You told your partner that you worked late yesterday, but Google knows that's not true. You've been worrying for weeks about the tiredness that doesn't want to go away and the aching in your chest when you lie in bed in the evening. You haven't told anyone about it.
Only Google knows. The company knows what you do, where you are going, what you like, what is on your mind - better than anyone in your life. And it knows almost everything about the people in your life better than you. But Google has known about me for 15 years: nothing.
Many people are suspicious of Google's data collection, journalists and activists regularly warn against it. But very few turn their backs on Google. They ask all the questions of their life to Google search, and they carry Google around with their smartphone wherever they go.
They plan the way there with Google Maps, they send their emails with Gmail, and their apps come from Google's Play Store. They also contain trackers that collect data for Google. This is not only bad for users, but it is also dangerous for society, as it leads straight into a dystopia - more on that later.
The then Google CEO Eric Schmidt said in 2010: "We can more or less know what you are thinking." This need not be because it's not that complicated as I live without Google.
This is not a two-month self-experiment, but 15 years of my life as a privacy advocate. 15 years in which not every click was logged and not every input was evaluated. Good years - I do not lack for anything. On the other hand, Google and several other corporations lack a lot of data about me.
From Scroogle to Startpage and Duckduckgo.
My cord cutting process started when I switched search engines. Because of this alone, Google finds out exactly what interests people in general and at the moment. In addition, the group can even predict the spread of influenza waves faster than the responsible authorities - and is similarly accurate.
The Google Flu Trends project was discontinued after a while, but it illustrates how many options are open to Google by evaluating the search queries collected.
In any case, I didn't want to have anything to do with Google search. With just a few clicks, I switched the standard search engine in the browser from Google to Scroogle, the search engine of the Google critic Daniel Brandt. The name Scroogle was a combination of Google and Charles Dickens's fictional character Scrooge, a rich misanthrope.
Scroogle.org ultimately acted as a proxy and simply forwarded the entered search queries to Google. The company did not receive any data, but the users still got the Google search results.
Scroogle stopped its service in 2013, but I had switched to the Startpage.com search engine (formerly Ixquick), which works in the same way as Scroogle. Startpage is also financed by advertising, but unlike Google, this is simply displayed for the current search term without data being collected in the background and a profile being created.
The fact that the data is not collected and evaluated is particularly relevant for search engines because users are difficult to cheat but have to honestly state what is on their mind. Otherwise, the search results are useless.
The fact that advertising can also be implemented in a privacy-friendly way is shown not only by Startpage but also by Duckduckgo.com, a search engine that works on the same principle but primarily relies on search results from Microsoft's Bing.
Duckduckgo is already stored in the settings in most browsers and can simply be selected as the default search engine. Startpage can be added via a browser extension or in Firefox via a click in the address bar.
Search comfort without Google.
The search results are mainly comparable to Google or Bing, as they ultimately come from these providers. If they are bad, it is often the search terms entered and not the search engine. This is what happened to a friend of mine who searched something using duckduckgo and received poor search results. He blamed it on the privacy-friendly search engine he used by default and switched to Google. But the search results were just as bad, and he had to adjust his search terms.
In addition to the classic search for text, images, videos, or news, Duckduckgo in particular also offers many of the convenience functions of Google search. This includes the infoboxes, which are mostly filled with information from Wikipedia. When searching for places, Duckduckgo shows a map like Google, shows restaurants and their ratings, provides a weather forecast, or tries to answer questions - in my experience, however, no search engine does the latter particularly well, including Google.
However, you have to do without a few things: For example, the search results are not sorted according to the interest profile that Google created about you.
According to Statista, the provider still has a global market share of 86 percent on the desktop, but the alternative search engines have been gaining users for years and have multiplied their search queries.
Duckduckgo's market share has increased almost tenfold since 2016 but is currently still negligible at around one percent.
Changing the search engine brings a clear and, above all, simple gain in privacy. But the other Google services also need to be replaced or avoided. And that's pretty easy too. Let's get rid of Google Maps first.
Arrive safely without Google.
Google not only shows us the way on the Internet, but many people can also hardly find their way around in real life without Google Maps. After all, around a billion people are said to use the service at least once a month. Whether to friends, to the bar, to the doctor, or to the rapid test center, Google shows us the way there - and thus knows where we are going. None of this is actually none of the company's business, is it?
