Encryption Is For Everyone
Today's topic is going to focus on encryption services that are easy to use but safe enough to recommend. One of the most annoying things I hear is “I have nothing to hide” or some varient thereof. If you truely have nothing to hide, please hit up my About Me and DM me your SSN, DOB, mother's maiden name, etc. Actually, don't do that. I don't want it and you shouldn't give it. Point being, everyone has something to hide. Just because you don't need to protect yourself today doesn't mean you won't in the future. Stand up for those who need it now or risk nobody being willing to stand up for you later. Well, that was quite dark. On to the services shall we?
Many of the readers here will have likely heard of or be actively using Signal. To those people I say “good job” keep trying to help your friends see the errors of their ways. To those who have never heard of Signal let me introduce you.Reader, This is Signal. An easy to use and completely private messenger application for IOS and Android. Signal doesn't know who you talk to, for how long,what you talk about, etc. If the government were to demand the data about you they would get nothing except for your registration phone number and the last time you used the service. If they ask Facebook for your messages they would get all the data Signal doesn't have and much much more. Signal lets users send stickers, GIFS emojis, etc. These are all things that you or your friends likely use. You can also send audio, pictures, files, contacts, location, etc. The application also supports high quality voice and video calls so your conversation stays between you.
Email is a huge part of everyone's digital life. We use email to communocate with friends, get receipts for things we buy, password reset links (even though thats not very secure), reservations, etc. With all this personal information just sitting around it is very important to secure your email. Unfortunately, many people trust Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, etc (oh the horror) with their email. These companies claim to offer “free email” but they are making money by scanning every message you receive. This helps them target advertising to you and they can sell data about you to third parties you have never heard of. Proton Mail and Tutanota are built to protect user privacy. They offer free accounts that don't spy on you by using a subscription model to unlock features. I personally pay for Proton because I like what they have to offer. Some features you can unlock by subscribing include sorting incoming mail into subfolders, increased storage space, increased daily sending limit, etc. The free users still get the promise of strong end-to-end encryption and you don't have to give any personal information to sign up.
While keeping your privacy online may seem like a daunting task it is important to try. Taking any step to that end is better than doing nothing at all. Don't listen to the people who think you are crazy. They will realize one day that you actually knew what you were talking about. Also, while not an encrypted service, if you are looking to replace your Facebook/Twitter then check out my post about Mastodon.