Topic: Techniques To Staying Private Online

I think that privacy is important just as much as the next guy here. How can we truly remain private online though?

I sometimes suspect that popular Operating Systems such as Microsoft's Windows, or Apple's Mac OS are backdoored, and every keystroke we make is sent to them or something. I know this may be paranoia, but you never know today with our government (at least here in the U.S.)

There are supposedly Private Linux solutions such as Tails for instance. I have been considering making the switch to Linux, even from my Mac... If there are any other private Linux distros out there, please post below.


I would like to discuss some different ways to remain truly private online. I'd like your help as well.

In terms of email, there are a few different options I've found as alternatives to the popular Gmail service, as well as Yahoo Mail, and even Hotmail, and AOL providers.

For privacy, I personally use Hushmail as of now (hushmail.com), however they only provide free LIMITED accounts in certain areas. You can obviously pay for their email service too if you wish.

There is also one I found (I think the first one I've ever found) is Reagan mail. Conservatives are going to LOVE this one. I didn't get it initially because it was premium only I guess, or I didn't know how to get the free account at the time (reagan.com). That one is another private email provider to my knowledge.

(NOTE: I WAS JUST LOOKING AND REAGANEMAIL.COM IS NOT THE SAME AS REAGAN.COM TO MY UNDERSTANDING, IF I AM WRONG, PLEASE REPLY, BUT BE CAREFUL!)

Lastly, there is Startmail, provided by IXQuick Search engine. Their more popular StartPage, you may be more familiar with. They are in development at the moment with Startmail I guess, but you can buy their service too (startmail.com).

So basically, if you want PRIVATE email, you're going to have to pay in most cases, unless you have limited features of either Hushmail (as I said, Hushmail is provided freely only in certain areas.) Apparently ReganMail is now free too, and they give you UP TO 1 GB FREE (going on reaganemail.com)! I may consider switching from Hushmail, to Reganemail, but I might as well just stay where I am.

With Hushmail, I think the Limit is 25MB for the free accounts; 1 GB is a LOT more, and it could come in hand, but I am grateful with the Private mail account, and blessed to have it, so I will probably stay with them for the time being.

(But what if you HAVE to use Gmail for school or business? Just use Epic then I suppose? :~))

There are other things you need to take mind of too when browsing online to remain private... Other services such as social media for instance... the only social media that I use is Skype, but I may be soon to cut that off. I don't appreciate all my conversation being sent to Microsoft.

I've heard of software such as Audium to keep private when using these messenger softwares, what do you guys think of this? Do you have any other private software to keep private when messaging?

As for me personally, my church's online chat room is the pastor's OWN private server, so that's why I know it's safe to use that for conversation, they're a non 501(c)(3) church too, so they are non-government owned. No need to be worried there!  Anyone's welcome there too, it's the Seventh-Day Remnant Church (remnantofGod.org/chat.htm) But other than that.. I'm iffy on other programmes for online socializing.

Re: Techniques To Staying Private Online

Hi!

Great post.  I hope we get more feedback on other privacy tools.

There is software that supposedly protects you against keylogging...I haven't evaluated it but some seem reasonable. 

Apple's CEO claims there is no backdoor.  I don't know if Microsoft has publicly come out and said it or not yet.  Especially after seeing the heartbleed issues, it's very clear that open source doesn't mean private and especially in software as complicated as Linux -- so Linux being open source gives it transparency which should promote privacy but its openness and hugeness means backdoor type flaws could be hidden in it.  So unfortunately there's no easy answer though using a VM like Tails is certainly a great way to avoid tracking and possible malware, etc. 

I can't comment on any particular email service but I personally have looked into a few services briefly and I have not been impressed by the transparency or technical details provided by the so-called private email providers.  So I personally again can't recommend a private email service.  The problem I've found is that fundamentally there is some data that is going to leak in email (or if it's not--there are other issues), and that needs to be made clear I feel as well as what you're technically doing -- the providers I assessed weren't clear on that.

Gmail will track you whether you're in Epic or not unfortunately. 

There are a bunch of supposedly private texting services -- I haven't evaluated any in detail, but I definitely on a quick analysis found a few texting apps much more transparent and clear in terms of how they work. 

Sorry I wish I could be of more help...but as more news comes out you'll understand my skepticism, you have to be very careful who you trust in privacy. 

Let's see what other users recommend. 

We're focused right now on providing the best daily-use privacy browser and a private search engine! 

Alok

Re: Techniques To Staying Private Online

alok wrote:

Hi!

Great post.  I hope we get more feedback on other privacy tools.

