Opt out of PRISM, the NSA’s global data surveillance program. Stop the American government from spying on you by encrypting your communications and ending your reliance on proprietary services.
Use a combination of Tor Browser and another free browser to surf the web. Try to use Tor for everything. Browsing the web may be a bit slower, but it's far more secure.
Note that using Tor Browser to log into PayPal or a banking website may trip the website's fraud protection software.
Users of Tor Browser should also be aware that logging into HTTP (instead of HTTPS) websites may result in your credentials being captured by a malicious exit node.
Note that Firefox uses Google search by default. Google search should be replaced by more private alternatives.
Why are Chromium, SRWare Iron, et al. not recommended on PRISM Break? More info here.
Encrypts your communications from thousands of websites.
Block advertisements on the web.
Stop third-party sites from tracking you.
Control which cross-site requests are allowed by sites you visit.
Safeguard your privacy and stop websites from tracking you by installing Adblock Edge, Disconnect, and HTTPS Everywhere in your web browser.
Ghostery is a proprietary alternative to Disconnect. While the code is closed source, Ghostery’s database of tracking sites is more thorough and openly available, unlike Disconnect.
Why not Adblock Plus? Adblock Plus shows “acceptable ads”.
Unfortunately, there's no truly viable free alternative for web search at the moment.
DuckDuckGo is partly proprietary (open source parts here), hosted around the world, and provides you with search results from these sources.
Startpage is proprietary, hosted in the USA/Netherlands, and provides you with anonymous Google search results (including images).
YaCy is a promising project that offers fully decentralized peer-to-peer search. The more people who start using it, the better the results will become.
“If you spend time contributing to OpenStreetMap you are helping a good cause, and building a geographic database of the world which is free and open for all and forever.”
Open source chat program. XMPP/Jabber OTR
Install and enable this plugin in Pidgin for encrypted chat. OTR
Free, multiprotocol chat client for OS X. XMPP/Jabber OTR
Instant messaging web application with advanced social networking features. XMPP/Jabber
Anonymous, decentralized P2P chat built on Tor Hidden Services.
Private, secure OTR messaging for Android.
Free, open-source, end-to-end encrypted messaging.
Secure SMS/MMS communication for Android.
OTR-encrypted instant messaging for Android. XMPP/Jabber
Encrypted IM for iOS devices.
“Off-the-Record Messaging, commonly referred to as OTR, is a cryptographic protocol that provides strong encryption for instant messaging conversations. OTR uses a combination of the AES symmetric-key algorithm, the Diffie–Hellman key exchange, and the SHA-1 hash function. In addition to authentication and encryption, OTR provides perfect forward secrecy and malleable encryption.
The primary motivation behind the protocol was providing deniability for the conversation participants while keeping conversations confidential, like a private conversation in real life, or off the record in journalism sourcing.”
Note that Pidgin stores your IM account passwords in plain text. You can avoid this either by never saving your password in Pidgin, or encrypting your file system with software like TrueCrypt.
TorChat is not related to nor sponsored by the official Tor Project.
Jitsi is a drop-in, encrypted replacement for almost all the tasks Skype is used for. Please not that that Jitsi may request non-secure information during encrypted chat if you paste a link into it.
Also, if Jitsi is set up to use Tor, it may leak DNS information by not using Tor for DNS resolution.
Mumble an open source voice chat client in the style of Ventrilo and TeamSpeak.
CSIPSimple and Linphone currently have unresolved security weaknesses.
WebRTC is an upcoming, promising browser to browser communications API.
Synchronize folders on your computers and drives.
Instantly turn any server into a file sharing platform.
A personal PaaS you can host, hack and delete
Cloud data in your control.
Self-hosted file sync and collaboration for teams.
Free and open cloud storage system.
Why not BitTorrent Sync? While the BitTorrent protocol is free, BitTorrent Sync is currently proprietary software.
Why not MEGA? While MEGA is free as in beer, the software is proprietary.
Why not SpiderOak? SpiderOak is proprietary software.
Why not Tarsnap? Tarsnap is partially proprietary and hosts your data on Amazon Web Services.
Self-hosting your media is important for privacy and security. Hosting your blog on WordPress.com is no better for your data security than Blogger or Tumblr.
Warning: Using avatars in WordPress will activate Gravatar, which which will send your email address to gravatar.com. Avatars are activated by default and can be turned off under “Settings > Discussion > Avatars”.
A full range of free, privacy-aware services. approval required
Groupware server for email, calendars, address books and synchronization to mobile devices.
Secure Kolab accounts hosted in Switzerland. beta
Secure and private email accounts. invitation required
Bitmessage is a promising alternative to email, but it’s is not ready for daily usage. Use at your own risk.
MyKolab is hosted in Switzerland and benefits from the strong Swiss privacy laws. It is run with free software and lets you export all your data.
