Blogging in the AI era
Is it possible to blog in the AI era? I write short stories every now and then and I throw them online. I also have a tech blog, where I moan about the decisions software I use make and with my "infinite wisdom", I tell them what they should be doing instead. I used to host both on Medium, but Medium got greedy. Then it was WordPress, but now even they're trying to be greedy bastards and use my shit for training AI. Some would argue that WordPress paid hosting will exempt me from the AI training, but for less than 100 visitors a year, it's not really worth the expense. So what is the solution? I ask the greater minds of this community for suggestions.

Search engines and privacy
So with the recent Bing situation I wanted to take a second look on private search engines and sharing my conclusions of each search engine. Here is my list of private search engines: [Duckduckgo]( I really like Duckduckgo, it has all important tools, decent result quality and a great image search function. Instant answers is very useful. My main problems are the reliance on Bing as the index and the choice of Apple Maps as mapping solution. Apart from the situation with the browser and Microsoft tracking Duckduckgo has a pretty clear record and the privacy. [Startpage]( Startpage is another great option. Apart from mapping everything is there and, while not as good as Duckduckgo's, the image search engine good. The results are based on google and on par to better than those of DDG. The main advantages over DDG are European base (Netherlands) and the anonymous view, which basically functions as a quick access VPN, but sadly breaks ad/tracker blockers. Privacy for regular search is equal to DDG, but you have to disable JS to get rid of some telemetry. It is owned by an [advertising company ]( [Swisscows]( Swisscows is okay. It is also Bing based, but slightly worse than DDG results. It lacks image search filters and mapping, but offers a music search which allows you to listen to ad free music. It also has an anonymous view, but it's not interactive. Privacy is similar to DDG, but has more telemetry and (temporally) stores your IP. It is from Switzerland, it also has a very strict anti gore/porn policy that sometimes makes normal search terms inaccessible. [Qwant]( Qwant used to be very solid French search engine, has dropped in quality. Similar search quality to DDG, image search like Startpage. They use Bing in combination with their own index. Then problems: They share your IP with Microsoft and they replaced their main advantage, openstreetmap based independent mapping service, with AI summary's that require an account. Worse privacy than all the above. [Ecosia]( Very similar to DDG. The main differences are that Ecosia is based in Germany, it plants trees to fight climate change, but also forwards your IP to MS. [Brave]( Braves main advantages are being independent, both with the search and the AI, and the goggles that allow you to customize your results. Search results are slightly better than DDG, image search is bad, no mapping is available. Brave has had invaded privacy in the past, but currently the privacy is good as long as you disable statistics. The company itself is a bit concerning and the CEO is homophobic. [SearXNG]( SearXNG is self hosted and open source, it uses various search engines as index and has a ton of extra feature like music search, fediverse search and a bunch more. While it has the most features and best privacy of all options, public instances are sometimes slow and the results aren't really good. [Kagi]( Kagi is in principle a decent quality search engine, but it is paid and has some problems that are only getting worse. For those interested read this [blogpost]( [4get]( 4get is a open source, self hostable search engine. It acts as a web scraper for various search engines, also supports Soundcloud. It has great privacy and good results, but it lacks mapping and requires a CAPTCHA per 100 searches [Yep]( Yep is an independent search engine. It is private and has good results, but lacks image search tools, video search and mapping. [Presearch]( Decentralized independent search. It has good results but lacks image search tools, is sometimes unreliable and has intrusive advertising A quick fire round of search engine that have decent privacy, but I wouldn't use due to result quality: [Ekoru]( Like Ecosia, but for cleaning oceans, Bing based, few features, requires extension. [Whoggle]( Like SearXNG, but with less features. [Metager]( Meta search engine with multiple search back ends, mainly Bing (Yahoo), completely powered by renewable energy [Mojeek]( Independent UK search engine with few additional feature, is supposed to be unbiased [LibreX]([LibreY]( Like Whoggle [AstianGO]( Slightly modified version of LibreX by the Devs of the Midori Browser [Ghostery]( German independent search engine, regular web only, offers tracker analysis for websites [Stract]( Open source, self hostable, independent search engine [Lilo]( Like Ecosia, but with fewer features and the option to support various projects [YouCare]( Bing based search, shares your IP with MS, does "good deeds", some missing features [Giburu]( Google based proxy search [Gigablast]( Open source, self hostable, independent search engine [Mwmbl]( Open source, independent, self hostable search engine. Only web results [Marginalia]( Open source, independent, self hostable search engine. Only web results, offers filters That would be my list. I'll still be sticking with Duckduckgo but I'd reconsider if Startpage improves it image search. Brave will probably never be my default, but it has proven it's role as a more private backup. Comment if I missed any search engine Search engines I didn't include due to horrible privacy [Bing]([Google]([Yandex]([Yahoo]([You]([Baidu](

