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First off, congrats! It's a pretty big force of will to actually do this because of how much these companies have penetrated into our lives. This guide will cover three phases:

1. Day to day functionality
2. Local computing functionality
3. Internet services

I hope this helps you transition happily away from freedom hating entities and to entities that take no public stance but practice their stated missions of endorsing privacy and the security of their users:

Day to Day Functionality

Cellular Phones

The most secure and usable alternative to the Android or iOS phones is called the Librem 5, it runs an open source OS called PureOS. There are pros and cons to using this device, the biggest con is you’re giving up quite a few generations of technology (if that’s important). The Librem 5 is analogous to a iPhone 3 or 4 in terms of processing power and screen technology. However, if you aren’t using your device for anything past texting, calls, and browsing the internet/maps, it’s a viable replacement.

The second best is a tie between the older Nokia and Blackberry phones, both have rudimentary web functionality, though their browser security will be woefully out of date, so keep this in mind.

The third option is to get a standard non-smart device. I recommend getting an older pre e-gps GSM device.

Smart Integration

Though I doubt anyone on this forum is likely to have succumbed to the likes of Amazon Alexa, Google Home, or any of their lessor competitors (I'm looking at you Cortana), these services should be the first to go. You will replace these with manual tasks. See that switch on the wall that your smart switch used to be connected to? Yep.. toggle that baby to turn your lights on or off. See that refrigerator that your smart device connected to to tell you when you needed Milk? Well, you can open it and shake the bottle yourself. Smart TV? Can be kept if and only if it has no "net meeting" functionality.

Maps

For many, and I count myself in this group, I enjoy Google Maps. There are alternatives which are paid for. Ways seems to be the best replacement. I believe it operates with the Google Maps API, so you may still be shuttling Google your data with Ways. OpenStreetMaps is the best free alternative, mind you this will get you from A to B, it will not tell you about speed traps or road construction. Real-time traffic is the only reason I'd maintain a Google account that is used for and only for Mapping applications. Do keep in mind that the sections of the guide pertaining to phone security will not be applicable as you will need Android anyways.


Local Computing

Operating System

Windows 10 is great, but part of what makes it great is also what makes it so horrible for privacy advocates. Vaccine mixing Billy out in Washington is harvesting your data as you read this. There is really only one alternative to Windows on the PC and that is Linux. "Linux" opens a whole gamut of options however, there are many many distributions, I am going to highlight some resources to help you towards this end:

- If you are a true beginner, this guide will help you choose a decent distribution. They're all roughly the same in terms of usability, so it'll come down to how you like the look and feel of the presented interface.

- If you'd like a bit more control, I highly recommend Arch Linux, be mindful that the initial setup is far more cumbersome than any of aforelinked distributions. Get it here: Arch Linux

- If you want even more control than Arch, Gentoo is where you want to be. You will want a relatively new processor, a minimum of 4 cores but 6 or 8 will save you a lot of time when you configure multithreaded compilation. It's mandatory you read the setup guide before you get going or you're going to be a little lost. Gentoo has the second most tedious setup process of any distribution I've used. Get it here: Welcome – Gentoo Linux

- If you're sadistic and have a lot of time and decent hardware then you can try out Linux From Scratch. I liken Gentoo to Linux From Scratch because they're both source-code based (meaning you literally build your own operating system), the difference between them is with Gentoo, you have build scripts so to add software the basic command is "emerge <title-name>", with LFS, you go download the source files and build/link them yourself. This is really only practical for an environment that will NOT change, like an embedded application. Get it here! Welcome to Linux From Scratch!

With Linux, I highly recommend that you look into LUKS, or Linux Unified Key Setup and DM-Crypt on virtual disks. The combination of these three items gives you true on-disk encryption. Without your key (and preferably key files with it), your hard-drive will be completely unrecoverable. I recommend that you set up 512bit AES, which is just 256bit run twice, if you're truly paranoid about the alphabet agencies, however, for most people standard 256bit is fine and short of Quantum Computing coming to the desktop, your data will be safe for the foreseeable future.


