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crypto-anarchist, cypherpunk, programmer
The Privacy Software Guide
Welcome to my privacy software guide! This guide will list common applications that the majority of the population uses, and will also list alternatives that I use instead of the mainstream application.
Gmail - Google's email. The problem with Gmail is that, being a Google product, it's tracking every little thing about you. Inbox as well, which is just a skin for Gmail. The predictive typing it uses to automate replies to various people is based on your typing, so your typed messages are recorded and stored for artificial intelligence reasons, as well as advertisement reasons. An alternative I use for Gmail is ProtonMail. There is a free version which is paid for by the paid users of the site.
Google Search - Google's search engine optimizes itself to show you what you think you need to see, so it's both censored and manipulative. To get actual results that it would show normally, use StartPage to get anonymized and unfiltered Google results. I often recommend against DuckDuckGo as it's based in the United States.
SMS - SMS is tricky for iOS users as you can't set a default SMS app. You are tied to Messages by Apple. While you can still get the app I'm about to mention on iOS, it may get annoying having to control two apps for the people that won't switch over. Anyway, I recommend switching to Signal. Signal features end-to-end encryption, so no middle-man can intercept your messages.
Google Chrome - Installing Google Chrome is basically like letting a peeping tom into your house, but in the realm of computers. I actually recommend against using Firefox due to shady practices (See: Mr. Robot scandal), and other malicious-looking actions. In the meantime, for day-to-day browsing I recommend Waterfox. For special occasions I recommend using the Tor Browser Bundle.
Any sketchy, free VPN, or no VPN - A free VPN is generally bad to use, as they can see everything you're doing online, they can see exactly where you're going and what you're doing. A paid VPN based outside of the United States or any Five Eyes country is the best choice you have. My recommendation is ProtonVPN. There is a free tier to ProtonVPN, and like ProtonMail the free version is paid for by the paying users of the service. Another service for more tech-savvy people is Algo VPN, a personal self-ran VPN service. (Recommended by @coop__soup)
Windows 10 - If you like to play certain games like Fortnite or PUBG, then you may want to dual-boot Windows 10 and Linux. Anyway, Windows 10 is a giant spying system, at the very least, install Ubuntu. If you really need privacy and anonymity, use Tails.