Waterfox is a browser, obviously based on Firefox, but without default "junk" that Firefox comes with. Don't see many mentions to Waterfox at all in this community? Are there any specific reasons for it? Seems like a neat version of Firefox, with development based out of the UK. - **Worthwile blogpost on their independence and future updates:** - **Project:** - **Flathub:**

Shoelace: Alternative frontend for Instagram’s Threads
cross-posted from: > Hello Lemmy! Yesterday I released the first version of an alternative frontend for Threads: Shoelace. It allows for fetching posts and profiles from Threads without the need of any browser-side JavaScript. It's written in Rust, and powered by the spools library, which was co-developed between me and my girlfriend. Here's a quick preview: > > ![A screenshot of Shoelace's homepage, showing the logo on top, the title "Shoelace", the subtitle "an alternative frontend for Threads", an input bar with the tooltip "Jump to a profile...", and at the bottom three links: "hub", "donate", and "v0.1".]( > > ![Mark Zuckerberg's profile on Shoelace, showing three posts: One showcasing columns on the official Threads frontend, another congratulating himself for 1.2M+ downloads in his company's new AI software, and the glimpse of a post related to the "metaverse"]( > ![Post by münecat on Shoelace, announcing the release of a video essay criticizing the field of evolutionary psychology]( > > The official public instance (at least for now) is located at, if y'all wanna try it out. There's also instructions to deploy it inside the docs you can find in the README. Hope y'all enjoy it!

Mullvad Blog: Hiding account numbers
Cross-posted from: --- > We have previously highlighted the importance of not losing your account number, encouraging it to be written down in a password manager or similar safe location. > > For the sake of convenience account numbers have been visible when users logged into our website. This had led to there being potential concerns where a malicious observer could: > > - Use up all of a user's connections > - Delete a user's devices > > From the 3rd June 2024 you will no longer be able to see your account number after logging into our website. --- - "Hiding account numbers". Mullvad. 2024-05-27. Mullvad Blog ( - [Archive](

export from invidious to piped. don’t mention mobile frontends.
i want to export all playlists and subscribtiones from invidious to piped but it doesnt work. in invidious i click -Export Invidious data as JSON- then i go to my acc in and i click -Import from JSON/CSV- then piped popup says -The file doesn't contain valid playlists!- how do i import then? there are no other formats to export from invidious than json and OPML, and piped only accepts JSON and CSV... i tried to see if there's community for invidious or piped on lemmy but i only found abandoned piped page and no invidious page.

Reminder: The DMV uses photos for facial recognition
This is [half a decade old news](, but I only found this out myself after it accidentally came up in conversation at the DMV. The worker would not have informed me if it hadn't come into conversation. Every DMV photo in the United States is being used for AI facial recognition, and nobody has talked about it for years. This is especially concerning given that citizens are recently being required to update their ID to a "[Real ID](," which means more people than ever before are giving away the rights to their own face. The biggest problem with privacy issues is that people talk about it for a while, but more often than not nothing ever happens to fix the problem, it simply gets forgotten. For example, in the next few years Copilot will simply become a part of people's lives, and people will slowly stop talking about the privacy implications. What can we even do to fight the privacy practices of giants?

What cloud vps server host do I use?
What cloud VPS host is the best for privacy and security? I want to self host stuff for myself some tools. Mental Outlaw make a video last year about self hosting your own VPN with a service called Vultr but back in December vultr added to their TOS that they own what you host and a bunch of other scary stuff. So I don't trust Vultr anymore. I don't see recommended vps hosts on privacyguides website. So what do you guys think I should use to self host various things like a VPN, Nextcloud, and so on.

Innovation and privacy go hand in hand here at Mozilla… Is this the time to drop firefox?

I am currently using Proton VPN (free tier) which is set to Always-ON and Block Connections on disable. Today while I am going through my Gmail security option, on the devices/sessions I found my real location mentioned over there. Even when I use desktop I always connect to VPN. On this issue I got couple of doubts: - Is this because I am using a free tier VPN? so it's not functioning properly etc... - Else google fixed my location based on my previous location history? I used my google applications without VPN for many years, I am just learning & following privacy tips recently.

