How to Avoid Funding the American Deep State
Google (1, 2, 3), Microsoft (1, 2, 3), Apple (1, 2, 3), Amazon (1, 2, 3), Mozilla (1, 2, 3), Facebook (1, 2, 3), Twitter (1, 2, 3), Yahoo! (1, 2, 3), eBay (1, 2, 3), reddit (1, 2, 3), Medium (1, 2, 3), and other big businesses have made it pretty clear that they're with the deep state. Fortunately, as addicted as these assholes may have gotten us to their shit, as easy it is to get clean, especially when you take your time.
1. Operating Systems
"Many people use Linux because they don’t want a company determining what they can do on their computer. No matter which version of Linux you use, there will be less commercial influence on how your PC functions compared to Windows or macOS. But at the end of the day, distros like Ubuntu, Fedora, and openSUSE still have ties to a corporate sponsor.
If you use a distro based on Ubuntu, your desktop experience is still influenced by the decisions that Canonical makes. This is much less the case with Fedora and openSUSE. But if you want even more of a gap, you want a community-only distro like Arch." - Bertel King, Jr.
Unlike Windows and macOS, Arch Linux is open source - its source code is available for everyone to inspect, use, and alter. You can, for example, pick a desktop environment that's more Windows-looking, like Cinnamon or KDE, or one that's more macOS-looking, like DDE or Pantheon.
Another thing King points out in his article "10 Reasons to Install an Arch Linux-Based OS on Your PC":
"Since Arch lets you pick your own components, that means you aren’t saddled with a bunch of software you don’t expect. Ubuntu not only comes with a large number of desktop apps pre-installed, but there are also quite a few background services.
While the number is small compared to how much runs in the background on Windows, you likely still have no idea all that’s going on.
Not only are these services not running in Arch Linux by default, they’re not even installed. That means you aren’t wasting resources on extra system processes. You’re also saving internet bandwidth by not downloading updates to code that isn’t necessary."
Antergos has been discontinued.
While I don't know of any place where you can buy PCs that come with Arch Linux or Antergos (excluding private sellers), you can buy:
PCs that come with Manjaro
non-Dell PCs that come with a different Linux distro
and second-hand PCs.
Since PCs that come with Linux usually still contain hardware from the likes of Intel, I'd say the most effective option is buying second-hand PCs. However, they may suffer from planned obsolescence, depending on their manufacturer (1, 2) and age.
On iOS devices (and Windows Mobile devices), installing a different OS isn't really possible. But it is on Android devices, and most are compatible with the open-source LineageOS.
"LineageOS is a version of Android which you can use without a Google account. Even though it is usually more free than the software your device comes with, freedom is not its main objective. While LineageOS works on most Android devices, it makes use of non-free device drivers and firmware which are fetched from a device and included in the ROM." - The Free Software Foundation Europe
I obviously think it's a good thing that LineageOS, by default, doesn't make use of Google Play Services. But that means it also doesn't make use of:
"network localization services, which means that you can only use the GPS for the positioning
Google Cloud Messaging, so you won't receive any push notification for any app that relies on it
the Maps API, which means that any app that uses Google Maps through the Maps API will probably crash."
That was from the LineageOS for microG FAQ. LineageOS for microG is based on LineageOS and comes with microG Project's apps, which, to some extent, let you use Google Play Services the open-source way.
'[T]he Play Services are very expensive in terms of resources, they drain lots of battery and they use lots of space, while microG requires much less resources. To give you an idea, the smallest possible package of OpenGApps ("Pico Package") on ARM 7.1 is ~125 MB, while the full microG suite (GmsCore, GsfProxy, FakeStore, MozillaNlpBackend and NominatimNlpBackend) is ~4 MB.'
Aside from installing either of those two operating systems on second-hand devices, there are also the options of:
buying refurbished phones that come with Replicant
buying Fairphones and then switching to the open-source Fairphone Open OS, which is free of Google apps and services too.
There are also a handful of "discontinued" and not-yet-released open-source OSs, like the OS that Purism is developing for the Librem 5, a smartphone with hardware kill switches.
Bypassing Google's and Apple's app stores can be done by downloading apps directly or via alternative app stores.
On Android, sideloading apps is easy. On iOS, not so much - you need a PC and a closed-source app (Linux/Windows/macOS). Sideloading apps on Windows 10 Mobile is possible, but the platform is virtually dead.
The most popular alternative app store focused on open-source apps on Android is the F-Droid store. It's open source, it offers over a thousand open-source apps, and it's the default app store on Replicant and LineageOS for microG. It's not pre-installed on Fairphone Open or Lineage OS (but, as I just mentioned, installing it is easy).