Riseup is hosted in the USA. It’s also beginning to offer VPN, chat, and etherpad services.
Why not Hushmail? See 'compromises to email privacy'.
The only way to have full control over your email is to run your own mail server (e.g. with Kolab). This is not for everyone though, as it requires considerable time investment and technical knowledge.
While not complete yet, the FreedomBox project is aiming at creating a turnkey solution for encrypted communications.
Here is a guide to encrypting your email with Thunderbird, GNU Privacy Guard (GPG), and Enigmail.
OpenPGP add-on for Thunderbird/Icedove.
Make your Thunderbird/Icedove connections through Tor. experimental
OpenPGP and S/MIME implementation for numerous frontends.
OpenPGP add-on for OS X Mail.app.
OpenPGP browser add-on for webmail.
GnuPG/GPG (gpg, gnupg) in your browser.
“Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) is a data encryption and decryption computer program that provides cryptographic privacy and authentication for data communication. PGP is often used for signing, encrypting and decrypting texts, e-mails, files, directories and whole disk partitions to increase the security of e-mail communications.”
S/MIME is an another email encryption scheme that may be of interest. It’s supported by default in many email clients (Thunderbird, Outlook, iOS Mail) and arguably easier to use than PGP.
The Bitcoin blockchain is a decentralized, public ledger of all transactions in the Bitcoin network.
“It may be the TCP/IP of money.” —Paul Buchheit
Google Public DNS permanently logs your ISP and location information for analysis. Your IP address is also stored for 24 hours.
OpenNIC has not adopted an official policy concerning log query privacy/anonymization. You may choose anonymous DNS servers on this page.
“A darknet is an anonymizing network where connections are made only between trusted peers.
Darknets are distinct from other distributed P2P networks as sharing is anonymous, and therefore users can communicate with little fear of governmental or corporate interference.“
A meshnet is a decentralized peer-to-peer network, with user-controlled physical links that are usually wireless.
“Mesh networking (topology) is a type of networking where each node must not only capture and disseminate its own data, but also serve as a relay for other nodes, that is, it must collaborate to propagate the data in the network.”
CyanogenMod licensing: “CyanogenMod does still include various hardware-specific code, which is also slowly being open-sourced anyway.” —Wikipedia
F-Droid is a free alternative to the Google Play app store.
iOS is a proprietary operating system whose source code is not available for auditing by third parties. You should entrust neither your communications nor your data to a closed source device.
Lightweight and flexible GNU/Linux distribution.
Popular ethical GNU/Linux distribution.
Fast, stable, powerful GNU/Linux distribution.
Comfortable and easy-to-use GNU/Linux distribution. newbie’s choice
A secure BSD operating system.
FSF endorsed, user-friendly GNU/Linux distribution.
Fedora/Xen-based OS designed to provide strong security through isolation.
XMPP server written in Erlang/OTP for GNU/Linux and OS X. GPLv2
Cross-platform XMPP server written in Java. Apache
Flexible XMPP server written in Lua. MIT/X11
Cross-platform XMPP server written in Java. GPLv3
XMPP Server based on Prosody, with advanced management/microblogging features. ISC and MIT/X11
“Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) is a communications protocol for message-oriented middleware based on XML (Extensible Markup Language). The protocol was originally named Jabber, and was developed by the Jabber open-source community in 1999 for near real-time, instant messaging (IM), presence information, and contact list maintenance. Designed to be extensible, the protocol has also been used for publish-subscribe systems, signalling for VoIP, video, file transfer, gaming, Internet of Things applications such as the smart grid, and social networking services.”
“The Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is a signaling communications protocol, widely used for controlling multimedia communication sessions such as voice and video calls over Internet Protocol (IP) networks.”
“Free software” means software that respects users’ freedom and community. Roughly, the users have the freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. With these freedoms, the users (both individually and collectively) control the program and what it does for them. (more …)—The Free Software Foundation
MASSIVE SURVEILLANCE EXPOSED
Recent reports by the Guardian and the Washington Post confirm secret spying programs on phone records and Internet activity. It‘s time for a full accounting of America’s secret spying programs—and an end to unconstitutional surveillance. (more …)—The Electronic Frontier Foundation
Self-hosted social stream server.
Open source, federated social network. XMPP/Jabber
Community-run, distributed social network.
Privacy respecting, distributed, federated social network.
Self-hosted, decentralized social network.
Distributed and federated social nodes.
Private, decentralized social network server. XMPP/Jabber
Free, secure, P2P communications platform.
Salut à Toi
Multi-frontend, multipurpose communication tool. XMPP/Jabber
Free, autonomous social network protocol.
For those of you without your own server, RetroShare is the easiest way to start your own encrypted social network.
identi.ca is a popular Twitter-like social networking hub for the free and open source software community. The site is converting to the pump.io software platform sometime this week.