I can't find it, and here to I started looking for an alternative. With Openstreetmap (OSM), there is a map that, like Wikipedia, is supplemented and updated by volunteers. In addition to maps from the community available, mostly state map data was and is used. As the name suggests, the project is open to everyone - without any tracking or advertising.
At first, the map at Openstreetmap.org still had a problem: Although most of the routes and a lot of information were included, at least on Openstreetmap.org there was no routing option. So you had to find the routes by hand, similar to how you did with the travel atlas in the last century. Or you had to use an external service.
In the beginning, using Openstreetmap was a little less convenient than using Google Maps. However, that changed in 2015 when Openstreetmap.org integrated a corresponding function that works just as comfortably as that of Google Maps.
For a satellite map, I use the Duckduckgo map service on the desktop, which uses the map material and the Apple satellite map - but privacy-friendly via a Duckduckgo proxy.
From the paper sketch to the smartphone.
At least for short distances, for example, when I was giving a lecture on digital self-defense or surveillance, I simply sketched the route from the train station to the place of the lecture on a piece of paper that I could then take with me. In the days before the smartphone - some people may not even remember it - that was the first choice next to a printout.
However, my paper has long since given way to the Osmand map app. In contrast to the Google Maps app, this works completely offline. The corresponding map material can be downloaded beforehand; for Berlin, for example, this is around 70 MByte. You can then use it to navigate, set favorites, and find cafes or supermarkets in the area - which you can do with a map app.
As a matter of principle, Osmand does not offer additional services that Google can offer through the data it collects via tracking, for example, where traffic jams form - however, it does not monitor and is open source, which means that everyone can view the associated source code and develop it further.
However, it took until 2014 until I even had a smartphone and could use Osmand because I am fundamentally skeptical about the devices.
The smartphone is a data collection machine.
A classic smartphone from the online shop or the electronics store around the corner was out of the question for me. After all, Android is the most frequently used smartphone operating system from Google - with all the conceivable disadvantages of deep integration of a data collector into a mobile operating system.
In addition, conventional Android smartphones not only share extensive data with Google, from the apps used and the location to call lists. They often monitor their users with so-called bloatware, which manufacturers like Samsung or Xiaomi preinstall on their smartphones. For example, the browser on Xiaomi smartphones sends every website visited and search query to the smartphone manufacturer.
Companies you don't even know everything about you.
As if that weren't enough, most apps from the Google Play Store contain trackers, some in the mid-double-digit range. A study by the Norwegian Consumer Protection Association published in January 2020 looked at ten popular dating apps, including Tinder and OkCupid, and found 135 tracking services in the apps.
Among other things, sexual habits and preferences, drug use and political views, as well as the location, were forwarded to tracking services. What exactly happens to the data is incomprehensible.
It looks similar to most other apps. Even the applications of the public broadcasters, the railways, or password managers such as Lastpass to health apps that actively advertise data protection contain trackers. In some cases, forward every entry to Facebook or Google - including extremely sensitive health data such as the symptoms entered.
To be able to link the data collected from the various apps - for example, sexual preferences, dating behavior, and symptoms of illness - with smartphone users, the trackers also transmit the device-specific advertising ID.
If the name and address have been entered in an app, they can be associated with the supposedly anonymously used health app via the advertising ID - and with all other apps in which the respective tracking service is integrated. That way, companies you've never heard of know the most intimate things about you - and sell that information on.
Trade in smartphone location data is flourishing.
For example, there are several retailers of location data that they receive from various apps and resell. US authorities are also customers of such dealers and use the data for monitoring and law enforcement purposes. You circumvent the required search warrant for location data of US citizens at telephone companies.
Even supposedly anonymous location data can easily be associated with a person again if you know where they are typically located - for example, their place of residence or work. From this, the other places where the person has stayed can then be inferred.
Just recently, a case showed how such collections of location data could be misused: A Catholic priest was tracked using such data and outed as a visitor to gay bars and as a user of the Grindr dating app, which is aimed at homosexuals, bisexuals, and transsexuals.
As a result of the outing, the priest resigned from his position as general secretary of the US Bishops' Conference (USCCB). A case that should give every smartphone user something to think about. Fortunately, there is another way.
A google smartphone for a google free life.
