Recommended – The TOR Browser

There are many browsers through which a lot of information is collected about you, like Google Chrome and Edge. There are also browsers which are already a lot more private, like Firefox and Brave. And above this all, on the “top of the food chain,” you find the TOR browser.

Developed for complete privacy, the TOR website describes the browser as, “Browse Privately. Explore Freely. Defend yourself against tracking and surveillance. Circumvent censorship.” A great idea in 2021, a year that looks a lot like 1984.

Please check out the video below, about the how and why of TOR. Then decide if you want to use this cyber-tool, if you had not done so already. Especially for those online activities which you absolutely want to keep private, I believe TOR is the best solution.

 

The Most Secure Messenger App – Session

I have written some posts about online privacy before, because it is important. I want to add a post about what I believe is the most secure messenger available at the moment: Session.

“What is Session? Session is an end-to-end encrypted messenger that minimizes sensitive metadata, designed and built for people who want absolute privacy and freedom from any form of surveillance.” Source: Session website. 

Until recently, I thought Telegram was absolutely secure, but Telegram doesn’t offer complete end-to-end encryption of messages, as Session does. Telegram is still a great app for uncensored social media groups, but not as secure for messaging as Session.

Even Signal, one favorite of Edward Snowden, does not offer the level of security that Session offers. For Signal you still need a phone number, and some metadata is sent with the messages. With Session, this is not the case.

Session takes a number of additional steps to protect your identity:
– No phone number is required for registration
– No email is required for registration
– No geolocation data, device data, or metadata is collected
Source: Restore Privacy website.

The Session app works on Windows, Linux, macOS, Android, and iOS. So if you value your online privacy, take a look and check it out!

VISIT SESSION WEBSITE

Tails – Ultimate Online Privacy

We have known for decades that the governments of the world spy on other countries, and their own citizens. Just how far-reaching this surveillance is nowadays, became clear when Edward Snowden revealed a lot about NSA practices, also shown in the movie Snowden (2016). 

What can we do about this, besides changing the whole political system? How can you protect your privacy online? I have already mentioned a couple of options in a previous article, “Five Big Tech Alternatives”, where I recommend the Brave browser and Proton Email, among others.

A beautiful option I have tested recently is the Tails system, which allows you to be online anonymously by using an operation system that you put on a USB stick. Tails is the most private way to surf, perfectly suited for those who want or need to be anonymous.

“To use Tails, shut down the computer and start on your Tails USB stick instead of starting on Windows, macOS, or Linux. You can temporarily turn your own computer into a secure machine. You can also stay safe while using the computer of somebody else.”

“Tails always starts from the same clean state and everything you do disappears automatically when you shut down Tails. Without Tails, almost everything you do can leave traces on the computer:
– Websites that you visited, even in private mode
– Files that you opened, even if you deleted them
– Passwords, even if you use a password manager
– All the devices and Wi-Fi networks that you used”
Read more. 

This is what Edward Snowden, NSA whistleblower, tweeted about Tails:
“If you look at the way post-2013 whistleblowers have been caught, it is clear the absolute most important thing you can do to maintain your anonymity is reduce the number of places in your operational activity where you can make mistakes. Tor and Tails still do precisely that.”

The Tails operating system, which is available for free, is an excellent option for those who value their privacy. It does not have to be used all the time, depending on what you do, but all you have to do is carry a USB stick with Tails around to use it when you need it.

To learn how Tails works and to get Tails, check out this link. And if you have any recommendations for tools which help with ensuring better online privacy, please let me know. 

The PinePhone

At the time of writing, the free speech app “Parler” has just been removed from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. These two very powerful players decide when smartphone apps are allowed or not on the market, based on their own standards.

In this situation Apple has almost absolute power about which apps are on your iPhone, unless you decide to jailbreak your iPhone, which will allow you to install apps which are not from the Apple App Store. This has consequences for your support and warranty, and therefore many people don’t want to get involved with jail-breaking their iPhones.

For Android devices, the situation is not that strict. You can still, if you want to, install apps on Android devices, when these apps are not available in the Google Play Store. But most people won’t do this, as they are afraid of what will happen on their smartphones, when they ignore safety warnings.

In this limiting scenario, with two big major players who are both fighting for a monopoly position, it is really refreshing that a third option now is possible. Enter “The PinePhone”!

“The purpose of the PinePhone isn’t only to deliver a functioning Linux phone to end-users, but also to actively create a market for such a device, as well as to support existing and well established Linux-on-Phone projects. All major Linux Phone-oriented projects, as well as other FOSS OS’, are represented on the PinePhone and developers work together on our platform to bring support this community driven device.”  Visit website

On the computer market, for decades we have been offered an alternative to Windows or macOS: free Linux distributions. I have experimented with Linux and must say that it is a very interesting alternative to the two commercial options which most people choose.

Now Linux is more and more used on the smartphone market, and I welcome this development. When my current smartphone needs to be replaced, for whatever the reason, I will switch to a Linux smartphone, because I believe they restore the power to the people.

The main advantage of switching to Linux smartphones is that this will break the monopolies of Big Tech on this market. It will restore the “free market principle” to this niche, and allow for both free and paid apps to be developed, benefiting common people instead of mainly benefiting shareholders.

So please join me in this experiment of trying Linux smartphones. And if you are involved in the developments on this market, or if you are in any way involved in the development of Open Source Software, thank you! Thank you for making this world a better place.