I’ve become very concerned personally about the continued coalescing of basic internet services behind only a few major players. Google (GMail), Yahoo (Mail), and Microsoft (Hotmail/Outlook/Office365) are the de-facto centers of the universe when it comes to e-mail. Google (YouTube) and Amazon (Twitch) are the purveyors of live video, and Facebook and Twitter are the gatekeepers of the increasingly anti-social social media.
This creates a terrible situation, where all of your personal information is easily accessed by anyone who gains access to these services. That could be a government, a savvy criminal, or even the hosting company itself. Even more concerning is the notion that your personal beliefs, could fall out of favor with these corporations and result in you losing access to your service.
The reason they can get away with this is due to the EULA (End User License Agreement). Basically, you have signed up for a mail service that costs $0 to you, but they monetize you and your data by any number of means – with the most innocent being targeted ads.
The solution to this? Pay. Pay for a service that protects your mail and has no access to the data. Even better, roll your own, like I have by using Mail-in-a-box. I pay $68/yr and have my OWN email service and my own domain. That’s right. Hosting provider + Domain registration = $68/yr.
Since I’ve done that, I’ve decided to drop YouTube and Twitch as well. But not YET. I’m following a project call PeerTube. Its a distributed model similar to Mastodon (Popular Twitter Alternative). They are currently undergoing a major improvement to their model and it looks quite promising. Basically, you post your video to your PeerTube (ours will be on video.apocalypticarmy.com most likely) and then it is available to post and share. They do a good job of explaining it a joinpeertube.com. Depending on your appetite for uploading, you could get this done for…. guess what, $68/yr. If you already have a domain and a server, it could be even less.
I’m really getting passionate about this and am putting effort into this as well as considering financial support for it.