Of course, a smartphone has invaluable advantages, simply because you can organize your everyday life when you are out and about. From the train journey to short research to the route for the next bike tour - all no problem. As mentioned, even I wanted a smartphone at some point, but not a device that monitors me every step of the way and shares everything that concerns me with dubious companies - almost as if a Trojan horse had been installed on me when I bought it.
It was only when I discovered the alternative Android operating system Replicant in 2014, which is not only Google and surveillance-free but also relies entirely on free software, that I managed to buy one of the supported smartphones: the Galaxy Nexus from Samsung - and Google. Ironically, Google smartphones are one of the best ways to live google-free.
Like all alternative Androids, Replicant is ultimately based on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), the free basis of Android, from which your own mobile operating systems can be created.
At first, I was enthusiastic about Replicant. Still, in my opinion, the system had two problems: On the one hand, updates were rarely published, which in some cases led to a horrendous number of unresolved security holes. On the other hand, the complete waiver of non-free software meant that there was no 3D acceleration (the system was correspondingly slow) and that the non-free drivers for WLAN and Co. had to be installed manually with each update.
In 2016, I, therefore, switched to the then best-known alternative, Android Cyanogenmod (now Lineage OS), which delivered Android security updates faster, more reliably, and longer than some smartphone manufacturers. Otherwise, the differences to ordinary smartphones were slight and mostly positive. Or in short: If you can get by with Android, you will also get along with Cyanogenmod / Lineage OS without any problems.
But with GrapheneOS and CalyxOS, there are now two alternative Androids that offer significantly more data protection and security, but at the same time are more comfortable than Lineage OS and some manufacturer Android. I chose GrapheneOS (test) because it focuses on security and data protection and offers several security functions that make it difficult, for example, to exploit security gaps and zero days.
CalyxOS (test) combines data protection with convenience and can be brought into a directly usable state even without prior knowledge of alternative app stores, apps, and tinkering. A smartphone with CalyxOS can also be handed to less tech-savvy people without hesitation.
As with GrapheneOS, only a few apps are preinstalled, but a selection of privacy-friendly apps is suggested on the welcome screen. In addition, backups created via seed vault can be imported, which simplifies the change from one smartphone to another. The convenient backup software was developed by CalyxOS and can now also be found in GrapheneOS and LineageOS.
No google apps, no problem.
Regardless of which of the three alternative androids is used, there is still one striking difference to androids that you buy: There are no Google apps on the smartphone operating system. This means that the advertising ID, which is part of Google's Play Store, which I am replacing with F-Droid, as with Replicant, is also a thing of the past.
The alternative app store does not require registration and offers open source apps without tracking and monitoring. Sometimes the trackers are removed separately before the apps are listed under F-Droid. If the apps have problematic functions or use external services such as YouTube, this is explicitly pointed out as an anti-feature.
The switch to F-Droid means that you can install apps without trackers collecting personal and intimate data for dodgy companies. But it also means that there are significantly fewer apps than in the Play Store. Since I had never used any other store, I didn't have to replace a beloved app either.
However, there are fully-fledged alternatives for most apps and services. For example, the apps Transport or Public Transport are recommended for local public transport, and Osmand, which has already been introduced, is recommended for maps and routes. Altogether, they bring users to their destination without Google.
K9-Mail or Fairemail take care of the emails - and unlike some other email apps from the Play Store, they do not pass on the access data for the mail account to the app manufacturer. The well-known VLC player also plays everything on Android, and many, many other apps replace Google services and tracker-infected apps from the Play Store.
For me, apps from the Google Play Store are basically out of the question, but in the past, it has helped some people willing to switch that they can still get one or the other beloved app from the Play Store via the Aurora Store contained in F-Droid, that you cannot do without. So that the related apps get less data, they can be isolated using the app shelter.
No agony when choosing a messenger.
For a long time, it was difficult to choose a messenger. Signal (formerly Textsecure) has been a suitable messenger since 2014. In contrast to most other messengers, it works according to the zero-knowledge principle, which means that the provider himself knows as little as possible about the users and what they are doing on the platform.
However, Signal could not be used google-free. Because the messenger only used Google Cloud Messaging (GCM) to send push messages - for example, when a message was available. However, there is no GCM on Google-free smartphones, so Signal could not be used.
From the beginning of 2016, I was able to use Signal in the form of Libresignal because a few developers had modified the Signal app in such a way that the messages were simply fetched directly from the Signal server via web sockets - a function that was implemented anyway, as the desktop Signal variant had to get by without a push service.
