Favorite 4: Privacy-Friendly Replacement Apps

Posted by Carter Dotson on July 22nd, 2013

Given recent news events, the privacy of our data and just who has the ability to look at it is a growing concern. Many services that we use are proprietary creations, often served by corporations who may be willing (or forced) to distribute data transmitted through these services to governments or corporations. Now, for the security and privacy conscious, using iOS is probably not recommended because it is running on a proprietary OS and only allows apps that Apple specifically approves. However, for those who are more moderate on issues of privacy and security especially considering the closed-source nature of iOS as a whole. Thankfully, there’s a variety of services that can replace ones you currently use with open-source and more secure alternatives. Here’s four privacy-friendly replacement apps for iOS.

DuckDuckGo: Google’s whole business model is based around the fact that they use and sell data to sell more advertisments. DuckDuckGo is an anonymous search engine that is also partially open-source. The app allows for searches to be made, and top stories from the engine’s sources are available in a Readability-powered format, though this can be disabled for those concerend about just what Readability is doing with article reading data.

OpenMap: Powered by OpenStreetMaps, this app provides access to the open source mapping project’s series of maps that are freely-available. While the official website offers a mobile-friendly version, the app provides another advantage: it supports the ability to edit the maps, helping to clear up errors and contributing to the project as a whole. As well, maps can be saved for offline use. All this without possibly transmitting data back to Google or Apple who may be using it for unknown purposes.

ChatSecure: Just because you’re concerned about security doesn’t mean you can’t be social. This universal IM client supports multiple IM clients both open and proprietary with secure “off-the-record” chat that encrypts messages to keep away prying eyes. The app is open source as well, for those who like their software free as in freedom (well, as free as App Store software gets) as well as free as beer. Even for those not concerned about privacy so much, a free multi-protocol IM app is hard to pass up.

Mumble: Sometimes text chat just won’t do. So Mumble brings low-latency, secure, open source voice chat that’s also cross-platform to iOS users. Connect to a public or private server with other users of the service and enjoy free, secure, voice chatting. Sure, it was designed for gaming, but hey, doesn’t mean you can’t use it to have important chats. Or chat while playing games too. Even privacy advocates gotta unwind somehow.