Hygiene
in The Digital Public Square

You’re less incognito than you think.

Malicious apps, theft, spam, cyber stalking, censorship, surveillance.
There are no foolproof answers to risk online.
But there is advice to help.

Begin
I want to know about options for private chat

I want to know about options for private chat

If you want to have a private chat conversation with someone, you need to make sure that no one else but you and the person/s you are chatting with can read your messages (confidentiality), that the person/s you are chatting with are really who they say they are (authenticity) and that what you and the other people in the chat are writing is not tampered with by third parties (integrity).

In order to obtain all this, you need to use a tool offering end-to-end encryption and key verification. As most service providers (e.g. Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook) don’t offer this service and can therefore read your chat record, it is a good idea to either switch to an alternative chat service that provides encryption by default, or to use software for encryption if you need to stick to those services. Take a look at the EFF’s Secure Messaging Scorecard to see how they rate various chat clients that claim security properties.

The standard for a secure two-party conversation is called OTR – Off the record messaging, and several popular chat clients support it, including Pidgin with OTR for Windows and Linux, Adium for Mac, and Jitsi for all common desktop operating systems. The latter also includes secure audio and video conferencing. These clients can work with your existing accounts on Google, Facebook, Yahoo, etc. and encrypt the conversation over their respective networks.

Several chat clients are available as an add-on to your web browser, including Cryptocat, Mega and Signal. Aside from that, several free messaging services offer similar encryption properties for messaging including Peerio and Telegram. All of the mentioned tools are available as open source software and publicly disclose the encryption methods they employ in their software.

If you are interested in creating a secure and an anonymous conversation, please refer to I’d like to have an anonymous conversation


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