After a long dispute between Signal's main developer Moxie Marlinspike and several other developers, Signal suddenly released a version in early 2017 that also worked without Google and was also available outside the Play Store. On top of that, the app has since offered an update service that is independent of Google. This means that Signal can also be used completely google-free.
Of course, there are other messengers that also work without Google. I've also had Threema on my smartphone since it was published as open source. A decentralized alternative that does not work according to the zero knowledge principle like Signal and Threema is Matrix with the Element app (formerly Riot).
Nextcloud instead of Google Cloud.
A messenger is, therefore, relatively easy to find. The following important topic is the cloud. There is no question that the cloud is useful for quickly sharing vacation photos, working together on a project, or even storing encrypted backups. The appointment calendar can also be wonderfully synchronized between different devices via a cloud.
But cloud ultimately just means that the data is stored on other people's computers - which you have to trust. Of course, I don't entrust my data to the Google Cloud but rely on the open source software Nextcloud. This can either be installed on a server yourself or rented from various providers. With the Nextbox, a small black metal box with a Raspberry Pi and an SSD working inside, the Nextcloud can even be operated in the living room without extensive technical knowledge.
With Nextcloud, all common cloud tasks can be done without any problems. For example, the already mentioned backup software Seedvault supports the backup of the Android system in your own cloud. For some years now, Nextcloud has been expanded extensively via apps, up to an online office or an instance for video telephony.
I don't use either of these, however, as I rarely write my articles online with colleagues, and then mostly in so-called pads, in which you can collaborate. And for video telephony, I use Signal or Jitsi.
But with all the messengers and video telephony, one shouldn't forget the somewhat outdated but still important digital means of communication: email. But it too often ends up on Google servers and is scanned there.
Better to email without Gmail.
My first email account was at Web.de. I'm not exactly sure when I put it on, probably in the late 90s. At that time, you still got a letter - the paper version, not the electronic one - to confirm your home address. After a friend jokingly signed me up for a newsletter on a disreputable website, I got so much spam that the few other emails I received at the time were completely lost. In the absence of a good spam filter, the email address became unusable.
I ended up at Posteo through a detour via an email service operated by Greenpeace Energy that has since been discontinued. The provider also operates its servers with green electricity and attaches great importance to data protection. Instead of paying with my data, I pay Posteo with regular money: the email inbox costs one euro a month. There are similar things from Mailbox.org and Tutanota.
In addition to the commercial email offer, I also use email addresses for technology collectives. They are run by activists for activists and are financed through donations. Usually, you only get a mailbox at the invitation of existing users. I also try, where possible, to encrypt the emails end-to-end with PGP.
Gmail doesn't read my mail.
I'm glad I didn't grow up with Gmail and couldn't click a Gmail account as a teenager - simply because the service didn't exist back then. With Gmail, Google has shown over the years how much the company disregards the privacy of users and non-users alike: every email - no matter how private, no matter how intimate - was scanned and used as a data repository for Google's personalized advertising.
But not only the users were affected who had clicked on a mailbox on Gmail and thus at least agreed to the data protection-hostile terms and conditions - even if they had probably not read them and most of the time they were unaware of the evaluation of their emails; All people with whom the Gmail users exchanged emails were also affected because these were also scanned.
It was not until the summer of 2017 that Google announced that it would no longer scan emails for personalized advertising purposes - probably because of ongoing complaints and class actions. However, Google continues to scan the emails for other reasons, for example, to check for child pornography. However, Google also leaves many other evaluation scenarios open, for example, who you are in contact with. Because, strictly speaking, Google's services are not free at all.
Google makes good money on you.
Google's motto has always been: "You can't compete with free," i.e., why should someone pay money for services when they are supposedly free around the corner. But the approximately 135,000 Google employees, several data centers around the world, including intercontinental submarine cables, and the profit for the shareholders have to be refinanced somehow.
Although we make money by selling products like Google Pixel Phones, apps in the Google Play Store, Youtube subscriptions and tools for companies, advertising is our main source of income, "explains Google on its website. Ultimately, it is probably the largest Advertising Company in the World: Of the $ 160.7 billion in 2019, $ 135 billion was generated from the advertising business.
