Anti-recommendations section, what do you think?

Hello, all!

I wonder what PTIO team and community think about creating “anti-recommendations” section.
I imagine it would list services/software which claims to be “pro-privacy”, but which really are not, with a brief explanation of why it is the case.

Just for example:
Epic Privacy Browser

  • claims to be open-source, though code is accessible only “on request basis”
  • built-in VPN is US located
  • not truly de-Googlized (though claims to be), at least according to my firewall it goes to on start (not opens the page, but does so silently)

What do you think would such section be useful, redundant, not needed?


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There are thousands of things that are so bad, so much so they’re not worth really mentioning. As a result people usually don’t bother, because they don’t use them.

Unless of course they have some specific reason why they have been forced to use some product. Zoom would be an example of that and people talk about it all the time.

Some esoteric web browser nobody cares about, probably hasn’t gotten anyone interested, especialy when there’s better choices out there.

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I’d rather have people talk about their love for privacy respecting stuff rather than their hate for privacy violating stuff. Its just less toxic that way, also better for the forum mod’s sanity. (Thank you guys.)

They say dont talk about stuff that you dont want to be famous
cough Kardasians cough

I’d rather have useful things populating my mind’s attention rather than other useless things

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i’m not one of teams so i can’t do anything but i think it will be useless ? i mean most of sites “recommends” to you things not opposite so it will be just not making little sense but same time i love idea at least i will have proofs that what’sapp is bad when i try convince my friend so i like this idea

i know my opinion mixed above :joy: but i would like that idea

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PRISM Break has avoid and prefer for recommendations.


But it also doesn’t elaborate as to why, likewise it doesn’t have any reasons as to why you should use something.

I noticed they recommend Kolabnow, which doesn’t support MTA-STS. MTA-STS helps prevent doiwngrade attacks. They do DANE verification, however there are providers namely the big ones, (gmail, yahoo, outlook) which do not do DANE, and won’t ever for technical reasons.

It’s nice to see they finally stopped recommending The SMS network should be avoided as it leaks metadata all over the place.


I agree it is basic and doesn’t elaborate etc. I thought it was an interesting reference if Privacy Tools considered doing this. Although it could be a bit too controversial.


Uh oh. Is it because they havent updated anything in a while? I just realized F-Droid havent updated that since I used it last year. Maybe I should let Signal rehandle the SMS in my phone. Is there anything better than Signal as the default SMS client?

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Perhaps, I did not clearly conveyed my idea.
I am proposing not to list every software out there that you should not use.

My idea is to mention software that claims to be “private”, but is really not (with explanation as to why it is not advised to use it).

Another example of such case would be Brave browser. As it was listed and them was DE-listed - it might confuse some people. As I see it - mentioning it in Web Browsers section, with brief caveats why not to use it, might be helpful (same thing for Wire, by the way).

Because, obviously, people won’t use ONLY software recommended by PTIO, and in the same time it is impossible to list all the good choices out there. So a person might find some thing, which claims to be “pro-privacy” and decide to try it, and mentioning the most prominent of “falsely private” pieces of software, might help.

Generally the reason is the same. Closed source software cannot be verified.

This might be a good idea, perhaps you could suggest it in the bottom of

Thats a good way to start a flame war in these forums. If paid services are involved, the PTIO group could be involved in a lawsuit involving defamation/slander/libel, etc. and I’m sure no one wants that kind of headache.

Lawsuits involving defamation/slander/libel = censorship

Imagine a restaurant that puts ebola in their food gets a negative review and then they threaten to sue that person. You really think we should hide the truth from everyone. You really think we should just let people use shit browsers like epic without even warning them that they force “protection” by not allowing for addons or changing your default search engine and lie about being open source in their faq.

I’ve heard people say Avast were the good guys which is stupid because they obviously spy on you (it’s probably how they make their $$$). The AV software installs a bunch of bloat (all of it is opt-out) including multiple web browsers like Chrome and their own browser. I remember using it once a few years ago and it detected Searx as a “malicious” search plugin and forcibly removed it. There is nothing wrong with Searx. It’s censorship. They only want you to use Google.

Then there’s the software which claims to free you from corporate surveillance yet they are still dependent on the corpos and feed on them. I’m talking about Startpage, all search engines based on Bing, UnGoogled Chromium, Iridium, GNU IceCat, LibreWolf, Invidious, and Nitter. We need more services that don’t rely on Google, Microsoft, or Mozilla to do shit. Mojeek may be inferior to some other privacy-respecting search engines but it should never be delisted. Pale Moon not worth mentioning because it’s “outdated”? Okay I get it. You don’t like PM. PrivacyToolsIO is supposed to be for people who are new to privacy, so we should just teach them to feed the large corporations that have ruined the internet without feeding them. Use private versions of them. Use Startpage instead of Google. Use Firefox (controlled opposition which will someday be bought by Google) instead of Chrome.

What happens when Firefox surrenders to Google and starts basing itself off Chrome? It’s happened to Opera and Microsoft Edge. It will happen to Firefox, and when Firefox dies, so will GNU IceCat, LibreWolf, and Waterfox. Pale Moon will be the only browser left not controlled by Google. What will you do then? Surrender to Google or recommend a browser that’s “insecure and outdated based off a 20 yr old version of firefox and will forever be behind in security updates”.

If Pale Moon gets listed as an anti-recommendation, then PrivacyToolsIO has been compromised and can no longer be trusted.

The site isn’t about ideology, its about recommending usable products which improve privacy. There’s a good reason we don’t recommend things which are really alpha-quality and unusable. We also don’t make recommendations based on pure speculation.

That sounds like “if I lose the election, the other side cheated” :wink:.

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This is exactly my point why anti-recommendation will generate a lot of argumentative posts from shunned fans of that blacklist. Thank you for being the example.

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I think this makes sense. It standardizes approach and pretty much should be the scale where we judge the merits of a software or service. It should simplify things on our side and just let people refer to this when people question inclusion/exclusion criteria.

It wouldn’t actually, as anything that got an “anti recommendations” would not have passed initial research phase, so it wouldn’t even progress to any question asking phase.

I recommend a central location for all questions and answers (by category) so consumers (and services) can see for themselves why a service has or has not been recommended. Not meeting published criteria would be obvious, and labeling something “anti-recommendation” wouldn’t be necessary. It would be understood based on objective data.

Another benefit: Having published criteria for inclusion instills trust. Showing the basis for decisions on ALL services helps remove any concerns over bias, whether in fact or appearance.