There's also an open-source app store that offers paid apps: Aptoide.
Because of how "closed" iOS is, there are only so many open-source apps available for it. All the alternative app stores I know of are closed source. The popular Cydia store is also only available for jailbroken devices. For non-jailbroken devices, there are, for example, these Cydia alternatives (which still contain more than a few pirated and cracked apps though).
For more info on more-libre tech:
2. Antivirus Apps
MailCleaner and ClamWin are open source too, and they also make use of ClamAV's virus database. But, during the installation process, ClamWin asks whether you want to install the Ask Toolbar - Ask is owned by InterActiveCorp.
As Ryan Whitwam explains in this article, you usually also don't need an antivirus app on Android (which is based on the Linux kernel). Most macOS and non-jailbroken iOS devices don't really need an antivirus app either.
But, just to be clear, downloading and then installing weird apps from weird sources is still not a very good idea.
As this article explains, the amount of macOS security problems has increased. However, the article then clarifies:
"Third-party antivirus software wouldn’t catch all of [the recent security problems], nor would all of them directly result in a usable exploit (notably Meltdown and Spectre)."
'Let’s be clear: antivirus software for your Mac is not essential. If you follow the basic “common sense” practices covered above, the chances of infection remain low.'
The way I see it, free antivirus apps should generally still do the trick.
At first I thought the Brave browser along with the Basic Attention Token could be the way to go. But then I learned that the people behind them are more than willing to do business with the likes of Amazon, Facebook, and Google (1, 2, 3).
So now I'm going with Waterfox instead. It's open source, it lets you import browser data from other browsers (history, bookmarks, etc.), and it's compatible with many Firefox add-ons, including the open-source ad blockers uBlock Origin and Adblock Plus (which doesn't block all ads by default).
Waterfox isn't available for iOS, but the open-source Adblock Browser is. (It doesn't block all ads by default. Also, depending on what websites you visit, around 18 to 79 percent of your monthly mobile data usage can go towards delivering ads.)
For more open-source browsers:
And regarding the Tor Browser:
4. Search Engines
It's extremely costly to develop and maintain search engines like Google. The only decent open-source and privacy-oriented search engines I know of are Searx and YaCy. Searx avoids big bills by aggregating the results of other search engines, and YaCy does it by being peer-to-peer.
As for why I don't recommend using DuckDuckGo:
it partnered with Yahoo! to get access to tech and features
it displays Yahoo!-Microsoft search alliance ads (which can be disabled)
it's only partly open source
and it uses Google Maps, Apple Maps, Bing Maps, and Here WeGo for map and address-related searches. To be fair, DuckDuckGo also gives you the option to use maps from the OpenStreetMap project.
DuckDuckGo now solely uses Apple Maps for map and address-related searches.
Another thing worth mentioning is that DuckDuckGo is part of Amazon's and eBay's affiliate programs. Officially, this doesn't influence the search engine's rankings or relevancy functions in any way. But, needless to say, DuckDuckGo isn't open source.
Maps from the OpenStreetMap project can be viewed via its website and via the open-source, ad-free mobile app OsmAnd. However, after you've downloaded seven map files, it will ask you to upgrade to the paid version, OsmAnd+, if you want to download another file. Fortunately, OsmAnd+ is available for free on the F-Droid store.
6. Email Providers
Since WhatsApp is owned by Facebook, and Skype is owned by Microsoft, I figured I'd simply refer to the Edward Snowden-endorsed, open-source, end-to-end-encryption-using messenger Signal, despite it requiring your phone number and access to your contacts. But then I learned, for example:
that Signal's developer, Open Whisper Systems, has received over $2 million from the U.S. government-funded Open Technology Fund
that Open Whisper Systems, collaborated with WhatsApp, Google, and Facebook to help integrate the Signal protocol into their messengers
and that Signal used the proprietary RedPhone server software until March 2017.
Fortunately, there's Tox. Like the Signal protocol, Tox is open-source and offers end-to-end encryption. Plus, unlike the Signal protocol, it's peer-to-peer (meaning it doesn't rely on central servers). The "official" Tox messengers also don't require your phone number or access to your contacts.
Since currently none of these Tox messengers are available for all major operating systems, here's a video about the messenger Riot:
(Matrix, the protocol Riot is based on, is not peer-to-peer. And, for the first three years of its development [2014-2017], most of the core contributors worked for Amdocs, which was co-founded by Israeli billionaire Morris Kahn.)
