This is the second in my new series of posts from software and app and tech vendors who have new tools they’d like you to know about. Vendors are welcome to contact me at maddie[at]socialfish[dot]org to submit guest posts about their products for us to review.
We Should Support Privacy-Based Web Services
CONTACT: Davidson Wicker, Founder, Ravetree.com – davidson[at]ravetree[dot]com
Privacy is arguably the most important issue of our time. Nearly every day I encounter people who preach the importance of privacy. Usually, these views are coupled with a mention of Facebook or Google, and references to “data mining” and “browser tracking.” The people expressing these views are correct about the need for better privacy, but there’s one problem—it’s usually just talking. Many of these same people continue to use Facebook and Google.
If we really, truly want privacy, while still having access to the web services that drive modern day life, then we should support the growing number of websites that offer privacy.
For example, the search engine DuckDuckGo has garnered a fair amount of attention after revelations about the NSA prompted some people to stop using Google. Their search results are relevant, and they operate on a “Do Not Track” policy.
There are also several great email services that offer privacy not found on Gmail, or many of the other big-name email providers. These include Hushmail, FastMail, and MyMail.
Recently, I began considering the need for a full-featured “Social App Platform” that addressed the issue of privacy. After months of work Ravetree (www.ravetree.com) was launched as an ad-free social platform that includes useful apps such as file storage, a powerful calendar, and more. Ravetree users can rest assured that their personal information is not being data-mined, and their browsing history is not being tracked.
Privacy-conscious businesses can also find Ravetree to be useful. We offer a private social app, called a “Portal,” that can be used by businesses for a monthly subscription. Businesses using our Portal app will benefit from the same privacy protections individual Ravetree members enjoy. In addition to a company calendar, file storage, and member directory, businesses can make use of our easy-to-use project management app, the ability to create groups, and powerful admin tools.
But privacy shouldn’t only be of concern to individuals and businesses. Schools also need to be smart about which services they use. Recently it was discovered that Google scans student emails in its free education apps (bit.ly/1b2efgx). It’s unfortunate that some schools don’t have the moral decency to protect their students from being data-mined by Google.
People may complain that some privacy-based web services are lacking features found on Google or Facebook. But it’s important to remember that Facebook wasn’t all that great when it started, and Google only offered basic search features in its early days. It was only after these companies developed a large user-base that their quality improved, although their privacy eroded substantially.
So go out and start supporting the web services that offer what you’re asking for—privacy. Many of them are already very good, and they are likely to get even better if we support them and encourage our friends and family to do the same.