Privacy and security are real buzzwords at this moment in time when talking about things online. While we should all pay attention to these areas, there are some individuals for whom their online privacy and security is paramount.
I am, of course, talking about journalists. Thankfully, there are a variety of tools available. These tools are capable of providing that security and privacy, and I will look at five of them. It is then your decision as to which one is best for you.
Onion Share is an interesting concept as it allows the transfer of files between users. While this may not sound different to a multitude of other file transfer options, this one goes about things in an alternative way.
The main difference is that it works like Dropbox. However, as soon as the other individual has downloaded the file, it is deleted from the server. Also, the server is fully encrypted and secure, but the fact they remove the file makes it untraceable.
This particular tool is fast and effective. Also, there's little doubt about your privacy thanks to its innovative way of working.
The Tor Project has been quite popular for some time as a way to go online in private. Now, they have launched their own messenger. With this, it can encrypt chats on clients such as Gmail and Facebook so nobody outside of the conversation will know anything about it.
The fact that the Tor Project works as well as it does will mean you should never encounter issues with the messenger project either. After all, they do have the correct level of backing to show that they do indeed know what they are doing.
Open Archive is actually a mobile application designed to help those individuals concerned about sharing content that they have captured to social media. This project is for what they refer to as 'citizen journalists' who worry about tracking after posting things.
It works by using the Tor network along with masking its upload and has been one of the key tools in fighting internet censorship in China. This means it cannot then result in tracing the uploader. However, it also preserves the media for the future, which is an interesting idea.
This particular idea is well thought out and it also does what it is intended for. Downloading is easy, as is using the app, so for any citizen journalists out there it is something that is essential.
Keybase is another important application that will help your privacy and security online. In this instance, it represents a source of open keys that will then become verifiable via social media accounts.
This is important as combining public and private keys is an integral part of encryption. When talking about journalists, they share their public key so anybody that wishes to send them items without divulging themselves can check that they are sharing with the correct person.
The aim is also to provide people with a way to verify who they are dealing with. In doing so, people will feel happier about their privacy.
While this option does help, it may still make some people nervous. This is due to the way in which the public keys are easy to discover. Of course, you only then must keep in mind that the only way in which things are ultimately encrypted is by combining both sides.
In other words, it is safe.
Signal is the brainchild of Open Whisper System. They state its purpose is to make it easier to send encrypted messages as well as encrypted chats between users. Also, it does allow you to keep your own number. However, the contacts are then downloaded into the app itself for everything else to then work.
While the idea itself is sound and could work, there is a major flaw. This flaw could make some people think twice about using it. The problem is if the person loses their phone or the people they are hiding from seizes it. Upon examination, they could then see who they had contacted. So, in some ways it's not as secure as the company would like you to think.
For me, there's a need to think more about Signal due to this flaw. I would hesitate if I was in any danger of having my phone taken away, but if that's not a concern, then it works well.
There are various other tools out there for journalists or anybody that wishes to add some extra privacy to their time online. I would advise that you take time assessing each option to identify the best one for you as your anonymity is important.