How much of your daily communications rely on the big 3 - Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp or Instagram?
How much of a role does Google / Gmail and all of it’s apps/extensions play in your life?
If you took any of the above apps away (following Facebook's recent 6-7 hour blackout event amoungst allegations for harming children's mental health) could you still contact loved ones, and manage your essential daily activities?
The truth is, many of us have built a reliance on these platforms in order to manage and maintain daily tasks in our lives. In most situations, these apps are free for us to use - and in this case, if we are not paying for the product, most often we ARE the product.
The majority of data on these sites is used/sold for profit to advertising agencies/used to create digital profiles of our personas without our knowledge or informed consent, and lord almighty knows what else.
Despite many of the above (and more) claiming to have privacy as a number one feature, time and time again this has been found to be completely untrue.
In the age of surveillance, censorship and cyber te-rorr-ism , it’s becoming increasingly more important to get a handle on digital privacy and develop healthy habits in terms of who and what we hand our personal data over to.
We are no experienced group of secret agents, however below we have compiled some of the most basic, private and secure alternatives we are using for digital communications right now in 2021.
Please feel free to comment below with anything we have missed.
1. Signal Messenger
An open source, secure & encrypted alternative for peer to peer communications. Endorsed by Edward Snowden, Signal is one of the best secure messaging apps available for free on both IOS & Android and can also be sync'd across additional devices.
2. Telegram Messenger
Telegram is another open source and has added security when used on “Secret chat” peer to peer messaging. Telegram is well known around the world for it's capability for hosting channels and large group chats up to 2000 users.
Session offers Beast mode encrypted chats hosted on the blockchain that leave no trace - no phone number required.
Proton is a Swiss-based privacy-focused email service. Sign up without giving any personal details, and remain completely anonymous. Free & paid plans also come with the Proton VPN Service for use on up to 5x devices. www.protonmail.com
VPN (Virtual Private Network) Service
1. Proton VPN
VPNs sends your internet traffic through an encrypted VPN tunnel, so your passwords, location, and confidential data stay safe, even over public or untrusted Internet connections. VPNs are good to have running in the background at all times on all devices in order to scramble your IP address and hide your actual location. Proton Mail Plus membership includes ProtonVPN for use on up to 5x devices.
1. BRAVE Browser
Similar to Mozilla Firefox (worthy of mention), Brave blocks all trackers and has privacy at the core mission statement. Private windows incorporates TOR Browser (below). Earn + gift cryptocurrency and BAT tokens from subscribing to ads/visiting brave user websites. Comes stock standard using DuckDuckGo as an uncensored search engine.
2. Tor Browser (for PC)
Created in 2002, the OG private Internet browser, TOR - is important to understand when navigating internet privacy and security. The master piece of anonymity online, TOR blocks third-party trackers and ads that follow you. Any cookies automatically clear when you're done browsing. So will your browsing history.
The UX is still being developed and because of its high rates of encryption it can "break websites" and make them hard to navigate. As a substitute, TOR works well in combination with Brave Browser's private window - as mentioned above.
2. Onion Browser (IOS/Android App)
Encrypted through the TOR network, (TOR app is not available for IOS/Android) Onion browser gives you the highest standard of security and privacy on an IOS or Android device. Does not store any search history. www.onionbrowser.com