Are you using Googles reCAPTCHA on your website? Now is the time to stop.

Is there a great FLOSS alternative for this type of thing? Please let me know!


When I try to replace something proprietary, my first stop is

You can even filter for open source and/or the platform you want to implement it on. But that negative CAPTCHA sounds very interesting and wasn't listed on


the keyword "reCAPTCHA" does not appear in the article even once and reCAPTCHA does not even help with AI research, it just looks for a mouse movement event

the actual approach to not supporting google involves not using *any* of their services

this means you should throw any android phone you have in the trash and not use gmail or chrome or any other google software or service

@kaniini Yes, if you can't be perfect don't bother doing anything… :P

I think this is a good opportunity to get some people away from some of Google's services, especially reCAPTCHA, that normally don't get that much attention. And otherwise I also use other opportunities to tell people to stop using other Google services :)

@kaniini @forteller im under the impression that it also looks at your cookies and google account info (anecdotally: i get challenged more often in container tabs), and that the image classification tasks it gives you contribute to their image recognition training corpus.

if their image recognition tech is being used on these drones i dont think its too far of a stretch to say theres a possibility recaptcha image classifiers are indirectly contributing

@kaniini technically, you can overwrite the OS with a Google-free one like LineageOS if the device is supported and use apps that don't rely on the Google Play framework like F-Droid has

@ddipaola ok i will be sure to use all 0 apps in f-droid i might actually care about using, such as the one for my bank which isn't there

@ddipaola @kaniini Yes, I use Lineage. And most apps, also from Google Play Store (which I install from Yalp Store or one of the many other third party app stores) do not actually need Google Play Services to work. And when I'm in contact with app developers I tell them to make sure it works without.

Or you know, you could just do nothing and complain online about those who do at least something…

@forteller ah. My impression was that the SDK pushed apps to rely on Play Services so I figured not depending on it was rare. Good to know!

@ddipaola Well, I'm not the kind of person to install a million apps, but so far I've only come across a few that don't work. Mostly if payment is involved. Some times also the app works, but doesn't show you a map (because it uses Google Maps trough GPServices, I guess)

@kaniini @forteller

I don't think it's accurate to say that reCAPTCHA doesn't help with AI research.

"reCAPTCHA offers more than just spam protection. Every time our CAPTCHAs are solved, that human effort helps digitize text, annotate images, and build machine learning datasets. This in turn helps preserve books, improve maps, and solve hard AI problems."

@kaniini @forteller looking only for a mouse movement is not quite right. It actually checks your cookie history.
As a reference you can check the new “hidden captcha” by google.

@kaniini @rixx @forteller when it does not work it falls back to image selection, so this article actually is about ReCaptcha.

@forteller Also run reCAPTCHA thing I noticed - if you have to use it, it usually gives you two images to identify things in. The first one it seems to know the answers to. The second one usually has a skip option, and you can just click skip even if the thing you're supposed to identify is present in the image. That leads me to believe that the second part is the part that actually is training the thing, so I guess I'd say skip it when you can.

@masklayer Thanks! I'll try that next time. I hate helping Google with their image recognition for free, also long before this story

dystopian captcha screenshot Show more

@forteller i use python's `captcha` library for making "distorted text" captchas on my site, for these and other reasons

you'd be surprised how many people complain about distorted text captchas, they're difficult to solve for humans (and not so hard for bots)

so i really think it's time for an accessible foss captcha system!

@forteller that's awesome! i really like it

i disagree that the purpose of a captcha is "To keep bots from submitting forms", though. in my case, the purpose is actually to prevent bots from seeing my stuff

plus, i need to block targetted botting (

It was already time to stop a decade ago but no one listened.

@forteller It’s like for their ads: the better targeted they are, the more people like them.

@forteller Yes! Don't use CAPTCHAs. Doesn't get freer than that.

@forteller: "Is there a great FLOSS alternative for this type of thing?"

The real question is, why do you need it in the first place? There's usually simpler and less intrusive ways of determining if a request is valid or not.
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