Contents of Meta data logs?
I am currently in the process of finally getting rid of my Meta-account. In the process I have requested data extraction. The media stuff was made available pretty quickly, but the data logs are still being processed. Does anyone know what data they actually contain, and whether there's any point in waiting for it? The reason I ask is that I also recently got a notification saying that will soon train their AI-model on my data which they will use the "legitimate interest" bullshit to do. I want to have my account deleted by the time this will be phased in (towards the end of June). So now I am in the dilemma of waiting for the data logs to complete (which I don't know how long will take) or just delete my account in hopes that it will be purged before the AI-stuff goes into effect. I am unable to find out exactly what these data logs consists of and whether there is any point in keeping onto them for whatever reason. Now, whether I can trust that they actually delete the data is another matter, but at least I would've done what I can, and they would break the law if the retain the data after my deletion request (under GDPR).

T-Mobile’s Forced Arbitration
In an effort to increase my privacy, I decided to buy a Pixel phone second hand to use with GrapheneOS. Due to some miscommunications, the phone ended up being carrier locked with T-Mobile. GrapheneOS's own website advises against buying carrier locked phones in order to avoid the hassle of carrier unlocking it. I assumed that even if the support staff was unaware about OEM unlocking, I would at least be able to fairly effortlessly get the device carrier unlocked because it was bought second hand. My first call was to the T-Mobile support center, and the representative wanted the phone number of the device in order to unlock it. The device had no phone number, so we instead tried the IMEI. I was told that the IMEI was invalid because it was not the correct number of characters, and was told that there was nothing they could do without physical access to the device. As expected, the representative had never heard of OEM unlocking. My next stop was at a T-Mobile store, to seek help there. The staff member there was very helpful and, despite not knowing what OEM unlocking was, was very aware of how to handle the situation regardless. He made a call to T-Mobile support (which has a different process if you are a staff member) and explained the situation to them. Here is where things get interesting: T-Mobile had the ability to carrier unlock the phone, and had enough information to prove the device was mine, but refused to carrier unlock it because it has to be done by the original account holder. They wouldn't give any information about how to contact the original account holder, which is reasonable. The in-person representative told me that if I was able to find a phone number linked with the original account holder that they would be able to do more, but after trying for over an hour to find any contact information with the seller, I couldn't find anything. The in-person representative decided to try calling support one more time, and even went out of his way to try lying to the support team on my behalf, just to see what could be done. After hanging up the phone, he told me that T-Mobile gave me 2 options: 1. Return the device entirely and buy a different one 2. Pay for T-Mobile for an entire year AND pay a $100 service fee That's like telling someone they have to pay a year of rent before they can even step foot in a house they already paid for, and then pay $100 to get the doors unlocked. I knew it would be a bit of a process to get it carrier unlocked, but I didn't realize it would take me *four hours* to be told I had to pay T-Mobile for a *year* to be able to access a device *I paid for*. I even tried using [T-Mobile's own app]( to unlock the device, but the app is not functional as many reviewers have also noted. Thankfully the seller accepted free returns, so the story has a happy ending, but any consideration of buying a carrier locked phone before has since evaporated. It is truly dystopian how we live in a world where companies are allowed to get away with stuff like that, and yet people still give away their money and freedom to these companies.

In sharing this video here I'm preaching to the choir, but I do think it indirectly raised a valuable point which probably doesn't get spoken about enough in privacy communities. That is, in choosing to use even a single product or service that is more privacy-respecting than the equivalent big tech alternative, you are showing that there is a demand for privacy and helping to keep these alternative projects alive so they can continue to improve. Digital privacy is slowly becoming more mainstream and viable because people like you are choosing to fight back instead of giving up. The example I often think about in my life is email. I used to be a big Google fan back in the early 2010s and the concept of digital privacy wasn't even on my radar. I loved my Gmail account and thought it was incredible that Google offered me this amazing service completely free of charge. However, as I became increasingly concerned about my digital privacy throughout the 2010s, I started looking for alternatives. In 2020 I opened an account with Proton Mail, which had launched all the way back in 2014. A big part of the reason it was available to me 6 years later as a mature service is because people who were clued into digital privacy way before me chose to support it instead of giving up and going back to Gmail. This is my attitude now towards a lot of privacy-respecting and FOSS projects: I choose to support them so that they have the best chance of surviving and improving to the point that the next wave of new privacy-minded people can consider them a viable alternative and make the switch.