And regarding Discord:
it's funded by Time Warner
it isn't open source
it doesn't encrypt messages end-to-end
it doesn't allow self-hosting
it collects user data like crazy
and it was founded by a guy whose previous company got sued for privacy violations (among other things).
8. Office Suites
For more open-source office suites:
9. Social Media Platforms
Here are the three open-source social media platforms I think have the most potential to myspace the likes of Facebook:
That video was uploaded in April 2017, and, since then, Minds has improved and added quite a few features.
Minds now sells tokens (which you can use to display your posts on other users's feeds). So, to avoid encouraging people to buy tokens, I suggest not interacting with boosted content.
It may not be a good idea for anti-establishment content creators to make Minds their sole social media presence, as I was banned for spam even though I was barely active in the months leading up to the ban. Not to mention, I don't think I ever did anything that would constitute spam. I contacted Minds, around two months ago, but I haven't received an answer yet.
"Choose where your data are stored by choosing a pod you’re happy with. If you want to be really secure, you can set up and host your own pod on servers you control, and interact only with pods you trust, so no one can get at your personal data." - diasporafoundation.org
"At the bottom of the Account tab of your settings page there are two buttons for downloading your data." - wiki.diasporafoundation.org
"If you think about the existing models - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram - these are platforms that invite people to come and do all this work so that their shareholders, who are not necessarily contributors, make all this money." - Ned Scott, CEO and co-founder of Steemit
Steemit is still in beta - there currently is no mobile app (but a mobile site), and the editor is a little tricky to use. However, it's also possible to interact with the Steem blockchain via Busy, which is basically a Facebook-looking, non-profit version of Steemit with a more user-friendly Markdown editor, a non-Google search engine, and a notification bell.
Steemit now displays ads. Fortunately, Busy is still ad-free, as far as I know.
Another open-source Steem-based platform worth mentioning is Utopian, where users can earn STEEM by contributing to open-source projects.
There's also an open-source Steem-based video hosting platform, called DTube.
Currently, neither Minds nor DTube do live streaming (Periscope is owned by Twitter, and Twitch is owned by Amazon). There is the Steem-based live streaming platform DLive though, but I couldn't find anything on whether it will go open source in the not-too-distant future.
There's also the multistreaming platform Vuwable, but it's still in development, and I haven't received an answer yet on whether it will be open source.
As for why I still use the likes of Facebook (with an ad blocker enabled, and only until enough people have joined alternative platforms):
"We need alternative social media platforms to enable us to talk to one another, but we need mainstream social media platforms to enable us to convey information to the mainstream as well. The empire is happy to have all of its dissidents marginalized into a small fringe group that it can then paint over with smear campaigns; what jams the gears of the propaganda machine is counter-narratives being shown to mainstream westerners." - Caitlin Johnstone
For more open-source social media platforms:
And regarding some of the social media platforms I haven't mentioned: BitChute, Gab, MeWe, MediaRevolt, and Yours aren't open source, while Mastodon is anti-free speech.
Gab is now open source and decentralized - it's based on Mastodon.
10. Dating Platforms
There obviously are a lot of closed-source alternatives to deep state dating platforms like Tinder, OkCupid, PlentyOfFish, and Match.com. But, since they are closed source, I figured this is a good idea:
11. Crowdfunding Platforms
While it is definitely a good idea to avoid PayPal and Stripe, many content creators rely on crowdfunding platforms that currently process donations via the two. The only crowdfunding platform I know of that doesn't use either of them is Liberapay, which uses MANGOPAY.
Unlike, for example, Patreon, Liberapay is open source and non-profit - it doesn't take a cut from donations. There are still transaction fees though:
Liberapay also doesn't appear to be anti-free speech, whereas Patreon definitely is:
I myself own a PS4, and I obviously appreciate that Sony came to the rescue when Microsoft tried to completely screw over humanity with its original Xbox One plans. Still, screw Sony too. As well as Nintendo, Nvidia, AMD, and Intel.
there are second-hand games, consoles, graphics cards, processors, etc.
digital games can be shared on PS4, on Xbox One, and, to some extent, on Steam
- Playstation Now and Xbox Game Pass games can be played for free
- you can play online for free on PS4 and Xbox One with every account on your console by creating a new account, getting the free PS Plus/Xbox Live Gold trial, and then activating your console as your primary PS4/home Xbox. But, until somewhat recently, Xbox's support website mentioned that you can only do this three times per console, and I'm not sure what it's like now.
Online play is free on PS3, PS Vita, Wii U, and Nintendo 3DS. Online play on Nintendo Switch is free until the Nintendo Switch Online service officially launches in September 2018.
Of course, Sony and Microsoft could eventually make it so that playing online for free on PS4 and Xbox One is no longer possible, which is one of the reasons I prefer PC gaming over console gaming.
