What can I expect from privacy oriented companies?

Hello there !

I’ve always use GAFAM services in my life, and at some point I started to realise maybe it’s a bad idea. I did small actions here and there, but at some points I realised I needed to get rid of these GAFAM. But, I have no idea which services could replace these ones, paid or not. Indeed, I am never sure if these companies telling me about privacy really are trustworthy, and also if they will be sustainable enough for me to use them as my primary email or drive service for example.

That’s my primary concerne, I don’t want to put all my data in a service which I am paying for, which will go bankrupt in a few months, or which will have an awful customer service in case something goes wrong.

Are my concernes real ?

PS : I am well aware that self-hosting is the best solution, but for now it’s too expensive for me, even if I know this will be my go-to solution is a few years.

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Their marketing spiels are mostly security theatre, so that’s a no if you only read that. Their privacy policies on the other hand generally spell out everything they collect and how they use and share it, which tend to be everything they can. So yes, they are trustworthy in the sense that you have no privacy from them and they ain’t really hiding it.

The rule of thumb you should keep in mind is that if you’re not paying for a product, you are the product.

Fortunately that is one of the main criteria that Privacy Guides judge their recommendations, so the recommendations page is great place to start looking for replacements.

And a tip is to replace one thing at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed and exhausted. Slow and steady wins the race.

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I assume this applies mostly to services, not apps or server software?

/Is it about operating costs, or development costs?

That is true, but I’m using product in the broader sense since I think it still applies, albeit to a lesser degree. As the saying goes, time is money, and making something takes time so someone somwhere is paying.

But there are so many free and open source pieces of software that you don’t have to pay for. You aren’t the product of them.

I think this notion applies more to proprietary software (especially services, but other stuff too), and maybe also free and open source services (since those still cost money to operate)

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I really think that it depends on the usage and goals.

Switching to a more privacy-friendly solution gives you both privacy and dignity.

During the transition period, you don’t have to immediately remove the tools you’re used to. Start with the less painful ones, like email, Bitwarden, and Aegis. Then, you can switch to a new operating system and change the software you use.

I strongly recommend that you do not change everything at once, but gradually. As your goals change, so will your habits. A gradual transition will help ease the pain and make the journey in a better direction more enjoyable.

When it comes to trusting services that claim to be privacy-friendly, the question is whether they really have privacy. Many of them use that as an excuse. So standards like open source, audited, and end-to-end encryption are important. You don’t just have to trust the developers of these standards.

You can choose which practices are acceptable and which are unsatisfactory but still acceptable. (For example, I always hate Proton’s marketing style, but their service quality is not bad).

In my own experience, the most painful part is the first transition. The old ones often lack a transition plan, and the data cannot really be migrated. But after the first time, the next time will be much easier. Keep up the good work.


no, I know Americans love it (dont know where they originally got it from) but that truism is way over used and a lot of times false. Privacy Guides, which ironically you proceed to mention, does recommend a lot of free products, something being free by itself doesnt tell you absolutely anything.

Youre possibly with that claim diverting people from free open source solutions to proprietary paid ones, which Id argue is not an ideal outcome


Very true and it that was absolutely not my intent to come across that way. Entirely my fault, so let me try to rephrase and clarify.

A product or service takes some amount time, skill, effort and resources to create and maintain, therefore someone is always paying the cost of that. If you the user are not paying money directly, then you need to ask who is paying and how?

GAFAM & Co. get their payment in (mostly) your data to use & sell, and companies paying them to show you their ads. For open source, we generally have variations and combinations of donations, grants from organisations, corporate sponorships and other paying customers subsidising the cost of other users.

The point is, nothing is really free, so once you know how it is being paid and maintained, you’ll have a much easier time judging if X is trustworthy or if they have a conflict of interest.

I hope that clarifies what I meant with my previous simplification and makes me appear less of a doofus. And thank you for the admonition fellas, it is very much appreciated. But I think we’re getting a bit of topic here, so if you still think I’m talking nonsense we should probably start a new thread to continue the dicussion there.


Thanks you all for your recommandations and kind messages, I’ll look forward for the best alternatives I can found. I actually didn’t know that Privacy Guides had documentations and recommandations, I thought it was only a forum :).

Have a nice day yall !