>Danish banks have implemented significant restrictions on how Danish kroner (DKK) used outside Denmark can be repatriated back into Denmark. > > Due to these circumstances, which are unfortunately beyond Mullvad’s control, Mullvad will no longer be able to accept DKK from its customers. We will continue to credit DKK received until the end of the month, but considering postal delays, it is best to stop sending it immediately. - [Source]( - [Archive](
fedilink How can I make email sub-addresses with only letters or numbers and no special characters like plus?
I want a bulletproof way to give email sub-addresses, since some websites strip out special characters like `+` and `.`. I have an idea for how it could work, let's say my email is and I have the following: * All emails sent to TheTwelveYearOld@ get blocked * I specify a suffix that would be used instead of `+`, perhaps "From" * I whitelist phrases that go after "From": TheTwelveYearOldFromDoorDash, TheTwelveYearOldFromGoogle, TheTwelveYearOldFromReddit Are there any services that can do this? I'm thinking I should make my own domain for emails that way my email addresses aren't tied to any companies and I can easily switch.
25 How can I make email sub-addresses with only letters or numbers and no special characters like plus?

Privacy alternatives ChatGPT
As you may know, ChatGPT collects a lot of data on the users for the improvement of their AI, but this poses risks in its own way. I was wondering whether there are privacy alternatives to ChatGPT. Perhaps on F-Droid or Aurora/PlayStore, or for Linux. Are there any alternatives you know of? Or are there other ways to interact with ChatGPT without giving personal information, such as a privacy focussed front-end?

![screenshot of searching "test" in start page that doesn't return any results]( EDIT: looks like they're back.

Looking for a VOIP service to replace Google Fi
This may end up being a bit convoluted, so I will do my best to keep it as short as possible and to the point. I have a US number with Google Fi, have had it for about 8 years. This is the only reason why I still maintain that one Google account. The benefit is that I only use it when I am in the United States, and when I'm not, I just pause the service and don't get charged. However, I feel the string need to completely eliminate Google from my life permanently. Does anyone know of a service similar to this one? It can be an MVNO or VOIP for my phone, and I would like to port my number as well. I found "phoner", but I can't pause the service, so I would be stuck paying a bill I don't use as much or loosing my number. If the service is private (not to be confused with anonymous, of course) even better.

Archive link: >In exchange for selling them repair parts, Samsung requires independent repair shops to give Samsung the name, contact information, phone identifier, and customer complaint details of everyone who gets their phone repaired at these shops, according to a contract obtained by 404 Media. Stunningly, it also requires these nominally independent shops to “immediately disassemble” any phones that customers have brought them that have been previously repaired with aftermarket or third-party parts and to “immediately notify” Samsung that the customer has used third-party parts. >Aaron Perzanowski, a personal property law expert and professor at the University of Michigan Law School, told me “Most consumers would be very surprised to learn that their personal information and details about their devices are being shared with the manufacturer. And I doubt there is any meaningful disclosure of or consent to sharing that data. So this looks like a substantial and unexpected invasion of consumer privacy.” >“This is exactly the kind of onerous, one-sided ‘agreement’ that necessitates the right-to-repair,” Kit Walsh, a staff attorney at the Electronic Freedom Foundation and right to repair expert told me. “The data collection is excessive. I may not have chosen to disclose my address or identity to Samsung, yet an added cost of repair—even at an independent shop—is giving that information up. In addition to the provision you mentioned about dismantling devices with third-party components, these create additional disincentives to getting devices repaired, which can harm both device security and the environment as repairable devices wind up in landfills.”

Is waiting for the Pixel Tablet 2 my only option?
I'm looking for a tablet to last me at least 4-5 years doing - - Reading via Linkding, Audiobookshelf and Kavita - Note taking via Notesnook - Light media streaming via Jellyfin I've been looking forward to the Google Pixel Tablet 2 to put "The OS that must not be named" on it and have a highly privacy respecting device. The current Pixel tablet just has a lot of drawbacks - support timeline is limited, speakers aren't good, display is mehh etc. But of course Google didn't announce the new tablet, most likely putting it off until next year. I've considered a few options - - iPad Air - don't have an Apple account, and frankly don't want to get into their ecosystem in general. - Surface Go - Unavailable in the UK and the kernel required has some missing features as well. - Generic Android tablets from Samsung, Lenovo etc - Don't want a device where I can't fully control what the OS is doing, and I've used LineageOS, and didn't really like it. - Generic Windows tablets from Dell, Lenovo etc - Is Linux really ready for a tablet use case? I'm not really sure about this. Will I have proper driver and hardware support here? - Linux tablets such as Pinetab, Starlite etc - These seem to be woefully underpowered and underspec. So is my only real option to wait until May of 2025 for a Google Pixel Tablet 2? I'd love some input for this dilemma. Thanks!