-- If you must retain Windows 10 --

For some people, keeping Windows around isn't much of an option as it's a necessity. I am not an expert on Windows 10 security as I stopped using it for sensitive data a decade ago, however there are some guides:

Windows 10 Full Disk Encryption with Veracrypt (DO NOT USE WINDOWS BITLOCKER, MS has a backdoor):
Read this, decide if it's for you:

And then... get Veracrypt here: VeraCrypt - Free Open source disk encryption with strong security for the Paranoid


This guide by Heimdal seems decent, however, these are all software changes and maybe overcome by Microsoft overriding certain functions (we must assume they can)
The Ultimate Windows 10 Security and Privacy Guide

This guide offers a bit more in-depth security measures:



Internet Services

1. Facebook must go or be severely restricted: Every browser has an extension called or analogous to "Facebook Container", it is vitally important that you install this. Facebook communicates in realtime with your browser when you use their services. Facebook is an amalgamation of technologies including Ajax, which creates asynchronous transmission of data between FB servers and your computer. Facebook Container sandboxes the tab containing Facebook so that data leaking from other tabs cannot be intercepted by the Facebook Tab. Think of running Facebook in a browser like an low-grade Trojan horse.

2. Discord sends telemetry to its parent company, there is no real way to turn this off without removing the application.

3. Google Services can be terminated by going to this link: Delete your Google Account - Google Account Help and following the steps

4. Twitter is merely a trolling device now, keep it if you wish, just don't install the app.

5. Instagram is a Facebook offshoot and in their latest TOS basically said "whatever data is on your device, by using this app, you give us permission to examine it". Delete immediately.


I'm too tired to type more. If you know of any actionable security issues with any common apps or websites, please post them below. DO NOT START FIGHTING.
 

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I was never one for the big tech to begin with, I boycotted them all nearly two decades ago.

I am on FB, though I have it clamped down pretty tight.. I go on primarily to leave nasty notes on advertisers comments sections and block them.. I block around 20 advertisers a day on there. Been doing that since they introduced advertising on FB... If I could just get a few thousand people to join me on this so we could start negatively affecting FB advertising...
 

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Very well said, and I second the recommendation for the Librem 5.

Everything you say about Linux is true, but I'll toss in my own two cents: Mint Linux is frequently recommended for those transitioning from Windows, and I've seen a high success rate with it, lots of happy ex-Windows users.
 

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I appreciate this info, but it's way, way beyond my understanding: I'm thinking that I'm not alone....

What I can do, or more accurately am not doing is outright boycotting many businesses and institutions and trying to severely minimize participation in what I can. It's unfortunate that I cannot completely avoid all things that serve to detract from our well-being and way-of-life, for instance it's nowadays impossible to avoid everything CCP. Somewhere there is some cheap part in most everything even mildly complex: we can just minimize their unhealthy impact.

This is what I do, there are probably more things, as well. My 'filter' in all decisions is "who benefits or profits from this, and what are my alternatives?" Add your own, maybe this would make a great idea for a separate dynamic topic.

Amazon and all things Bezos- Whole Foods, linking or clicking on Washington Post articles.

Walmart

****'s Sporting Goods, of course.

Panera Bread

NFL, NBA, Baseball, NASCAR, and now PGA

Google, and all that share that worthless four color icon style, as much as possible. I use Duck Duck Go for searching now

Fedex

Facebook, Twitter, all that....of course.

Got rid of iphone, went to dubiously better, I admit, ZTE Android based fairly priced phone.

Like I said, there are so many I now boycott, I can t even think of them.....
 

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I've replaced most light bulbs in my home with Philips HUE lights. They are controlled by their own hardware hub and physical switches in addition to windows or phone apps. They work offline just fine, as long as my home WiFi is functional. There is a newer version that uses bluetooth for communication but range is smaller for each bulb.

I have not tried this myself but... it is possible to create your own alternative to google/apple services with owncloud or nextcloud server. Contacts, calendar etc that work with your phone, "cloud" storage for images etc. That is, if you wish to keep your smartphone.

For the phone itself, I have a spare phone Nokia 8110 4G


As the name states, it has 4G connectivity and it will function as WiFi accespoint.
Other than that, it is pretty horrible. Nice battery life though, weeks. Nokia does still do modern dumb phones like this in basic candy bar format. They can have basic apps like email and whatsapp support too.

