CHATONS – kittens in french – is the Collective of Hosters Alternative, Transparent, Open, Neutral and Solidarity. This collective aims to bring together structures offering free, ethical and decentralised online services in order to allow users to quickly find alternatives that respect their data and privacy to the services offered by GAFAM (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft). CHATONS is a collective initiated by the association Framasoft in 2016 following the success of its campaign De-google-ify Internet.

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I don't get it...


CHATONS is a collective of small structures offering online services (e.g. email, web hosting, collaborative tools, communication tools, etc.).

These structures are called " hosters" for several reasons:

  • they manage servers (computers on which programs are installed to run online services),
  • and
  • they offer Internet users the storage of their data and their distribution on the web.

The particularity of CHATONS is that the members of this collective commit themselves in particular:

  • to use only free software;
  • not to exploit the data of the beneficiaries of their services (= not to transmit or exploit your data);
  • to not use advertising networks (or other tracking services);
  • to offer regular "physical" meetings with their beneficiaries, in order to reduce the digital divide.


I still don't get it...


Do you know the principle of Community-supported agriculture (CSA model)? These associations that offer city dwellers baskets of vegetables (or other food) from local (and often organic) agricultural production? Well you can see CHATONS as "a CSAs' network of online service". Where Google, Facebook or Microsoft would represent the food industry, CHATONS members would be "IT farmers" offering "organic" online services:

  • without GMOs (= without privative software that does not guarantee your freedoms),
  • without pesticides (= without basing their revenues on the sale of your personal data),
  • without aggressive marketing (= without advertising agencies tracking your behaviors),
  • without a "race for purchasing power", which actually harms small farmers (= fair prices between kittens and their beneficiaries)

CHATONS is therefore both a organization of like-minded members and a form of "label."


Why this collective?


The objectives are multiple:

  1. provide beneficiaries with an offer of free services that respect their private/professional lives;
  2. give visibility to structures sharing common values;
  3. share information between members;

More broadly, it's about resisting the "googling" of the Internet. The gigantic reservoirs of data managed by the web giants not only harm privacy (by making mass surveillance possible, and by making the flaws in their systems catastrophic for millions, even billions of users⋅ices), but pose a more global, political and civic problem: what powers do we entrust in the hands of a few corporations?

Many independent structures promoting (in french) a vision of free software have existed for years: the Other Net, Web4all, Marsnet, Ouvaton, Infini, Toile-Libre, etc. (liste évidemment non exhaustive). However, most of them did not offer online applications and focused on more technical services (web/FTP, email, etc.), leaving the field open for GAFAMs to lure users to their massively personal data collecting services.

More recently, structures offering free applications have appeared, such as Zaclys or Framasoft. The CHATONS collective therefore aims to propose a structuring of these actors (old as well as new).


A manifesto and charter


The collective is based on a commitment to unabashedly adhere to the Manifesto and the Charter of the collective. These documents are the foundations upon which the collective relies for its success. They are drafted and amended collaboratively by its members.


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Find answers to all your questions, and much more, on our FAQ's.