Best browser tweaks for privacy?
Hello, always wanted to know the absolute best to have the most private (and secure) browser, need tips for android and linux. I think Firefox based browser are the best choice but i'm open to recommendations!! THX

Phone number services
I am searching for a job and require my phone number to be included on my resume. Is there a service available in the EU (excluding the UK) that can provide this.

Anone heard about it? Anything bad about security? I've checked speeds with my friend, the're quite good, file transfer speed is insane compared to signal.

Did tiktok change something?
I have friends that send me tiktok links via whatsapp and then they ask questions about it like "what do you think, scam or not". I used to open them with cookies rejected in ddg browser but now it pretends to freeze after 4 seconds of play, then it says that i must open it in the app and replaces the "play" button with a fake button that leads to google play. I assume that there's no way to watch it anymore without an account and without the app, right?

Alternatives to Google Docs/sheets?
What are people using in place of Google docs/sheets/etc? I'm looking for a simple program that syncs with the cloud so I can access my documents on my different computers or my Android phone. I run Windows 10 (don't crucify me). I use libre office for things that can stay on one computer, but for things like school notes, budgeting spreadsheets, or certain reference sheets I've created for work I need to be able to access on my different devices or log in on a web browser and easily have the changes sync. I'm constantly on the go and logging into different devices between work and school and while I want to de-google I've just found the convenience of the google suite has kept me saving non-confidential stuff with them. With some minor searching I found Cryptpad, has anyone used that, or can anyone recommend anything else? I don't do anything crazy, for docs its mostly just typing and basic formatting, importing pictures into my school notes, very simple tables, etc. With Sheets I just use basic math functions to balance my bank accounts and keep my budget on track, so I don't need anything advanced, it just needs to work and sync with the cloud. I don't even care if I have to pay a few bucks for it if it's worthwhile.

Looking for some Android apps
Having used iOS my entire life, the switch to GrapheneOS will be a big change. I have learned over the past year about Android, GrapheneOS, and apps to use. I managed to find most of the apps I was looking for, but there are some I struggled with. I had trouble finding privacy respecting, open source apps for the following categories (I've listed what apps I did find, but want to see if there are better alternatives.) * **Local AI:** For AI I was able to find [MLC LLM](, but the iOS version is a bit broken so I'm unable to confirm if it's what I'm looking for. I want something capable of running Llama 3. This was by far the hardest category to find an app for. * **Backup:** I found [Neo Backup]( and [Seedvault]( I want to be able to backup files, photos, app data, etc. * **IDE:** I was only able to find [Neovim]( (which I'm not even sure is an IDE). I primarily code with Python (but also code in Java as well as others), and I want to be able to run quick scripts when I'm out and about. * **Torrent:** While torrenting on a phone isn't necessary, it has certain scenarios when it's useful. If this is a major hole in privacy and security, I don't mind leaving this off my list. I found [LibreTorrent]( as an option. * **Local file sharing:** This is one I'm most curious about. I want a way to share files between my Linux computer and phone. [LocalSend]( and [Warpinator]( seem to be tied as far as popularity, maybe I can get some insight here. I want it to be strictly over the local network. * **Network monitoring:** This is nice to have for a variety of reasons. I want something like Wireshark for Android. I couldn't find many great options, but I found [Vernet]( * **eBook reader:** I'm sure the option I picked here is fine, but I wanted a second opinion about [Libera Reader]( * **Terminal:** I've heard a lot of different opinions for terminal emulators for Android, so please put up a good case for whichever one I should go with. [Neovim]( is apparently (technically?) a terminal emulator. I'm increasingly confused about what Neovim actually is. I also found [Termux]( and I eventually found too many options to find a clear choice. * **Movies:** Because many movie streaming services are privacy invasive, I'm looking for an ethical way to watch movies. I found [Stremio]( which I have never heard of before. This isn't a topic that gets covered very often. I am aware of [AlternativeTo](, and it's what I used to find some of these trickier apps, but nothing beats hearing first hand experiences. Thank you all for your help!

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    A place to discuss privacy and freedom in the digital world.

    Privacy has become a very important issue in modern society, with companies and governments constantly abusing their power, more and more people are waking up to the importance of digital privacy.

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