“When it’s free, you are the product.” For the longest time, many users did not seem to care about their privacy, and were happily giving away their data in exchange for free products and services, which were usually powered by advertising. Such arrangements have powered the rise of tech giants such as Facebook and Google.
The latter has just been fined 50 million euros for breaking EU privacy laws. This is the biggest fine yet to be issued by a European regulator for a company violating GDPR regulations, but probably not the last.
The tide is turning, and these recent scandals and numerous data leaks have made people more conscious of the way their data is being used, and who it is being shared with. It has become more and more acceptable for a product to ask for a small fee in exchange for a guarantee that the user’s privacy will be respected.
Here are five privacy-first products made for indie makers, which you can use either for yourself or for your business.
Get your users’ consent
Don’t let what happened to Google happen to you. There are many tools today that allow you that you are getting your users’ genuine consent to use their data in the way you need to in order to power your product or service.
GDPR Button by Lisa Gradow, for example, is a one-stop-shop consent management solution. Users can opt-in into different categories of data and corresponding usage, and can easily access their privacy settings and change their preferences whenever they want.
Respect their privacy
Yes, we all need data about our website’s usage to know how we can improve them. But do we really need all the granular data tracked by most analytics software?
Enters Simple Analytics, created by Adriaan van Rossum, which focuses on the essentials: page views, referrers, top pages, and screen sizes. Simple Analytics do not collect any personal data.
Clean-up your inbox without sharing your data
Spam messages account for half of all email traffic worldwide. Unwanted subscriptions can also be a huge distraction, and make it impossible to get to the ever elusive inbox zero. Leave Me Alone let’s you clean your inbox from these spam emails, without ever storing or sharing any of your data. Unlike existing solutions that sell your data to marketers, they make their commitment to privacy central to their product approach.
“We think that consumers’ expectations regarding privacy are changing,” explains Danielle, the co-founder, when asked why they decided to build this product. “Users are no longer willing to consent to companies using their data for profit, and are actively rebelling against those that do. Privacy scandals and data breaches are becoming public knowledge and users are starting to seek out products that value their personal data.”
Don’t let too many people join the conversation
Lots of popular solutions to manage comments on your website use ads as a business model. As a result, the content of the comment is shared with third-parties, usually without the consent of the end-user. CommentBox by Shaun Persad is a privacy-first alternative which promises no ads, no tracking, and no sharing of personal data.
Keep your home private
Yes, many of us love Google Home and Amazon Alexa. How cool is it to turn on the lights or play some music just by using your voice? We are living in the future.
But in order for those speakers to work, they need to listen. Of course, both Amazon and Google consider privacy a high priority, and their assistants should only start recording after they have heard their respective wake word. But some users maintain privacy concerns.
Gladys, created by Pierre-Gilles Leymarie, is an open-source home assistant with a focus on privacy. Gladys runs on your Raspberry Pi and seamlessly communicates across your entire home network and your devices while checking you calendar. No information-sharing with third-parties or obscure use of your data.
Looking for more privacy-first products? You can explore Privacy-First Products by Adriaan – the same one who founded Simple Analytics – or explore a list of alternatives to Google products on No More Google