If you have applications installed on your cell phone – whether games, news or fitness apps – it’s likely that you’re unknowingly sending data about your identity, preferences or physical location to Google, Facebook and load of other companies.
Those apps are using trackers to collect the more information they can.
Why you should protect yourself from trackers
You research a disease once and then see ads for drugs and procedures for months. Sound familiar? Blocking trackers keeps the ads from following you.
Online stores can use the data collected by the trackers to offer you higher prices based on your recent purchases. If you block the trackers, your shopping habits will remain private.
IPs, location, devices and browsers used, time spent on websites, political views, family, food preferences and many other data form your digital profile. Block trackers to prevent this.
Three ways to protect against trackers
You should only use a secure web browser rather than install apps, which are totally out of your controls. And if you need to install apps, don’t install any apps…
Use a secure web browser
Browsers have a reputation for harvesting your data, serving you ads, and tracking you as you move across different sites. That’s why you need to carefully select your browser. And once you got one, you need to use it rather than using multiple untrusted apps.
Brave is a free, privacy-first browser available on all major operating systems. Brave comes with automatic unlikable bounce tracking (known as Brave Shields), to stop cross-site tracking as you move around the web.
It is highly efficient and recognised as the most respectful browser, ahead of Firefox and Duckduckgo. So replacing today Google Chrome by Brave would clearly be a good start, and a very clever idea.
Check your apps
For the apps than can not be replaced by browsable websites, then have a look to εxodus prior installing anything on your mobile.
εxodus analyzes Android applications and list the embedded trackers.which collect data about you or your usages. εxodus reports tell you what are the secret ingredients of the cake.
Don’t download your blocker from App Store
As you know, installing apps on Android should be installed from play store, which guarantee their integrity. But tracker blocking apps should be installing directly from developer website, through APK files, when you trust them.
Because those apps can not embed tracker blocking features if they are published on the Google Play Store. Let’s take two examples: NordVPN or PIA VPN. Good paid VPN services in addition of anonymising and encrypting your traffic also filter trackers through DNS analysis. APKs of those apps include great features not available on the Play Store: Threat protection (NordVPN) and MACE feature (PIA VPN).
This feature offers you a second layer or protection, provided you do not download these apps on the Google Play Store. (note: such feature are usually available on paid VPN services only)
Here is a selection a apps or service to regain your privacy. We selected apps, as much as possible free, open source, ad free, tracker free (or with the lower number of trackers in their category).
Brave private browser
Brave is a browser that blocks trackers and ads by default and protects your online privacy. Free, open source and tracker free. Brace is better than Firefox and Duckduckgo. Avoid Chrome or Safari.
Duckduckgo search engine
Searching the web with DuckDuckGo Search is completely anonymous; as it never saves or shares any personal information that could tie you back to your searches. For example, your IP addresses or any other unique identifiers in search logs are not stored. StartPage is not bad either. Avoid Google or Bing.
Data storage services and apps
pCloud secure storage
pCloud is a secure cloud storage service that offers up to 10 GB of free storage, encryption, and collaboration features for your photos and files. One-time payment only, storage for a lifetime. Datacenters are in Europe (Luxemburg). Free (10 GB), not open source, contains 3 trackers. Avoid Google Drive, OneDrive, etc…
Cryptomator is a free end-to-end encryption software, for cloud-optimized encrypted storage of files, compatible with pCloud, and which can also be used locally. Free on computer (not free on phone), open source, tracker free.
Session anonymous messenger
Session is a private messenger that lets you send messages without revealing your identity or metadata. Free, open source and tracker free. Avoid Whatsapp (which is a facebook app).
Signal E2EE (but not anonymous)
Signal is an independent nonprofit, free and open source messenger application, state-of-the-art end-to-end encryption. However it required your phone number and is therefore not anonymous. Free, open source and tracker free.
E-Mail services and apps
Infomaniak, not encrypted mail service
ik mail is a web mail service which is not encrypted service, wholly developed and hosted in Switzerland. The service is advertising-free and privacy-friendly. Free (20 GB), ad-free, tracker free. Avoid Gmail and also note that their client app contains 1 tracker (so better use K-9 Mail below).
K-9 Mail client (for not encrypted mail)
K-9 Mail is an open source email client focused on making it easy to chew through large volumes of email. The style is neat and very compact. It works well any mail service including ik mail. Free, open source, tracker free.
ProtonMail encrypted mail service
Proton Mail is a email service that uses end-to-end encryption and zero-access encryption to protect your communications. Free (1 GB), open source and tracker free.
Weawow meteo widget
Weawow is a weather app enhanced by beautiful weather-related photos taken by photographers around the world and offer great widgets. Free, not open source, tracker free.
OSMAnd offline map
OsmAnd is a free and independent app that uses the OpenStreetMap (OSM) map database for its primary displays. You can upload your GPX tracks. Free (10 offline maps), open source and tracker free.
Feeder RSS reader
Feeder help your read your favorite content. All in one place stay up to date with what is relevant to you. Free, open source, tracker free.
Bitdefender free antivirus
Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition is blazing fast anti virus that make sure that your apps are clean, and don’t contain any malware, adware, spyware, etc…. It is low on battery and on CPU. Free, open source, 4 trackers.
Bitwarden passwords manager
Bitwarden is a password management service that stores sensitive information such as website credentials in an encrypted vault. Free (unlimited passwords and devices), open source, 3 trackers.
2FAS TOTP generator
2FAS adds a second layer of security for your online accounts. This works by generating one-time passwords on your mobile devices which can be used in conjunction with your normal password to make your login nearly impossible to hack. Free, open source, 1 tracker.
PIA VPN is the most configurable VPN on the market, letting you set up your connection just the way you like. No log policy. Not free but very competitive price, open-source protocols (WireGuard® and OpenVPN), tracker free. Be aware this service is based in the US.
Norton App Locker
Norton App Locker will request you to identify prior accessing sensitive have you have selected. Free, not open source, 2 trackers.
Open source tracker free, is essential. Don’t go for default Google solution and other GAFAM tracking. Regain your privacy. And help grow this list of apps.