Encryption as a path to freedom

You should be able to communicate with your friends and family without having to worry about whether or not anybody listens in. I consider the right to privacy an inalienable right.

Sure, there’s a whole slew of shitty straw man fallacies surrounding this particular topic such as “by allowing people to use encryption we make it easier for terrorists to plan acts of terror” and my personal favorite “I don’t need encryption, I don’t have anything to hide.”

Let’s talk basic everyman’s encryption

After documenting your innermost secrets on paper you can just burn those well-thumbed black cahiers. It’s a great catharsis to watch the soot flakes whirl up into the night sky. I plead the fifth.

However, in a world where everything you write and think has a nature of permanency you can’t control, you need encryption. Something as innocuous as a completed PDF for a home loan or a plan to participate in a protest can be used against you. Usually in the worst way possible.

“I can’t just encrypt everything, can I?” Sure you can.

You should encrypt:

  • Private messaging/voice calls

Use Signal for messaging/voice

The application Signal from Open Whisper Systems encrypts text messages, voice and video calls. It’s a snap-in replacement for your standard messaging application, be that Messages on iOS or Hangouts on Android. Friends and family can be easily found by searching for their phone number or email address.

Everything is always end-to-end encrypted and painstakingly engineered in order to keep your communication safe.

Open Whisper Systems are supported by an open source community as well as grants.

Download Signal

Use Keybase for file sharing

Ever wished you could save down sensitive information on your computer without having to worry about it being compromised? Want to keep two-factor authentication recovery codes in a safe place? Need to store a blockchain passphrase somewhere safe?

Keybase encrypts your files “at rest” and also allows you to share information privately or publicly with other Keybase users, all while maintaining an extremely high level of encryption. Keep your resume and the vacation photos in Dropbox and move your banking information and those boudoir photos into Keybase.

On top of that, Keybase also maps your identity to your public keys, and vice versa.

Every account on Keybase has a public history. “Sigchains” let Keybase clients reconstruct the present without trusting Keybase’s servers. And when you “follow” someone on Keybase, you sign a snapshot of your view of the claims in their sigchain.

Get started with Keybase

Keybase may require an invitation depending on when you read this article. If you know me virtually or personally, hit me up and I can get you an invite that bypasses the waiting list for Keybase.

Secure your website with Let’s Encrypt

If you’ve ever had to purchase an SSL certificate you know that security and privacy used to come at a very steep price. No longer. Let’s Encrypt is a free, automated, and open Certificate Authority. They will generate certificates entirely free of charge.

The objective of Let’s Encrypt and the ACME protocol is to make it possible to set up an HTTPS server and have it automatically obtain a browser-trusted certificate, without any human intervention. This is accomplished by running a certificate management agent on the web server.

They have even gone as far as creating an automated toolchain that will renew your certificates before they expire and automatically install/upgrade them in your web server.

Let’s Encrypt!

Thanks for reading. Spread the word. ❤️

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I farm servers in the clouds and conjure confluent code from pixie dust and meteorite slag. If besought, I will help you find the castle with the princess.

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