Category Archives: corporations

Secure IOS to Android messaging

WhisperSystems have updated their IOS app Signal so that it now supports private and secure text messaging between IOS and Android devices using TextSecure (the Android equivalent of Signal):

We cannot hear your conversations or see your messages, and no one else can either. Everything in Signal is always end-to-end encrypted, and painstakingly engineered in order to keep your communication safe.

The EFF agrees - no ads, no cost, no catches. A great way to claw back some of the privacy ground ceded in the name of convenience.

Google the email eater

I recently started disentangling my online world from Google, with the main aim being to no longer logon to a Google identity. The final (final!) straw was when using the Gmail client on iOS meant that you were also identified to all their other apps whether you liked it or not. Enough! Leave me alone.

After much procrastinating, my mail is now routed via the well recommended Fastmail1. And so far so good.

Having gone through the rigmarole, it was kind of deflating to read Benjamin Mako Hill’s account at Copyrighteous of calculating how much of his non Gmail mail ends up being routed via a Google server:

For almost 15 years, I have run my own email server which I use for all of my non-work correspondence. I do so to keep autonomy, control, and privacy over my email and so that no big company has copies of all of my personal email.

A few years ago, I was surprised to find out that my friend Peter Eckersley — a very privacy conscious person who is Technology Projects Director at the EFF — used Gmail. I asked him why he would willingly give Google copies of all his email. Peter pointed out that if all of your friends use Gmail, Google has your email anyway. Any time I email somebody who uses Gmail — and anytime they email me — Google has that email.

Spoiler: Turns out to be over 50%. Sigh.

Still, I’m happy to have moved. It feels strangely liberating actually just paying for a service instead of wondering what that service is secretly costing.

  1. Bonus: they’re Australian which offers some protection from overzealous US monitoring attempts, the original team having bought themselves back from Opera. And they maintain an back office blog which often exposes their security issues, warts and all. 

The Indie Web

Dan Gillmor on the Indie Web, an attempt to wrest back some control from the corporate web barons:

We’re in danger of losing what’s made the Internet the most important medium in history – a decentralized platform where the people at the edges of the networks – that would be you and me – don’t need permission to communicate, create and innovate.

Maybe a little hyperbolic - the most important medium in history? - but a timely reminder. Get your content out of the silos.