There is software that supposedly protects you against keylogging...I haven't evaluated it but some seem reasonable. 

Apple's CEO claims there is no backdoor.  I don't know if Microsoft has publicly come out and said it or not yet.  Especially after seeing the heartbleed issues, it's very clear that open source doesn't mean private and especially in software as complicated as Linux -- so Linux being open source gives it transparency which should promote privacy but its openness and hugeness means backdoor type flaws could be hidden in it.  So unfortunately there's no easy answer though using a VM like Tails is certainly a great way to avoid tracking and possible malware, etc. 

I can't comment on any particular email service but I personally have looked into a few services briefly and I have not been impressed by the transparency or technical details provided by the so-called private email providers.  So I personally again can't recommend a private email service.  The problem I've found is that fundamentally there is some data that is going to leak in email (or if it's not--there are other issues), and that needs to be made clear I feel as well as what you're technically doing -- the providers I assessed weren't clear on that.

Gmail will track you whether you're in Epic or not unfortunately. 

There are a bunch of supposedly private texting services -- I haven't evaluated any in detail, but I definitely on a quick analysis found a few texting apps much more transparent and clear in terms of how they work. 

Sorry I wish I could be of more help...but as more news comes out you'll understand my skepticism, you have to be very careful who you trust in privacy. 

Let's see what other users recommend. 

We're focused right now on providing the best daily-use privacy browser and a private search engine! 

Alok


Yeah, I hear you... In terms of a "private" texting app, a friend showed me "Wickr", which is kind of like Snapchat, but Snapchat really isn't as "private" as many think... and I'm not promoting using services like these for unethical purposes, but I do appreciate having privacy, and not having every message I send, be scanned.

Re: Techniques To Staying Private Online

Yes, Snapchat is not private at all actually.  Technically it has not implemented any real privacy to date.

Wickr is a much better option if privacy is important to you.  There are other private messaging apps as well which also take privacy seriously.

Re: Techniques To Staying Private Online

most email servers depend on the country of origin. Unfortunately, many countries are following a new signed protocol, based upon somewhat "feigned" terrorist threats. In 2017, such countries will abort privacy in favor of reveal, based upon a "sort of" warrant. Hushmail is Canadian, who observe many USSA privacy mechanisms (indeed, many members of the British Commonwealth--I'm looking at you Australia & Canada--have instituted many of the anti-privacy measures of Parliament). I sparingly use Hushmail, only their paid encrypted versions. I also use Runbox (Norway), but they, too, have signed onto the USSA privacy protocol, albeit later in 2017. Ditto for Proton Mail (Switzerland).

In all of these, one is always subjected to DDoS (basically a denial of service due to a flooding of attempts jamming the system by hackers--some say by government agents who despise privacy).

As for text privacy, try "Signal."

To stay private is becoming incomprehensible, but it means doing mis-information now, as best as you can. One might want to try 10-minute emails, trash phones, second telephone lines for different callers (such as mobile phone Sideline), using made up names, former addresses from years ago--you get the idea.

Just wish the government would get the notion that we all aren't terrorists all, and we simply want to be private, enjoy our liberties, and be left quiet and alone. nothing illegal about that.

Re: Techniques To Staying Private Online

Linux is open-source, meaning generally that since so many of the public (software engineers, especially) view these things on a daily basis in an open forum, that any anomaly will be immediately noticed, and therefore quickly corrected.

Best secure Linux distros (distributions) are Tails, Qubes, IPFire, and Parrot. If you like(d) MS-DOS at a "C:/", then you'll like Linux. These four are hard to load and decipher, using many acronyms and codes that are not GUI-based (graphical user interface). Software engineer jargon abounds. The closest Windows-look are in Mint-Cinnamon, or Zorin, using a sort of Win7 interface. Parrot is okay too, but difficult to operate.

The problem here?? Even though Linux has over 500 million users (and rising!!), Epic does not have a Linux download version. Indeed, when I attempted it at a download page, I get the quick second message that Epic has not Linux version, but FF v.49 (even using privacy add-ons) shut the page down.

Re: Techniques To Staying Private Online

We love Linux but we're a small team so we won't be able to support Linux for quite some time.  You can use Epic via Wine but it's not a great experience. 

Yes, some other OSes like Qubes and Tails are really interesting! 

For private email, the only service we can even vaguely recommend is Lavabit which is relaunching...this is because like us they are one of not even a handful of companies in the world that have actually put their users' privacy ahead of business interests.  We are unable to trust other so-called private email services and it is in fact because of the way email works impossible to have a totally private email service, there has to be some sort of a compromise.