And revenue is increasing: In the second quarter of 2021 alone, Google generated $ 50 billion in sales with its advertising business, thus providing the majority of the $ 62 billion in sales by parent company Alphabet. Of that, almost a third, at 18 billion US dollars, was a profit. For a long time, Google has not just played advertising but markets its users.
Google users are sold in real time.
The group auctions their current and general interests at so-called real-time auctions (RTB for short). While a person visits a website, companies bid for the advertising space and the person to whom it is displayed - i.e., you.
According to Google, it includes, for example, current and past search queries and the types of websites you have visited or what you have done while you were logged into Google services. "Activities in mobile applications on your device" and activities on other devices are also included - in short: almost everything you do.
The power of memory and Google's tracking on porn sites.
A few years ago, when I was still studying at the University of Tübingen, I learned how strongly one could be influenced by so-called retargeting. At the computer pool there, I hadn't adjusted my Firefox as usual for more data protection (more on that later). I looked at USB sticks at an online retailer. Instead of buying one, I wanted to do my homework research again but was reminded of my favorite USB stick on every website I visited until I almost bought it.
In this way, Google also influences non-users when surfing the Internet usually. Because Google does not only consist of its services for end users but also services for website operators, for example, they can use Google Analytics to monitor and evaluate the behavior of their users on their websites: What interests the users and what doesn't? Which parts of the page do you take a closer look at, at which points do you leave the website? Google then presents all of this more or less clearly in graphs - the operators can optimize their website.
But in addition to the operator, who now knows in detail what his users are doing on the website, Google also receives all this data. Not just from one website, however, but from a large part of the pages on the Internet - and Google can link this information and thus not only knows what a person has been up to on one website but also on others and completely different ones.
This also applies to porn sites, for example. In 2019, a study looked at 22,484 porn offers on trackers. 93 percent of the pages sent data to an average of seven third parties. Google was involved in 74 percent of the cases. The rate in the rest of the web is likely to be similarly high. Accordingly, Google knows a lot about people who explicitly do not use Google services.
But here, too, one is by no means powerless, and with a few browser extensions and settings, Google can largely go blind.
Ban Google from the Internet.
For example, cookies from third-party sites can be blocked in the settings of all common browsers. This means that only the visited page can set cookies and no longer the external content from Google or Facebook that is often integrated for tracking.
Since Google, Facebook, and other tracking companies are integrated into many websites, they can read out their cookies again and again and thus track Internet users' paths from website to website. I have never had problems with the prohibition of third-party cookies. However, there are a number of other ways of recognizing a user on the Internet.
That is why the browser extension Ublock Origin has proven itself, which blocks the scripts integrated for tracking. Without tracking software, there is no over-the-shoulder looking through Google. Ublock Origin relies on filter lists that are maintained by various companies and volunteers. However, depending on how many of the available lists are activated, surfing problems can occur. Most of the time, however, everything works with the default settings. In addition, the extension can be deactivated for a website with two clicks.
In addition to tracking, Ublock Origin also blocks advertisements, the financing model of the websites and services accessed. So if you want to continue to use and support certain pages, you can set up exceptions for them.
In order to support news sites, in particular, I have taken out several so-called pure subscriptions. For a monthly fee, the websites can then be used without advertising or tracking - and items like this one can still be refinanced. Some news sites - such as Golem.de and Ars Technica - also offer full-text RSS feeds on subscription.
Google's Chrome browser has privacy issues.
This is also worth considering because Google wants to hinder tracking blockers in the future: From January 2023, tools such as Ublock Origin will no longer work fully with Google's Chrome browser, as Google has restricted the corresponding interfaces.
This is not the only reason why alternatives to Chrome should be considered, which has already had a number of scandals around user privacy in the past. The browser is closely linked to Google's services. For example, logging in to a Google service also leads by default to logging in with a Google account in the Chrome browser. However, this puts the browser in a completely different mode: data is no longer only processed locally but can also be transferred to Google servers.
If users activate the syncing service in Chrome so that multiple browsers are always at the same level, bookmarks, downloads, plugins, browser history, saved passwords, cookies, offline data from websites, and individual entries in form fields are transferred to the Google server.
In contrast to other browsers, they are stored there unencrypted by default and evaluated by Google. The very personal and security-relevant data often allow conclusions to be drawn about very intimate things such as religious affiliation, sexual preferences, or political opinions.
Surfing without Chrome.
