Who Do You Trust?
You know that Facebook and Google are spying on you - so you don't trust them.
But we - the volunteers who run Friendica's public servers - are urging you to consider the trust you place in us, too.
Using a Friendica site is an important first step towards safeguarding your data from commercial, political and criminal abuse. You are showing that you object to being a product, that you don’t trust centralized services that exploit users' information. You are showing that your communication with your friends is your business - and no one else's. And you are doing something sensible about it.
But are you doing everything possible by using a public site?
Can't we be trusted?
No, we’re not suggesting that we don't trust ourselves or each other. We're not saying that we abuse your data. And as volunteers offering public sites, we are actually very proud of the fact that you have shown implicit trust in us by using our services.
All the same, we’re asking you to think this through. Maybe you’ll feel even better if you go the whole hog and protect your data even more radically. So though you are very welcome to stay, we would like you to spend a few moments considering what really safeguards your privacy.
Do you know who’s in charge?
Right now, you are trusting a stranger to run your communications infrastructure and host your private information – a well-intentioned stranger most probably, but a stranger nonetheless.
That begs a question: If you don’t know the person who is storing your data, how do you know what he or she will do in a personal crisis? Do you know what's going to happen to your information if that person can't look after it any more? Do you know how that person remembers admin passwords? Do you have any form of guarantee that your admin isn't reading your messages all along?
Once again, we are reasonably confident that our public admins are treating your property responsibly. But no one’s promise is as good as your own. In a nutshell: Do you trust a stranger as much as you would trust yourself? We hope that you don't!
What can you do?
The less well you know someone, the less you can be sure that your trust is wisely invested. Only the person in control of your site can vouch for your privacy and freedom. No manifesto, charter, contract or law will ever really protect you. Only the hard facts on the ground can do that.
Maybe you have good friends or family who are more technically inclined than you are – and we have little doubt that you can trust them, too. And that is why we think the very best thing you can do is to run a Friendica site of your own – or join one run by a person close to you or a community you belong to.
We have information about easy installation here. If you need help getting started, just ask us - or go to Friendica Support. If you still don't feel confident enough to try self-hosting, take a look here for more information about our #friendshostfriends program.
Why we are saying this
To reiterate: You are very welcome to stay. But we don't want to become a miniature Facebook or Google+. We don't want any power over you. We are offering our services because we care about your future and our future, because we reject exploitation of users' data by the existing monopolies and want to offer a way out. That is why we're thrilled to see you here. But it's also why we urge you to take control yourself as soon as you can. Getting on a small, private site you can really trust is much easier than you think!