Patching the Problem
To address privacy and censorship, a myriad of new products and services have come to the market. Some do indeed provide less censorship and more privacy, but in general remain the same thing with a different label.
There may be new people or features, but essentially it is a different set of policies. Over time, policies change. You will probably be better off today, but what about tomorrow?
The new software does the same as the old with some changes or improvements, but still doesn’t address the underlying technical problems.
Tracking, especially the metadata collection that encryption does not hide, and takedown possibilities remain. Sometimes this could be inconvenient. Other times it could be vital.
The news we see ranges from the adventurous kid at home who breaks into a server, malicious parties that infect computers with ransomware, or the organized effort to steal or manipulate data. While this can be exciting and a concern, it remains minor compared to what can be or is done.
While the censorship of the Great Firewall of China is overt, in the US it is done more subtly by techniques like shadow banning or completely closing individual accounts. Some people using services provided by Google, Facebook, and Twitter have seen this firsthand.
Then there are the direct government shutdowns. For example Megaupload, based out of Hong Kong, was started in 2005 and taken down by the US Government in 2012. Silk Road started in 2011 and was shut down by the FBI in 2013.
Don’t be distracted by the political position, legality, or morality of the sites, but rather note that they were shut down by an administrative authority. If that authority decides that what you do or what you proclaim is contrary to the authority, you will be silenced.
In the West we might not be concerned with a proclamation or a dialog on Buddhism or Christianity. In Tibet or the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia you are censored and it can be fatal.
An authority has a technical advantage, because the system is designed for central control. This is done by policy and not a technical requirement. The solution is to work within the system while having the technical ability to work around it.