Google-critical people like me should, therefore never really have been tempted to use Chrome. I just stayed with Firefox. With a few settings and enhancements, you can redesign this browser to be largely privacy-friendly - I have already presented the most important ones above.
By far the best for privacy, however, is the Tor Browser. This is also based on Firefox, but it has been adapted so that it looks almost the same from the outside. This complicates so-called fingerprinting, i.e., recognizing the browser and thus the user based on specific features of the browser or operating system.
The Tor anonymization service is also used for surfing. While this is enormously beneficial for privacy, it means that you are much slower on the Internet, and it can take a while to load the page. I use the Tor Browser as a second browser, for example, for research.
If you prefer to use a browser based on Chrome's open source, which has been freed by Google, you will find alternatives with Brave, Ungoogled Chromium, and Bromite. However, (security) updates sometimes take a little longer for the last two. While Bromite is only available for Android, Brave and Ungoogled Chromium can also be used on the desktop.
Several browser manufacturers, including Firefox and Brave, have announced that they will not limit the aforementioned interface in Chrome, which is used by tracking blockers such as Ublock Origin. However, Google is sticking to the restriction of tracking and ad blockers, while the parent company Alphabet does just that in an annual report to the US stock exchanges oversight referred to as a direct threat to sales. A rogue who thinks evil.
Do the right thing.
Google's motto used to be: "Don't be Evil". A nice motto, but Google was becoming less and less able to measure itself against it.
"In 2018, Google changed its motto to 'Do the Right Thing'. That actually sounds nice. Until you think about it for five seconds. The right thing for whom?" Asks Maximilian Mundt as Moritz Zimmermann in the How series to Sell Drugs Online (Fast). So he hits the spot. Doing the right thing ... for the Google users? For the advertisers? Or for people who need artificial intelligence for combat drones?
A small step into dystopia.
Because advertising is only part of what happens and could still happen to the data collected by Google. In addition to the individual, there is also a social component that is very dangerous for our basic rights, our freedom and democratic coexistence.
Because if our digital image is increasingly measured and evaluated algorithmically, more and more social scoring develops, which people may or may not grant access to, depending on the evaluation. It starts on a small scale when insurance companies adapt tariffs to the lifestyle and link them with data from fitness trackers such as Google's Fitbit or the driving data of the car - but it can end in a dystopia. This can even happen very quickly, because the data and technology are basically already there.
One look at China is enough to get a feel for what it might be like to live in a data-driven society in which every action is recorded and evaluated. Even trivial things like crossing a street in red are reflected in a score that regulates social participation.
Anyone who does not follow a prescribed lifestyle or who has contact with such people or is even friends will drop their scores and thus lose opportunities and access, from career to living to culture.
But it is not just the score that can be used to influence people's behavior. With the data-driven monitoring, for example, the online computer play times of children can be limited - which China is currently implementing. You don't even want to imagine how the Nazis would have used big data.
Secret services use the data at Google.
The data is also used by secret services such as the NSA or the British GCHQ, which with the PRISM monitoring program also have access to data from Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft and other US corporations - as we have known since the Snowden leaks.
Like Google, the secret services also examine our online behavior - also with the data collected by Google - and use this to calculate certain forecasts and dependencies. The collected data are also used by the secret services to influence the social discussion or to raise the mood against individual persons and groups.
For example, you can search for contradictions in a person's online behavior (PDF). GCHQ internal slides give an example of an Islamic authority watching pornography. Publication of the information found - or invented by the secret service - can destroy a person's reputation. With the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG), the secret service has its own unit for exactly such "Stasi methods," as activists called them at the time. And she used this unit against the Anonymous hacktivists, among others. Knowledge is power.
All of this should absolutely not be compatible with the motto "Do the Right Thing." Nevertheless, Google made its AI technology available to the US military. Thousands of Google employees protested against the Maven project. Google then stopped extending the project.
But the old motto "Don't be Evil" was controversial at the time and repeatedly led to discussions. Because a company that collects, evaluates, markets, and shares the data of billions of people worldwide with secret services and security authorities does not exactly correspond to the idea of a company that does good or at least no bad.
In short: a company to which you definitely don't want to entrust all of your data, as well as your private and intimate sphere. Life without Google has gotten easier and easier over the past few years. There are always more and better alternatives that are often in no way inferior to Google and are really not evil.
Perhaps "Do the Right Thing" is a call to all of us to do the right thing and leave Google. Maybe not overnight, but gradually.