From xda-developers forum is possible to find custom firmwares for many modern android phones. I believe there can be one for most phone that allows you to delete unwanted parts of google services. (and let you use your own nextcloud server instead)
 

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NRA Life 1971
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I've never used big tech to begin with. Because I am computer illiterate, windows is about all I can handle.
Outside of that, I don't facebook, twitter, use amazon or google nor have a smart phone. I buy only made in the USA products with very rare exceptions.
As has been mentioned above, we also boycott several retailers and TV sports etc.

Why support the enemy?
 

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I got rid of facebook months ago. Best move i ever done (besides leaving the ex wife lmao). Have not regretted it in the least.

This is the extent of my social media. I read paperback books. I cook, i clean, i date. So much more to do in life than sit in front of my phone.
 

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Are there any alternatives to the Google Drive out there? I keep a lot of files, spreadsheets, etc on the free google drive. Nothing particularly important or sensitive, but it has grown to quite a collection over the years. I know it was mentioned above to build your own cloud (or something to that effect) but I have no idea how to do that. Is there anywhere online that I could move my stuff to further break the ties with google?
 

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Any recommendations on a secure Linux version? Something privacy oriented like Kodachi, Qubes, Tails, Sceptor, etc.

Otherwise, I've installed Debian before and might just go that route on a flashdrive install and customize it from there.
 

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I watched a video a couple of nights ago, with some recommended alternatives to the popular social media-type services. Disclaimer: I have not actually tried any of these services myself, I only just found out about them too. But they might be worth your time to look into, if you want to switch to something else.

Facebook - Minds

YouTube - Bitchute / Rumble / Odysee

Reddit - Ruqqus

Discord - Guilded

Patreon - Subscribe Star
 

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I never really had Facebook as I don't post there. It just people I know a distant away will post something
Never used Twitter

I have to use a Windows based system because of my job and need a connected phone for same reason.
boss will ether text or call and send a pic I have to review and respond too.
 

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I've separated work from home. I'm going to see about running an older phone or tablet on alternatives too. I uninstalled every misc unused Microsoft and Google program possible on the work stuff. And turned off everything I'm allowed.

I'll leave their stuff to them and not use it for anything personal. Browsing, buying, anything.

I did very minimal in the past but I've now cut it all off. Don't overlap your life.
 

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Thanks, I've always said there are two kinds of people in the world. Those with all the devices...they are called "connected" and those without the devices...they are called "happy."
You have my vote for the best post on the internet today!

I have been working strategically since the Nov election to first remove as much of my digital footprint where possible then disconnecting to the greatest extent practicable. I told my wife this morning how much more happy I felt.
 

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Local Computing

Operating System

I've been using Linux Mint for several years now. I'm very happy with it, and it was an easy transition from Windows.

Search/Browsers

DuckDuckGo for searching. I have it set up as my browser search bar, too, to make it easy.

There aren't many options for browsers that play will with all websites. I'm trying Brave today, which is based on Chromium (open source version of Chrome) but my credit card website wouldn't let me lot in with it. I keep Firefox as my 'emergency' browser for websites that don't recognize the smaller ones.

DuckDuckGo does have a mobile browser, which I installed today.

Internet Services

I can't find Facebook Container in Chrome web store. Ideas?

Right now I'm using Gab for social media, since Parler went down. I'm not connected to any friends, just use it to follow a few Independent commentators.
 

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I never had FB or Twitter. I’m following Dan Bongino’s lead and reducing Amazon purchases by going directly to the Vendors website. I’m using Rumble more and will continue to increase it as more of my channels are making the switch. I’m writing all of my channels and urging them to switch. I use a very low line Samsung cell phone. Reduce whenever I can.
 

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I use MediaFire, it's been around for years and very easy to work with. The company is based in Texas.
Do your own research, to make sure it will meet your needs, but I personally like it.
Thank you for this. I'll check it out.
 

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I just research iComStation as I use to use OS/2 Warp and prefer it over windows. A lot harder to write Viruses for and resistant to hacking. More resistant to crashing and burn like windows is.
If you has what I want to do personal then its a no brainier.
 
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