, etc.) to government services. Under the pretense of fighting terrorism, states are able to gather much more intelligence than a "Big Brother" would ever have dreamed of.
Our data is an extension of ourselves. It tells third-parties where we are, who we are with, our political and sexual orientations, sites we have visited, our favorite recipes, our favorite topics of interest, and so on.
While a single data point is not always sensitive, the loss of large amounts of aggregated data can be dangerous (for example if you browse topics about cancer before subscribing to a life insurance).
In a world where everything has been digitized (ebooks, TV, phones, music, social networks, etc.), your private life is an essential part of your individuality. It would only take a malicious hacker with access to your smartphone a few minutes to cause you serious harm taking control of your identity on Facebook, consulting your professional or medical information, making purchases without your authorisation, etc.).
Major actors of the Internet have become real giants: Facebook has acquired WhatsApp and Instagram, Google owns Youtube and Waze, Microsoft distributes Skype, etc.
This concentration of actors creates multiple issues: what if Facebook were suddenly shut down? And how could we browse the Web if Google went down? We rely more and more on services provided by a small group of suppliers. For example, Apple (iPhone), Google (Android) and Microsoft (Windows Phone) dominate almost the entire mobile OS industry.
Furthermore, the size of these actors impedes innovation: it’s hard to launch a startup that can match up to Apple or Google (the first and second worldwide market capitalisations, respectively).
Finally, The lack of diversity of the giants means they can track many people who are unaware that there may be alternatives, and it can influence the kind of data you receive (a Google search will produce different results for the term “nuclear power” depending on whether Google considers you to be an environmentalist or pro-nuclear power).
Web services used on your computer, smartphone, tablets (and other devices)are usually hosted on the “cloud”: servers spread across the planet, that host not only your data (emails, pictures, files, etc.), but also the application code.
For your data, this raises the issue of sustainability (what would become of your files if Dropbox were to close tomorrow?) and of your ability to switch easily between services (how would you recover your data from Facebook or Picasa and import it, with all the adjoining comments, into another service?).
For applications, this means that you are completely at the mercy of your service provider when it comes to proliferation of advertisements, changes to the user interface, etc., and that you have hardly any control over the way an application works. It is a “black box” that can exhibit malicious behaviour (sending spam SMS without your knowledge, executing malicious code, and so on).
In short, these companies trap us in gilded cages: gilded yes, but cages nonetheless!
The story of the Internet itself is one of free software, and this goes for standards as well as protocols. Its potential and popularity are a cause for envy, and large companies would like nothing better than to control it by imposing closed-source, locked-down, and non-interoperable systems.
For the Internet to stay true to its founding principles, those which have led to its success, users must be able to choose free software, that is to say, software whose source code remains open and accessible and is covered by a free software license.
Framasoft is thus committed to using only software with “free” source code.
We promote an Internet based on independence and sharing.
Framasoft undertakes not to exploit its users’ data, and to promote a fair and open Web.
Internet intelligence must remain with each individual player on the network, in a spirit of sharing among peers, to avoid creating a Minitel (a pre-Internet videotext terminal and service) version 2.0.
To ensure equality for all, whether citizens or businesses, not only is it essential to avoid monopolies, but large organizations must be prevented from grabbing personal or public data.
Using tutorials to explain how to increase the use of free solutions that will allow a fairer Internet, we help to distribute codes and diversify usage.
Through the services we deploy, we promote an economic model based on sharing costs and resources, and providing widespread access.
This model also has an educational aspect because we believe that by documenting ways to setup services, many users will in turn be able to share these resources.
We think that, by not infantilizing users and by sharing responsibility for the use of services, it will be possible to regulate abuse.
The “de-google-ify Internet” project - which does not exclusively concern Google - consists in offering as many alternative services as possible to those we consider a threat to our digital lives.
Google Docs, Skype, Dropbox, Facebook, Twitter, Google Agenda, Youtube, Doodle, Yahoo! Groups, and many others, are extremely convenient services but they have become far too large and have made us dependent on them. Framasoft wishes to resist this trend and is putting forward a roadmap for setting up alternative services over several years.
These services are free, gratis, open to all (insofar as our technical and financial capabilities allow us), as digital commons . With the goal of decentralising the Internet and promoting self-hosting, we will do our best to ensure that everyone can install their own services (for themselves, for their organisation, or their company).
Of course, We are not aiming to compete with these services, We merely wish to offer a space that is neutral, non-commercial, and in no way aggressive towards its users.
See the list of services we are already offering (and those that we are preparing):
Campaign began on 07/10/2014
Last modification on the 01/06/2021