While Steam's client is available for Linux, it is, for example, not open source.
Three more-libre Steam alternatives:
To be clear, Gamespot is owned by CBS Interactive, as are GameFAQs, Giantbomb, Metacritic, and CNET. In fact, many popular gaming sites are owned by deep state businesses.
2. itch.io, which is mostly DRM-free, has an open-source app, lets developers decide how much revenue to share with the platform, and, by default, offers every item that can be paid for either on a pay-what-you-want basis or on a pay-any-amount-above-the-minimum basis.
As for how to create games for free:
14. Video Streaming Services
While video streaming services like Netflix provide even more reasons to drop cable and satellite TV providers, they still pay corporations like Time Warner to get access to their movies and shows.
Until an anti-establishment streaming service shows up, there are the options of:
watching independent movies and shows
buying second-hand Blu-rays/DVDs of non-independent movies/shows
watching movies/shows on websites that let you do so for free (which, as far as I know, is legal in the U.S.)
becoming a free trial opportunist
asking friends and family members for their login data (which Netflix doesn't even mind).
15. Music Streaming Services
But, while the popular platform Bandcamp isn't open source:
"We don't have plans to make our code open source at the moment, but that's always something we may reconsider down the road." - Bandcamp Support
Bandcamp is ad-free and lets you listen to songs as often as you like for free. However, artists can set a playback limit for their paid tracks, which can be bypassed via private browsing.
Unlike Spotify and SoundCloud, Bandcamp doesn't do business with record labels like Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group (yet?). It also hasn't given Universal Music Group the right to take down songs from its platform, like SoundCloud has.
Of course, when it comes to deep state record labels, there's always the option of buying second-hand CDs, which you're allowed to copy to your PC for personal use.
Also, while it is illegal in the U.S. to download copyrighted music for personal use via "YouTube-to-mp3 downloaders," it isn't illegal in, for example, Germany (if you're not logged in to YouTube). Apparently, nobody in the U.S. has ever been sued for doing so anyway, but, needless to say, that could change eventually.
16. Internet Service Providers
All U.S. mobile broadband/voice and data service operators currently lease wireless telephone and data services from Comcast, T-Mobile, Verizon, and/or Sprint.
17. Energy Providers
In most U.S. states, switching to a renewable energy provider is not an option. But, depending on your situation, there may be the option of making your own energy (which, in the long run, is usually cheaper too).
Since I'm really not a fan of Elon Musk:
Three more ways to decrease the demand for oil and other fossil fuels:
buying less animal products (there are tasty plant-based alternatives for virtually everything now)
decreasing the demand for plastic
buying less unnecessary things that are new and/or have to be shipped (= less money wasted + less time wasted + a more spacious/tidy-looking home).
The big banks can be bypassed via clean banks, credit unions, and cryptocurrencies.
As for bitcoin:
1. The lead maintainer of the Bitcoin Core repository on GitHub, Wladimir van der Laan, works for the Digital Currency Initiative (as do Cory Fields and Gavin Andresen, who, however, hasn't contributed to Bitcoin Core since 2016, as far as I know).
The Digital Currency Initiative's current director is Neha Narula, who was a senior software engineer at Google. Also, she isn't the only one at the DCI with a funny background.
2. The DCI was co-founded by Brian Forde at the MIT Media Lab. Forde is a former White House senior advisor. The MIT Media Lab's director, Joi Ito, is a strategic advisor to Sony, as well as a board member of The New York Times Company (among other things).
Of course, there's also the fact that the MIT receives hundreds of millions of dollars from the federal government every year.
3. In 2016, AXA Strategic Ventures co-led a $55 million investment in a key funder of Bitcoin Core: Blockstream, for which quite a few Bitcoin Core developers have worked. At the time of the investment, AXA's CEO and chairman was Henri de Castries, who's also the chairman of the Bilderberg Group's Steering Committee.
19. Online Shopping
In addition to all the closed-source alternatives there are to Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, etc., there's OpenBazaar. It's open source and peer-to-peer, and there are no fees. You can only pay with cryptocurrencies though.
There's also BriskSale.
BriskSale doesn't charge sellers listing or sales fees. You can offer a commission though, in which case BriskSale and BriskSellers will race to find a buyer. But, at the moment, there's a catch:
"To ensure maximum visibility, every item listed on BriskSale is automatically uploaded to the Google Shopping network."
20. Groceries, Clothes, Cosmetics
Yes, even buying organic food, clothes, and cosmetics helps get rid of the deep state, as does living a healthier lifestyle in general: