Recently I’ve become more aware of where my communication goes when I communicate online. This is not because I have any reason to be sceptical per se, but it’s more of a principal matter.
One reference here: — Yahoo secretly scanned customer emails for U.S. intelligence
In light of this, I have made the choice of not using US services for important communications, be it Facebook, Apple (iMessage, etc) or Google.
I do use these services, but it is for normal stuff — liking cat photos, sharing my own photos, see what friends and family are sharing, etc.
Even if a US service says it doesn’t share information on users and comms with authorities, I dont trust it, because of the general way the entire system works over there (read: the US), and it has lost the little trust I had in it.
And in general I prefer Open Source services. I’ll happily support good services to keep them going.
Sooo, I have made a decision to use services in countries with privacy laws I know are better, like here (Norway — for now), Sweden, Germany and Switzerland. The main mail service I use for important emails like sharing bank informations with friends and family and other important data is ProtonMail, with encryption enabled.
For messaging, I prefer to use Signal, and perhaps Telegram. I do use local SMS for general messages, and for general mails with non-important content — like cat photos — I use gmail, like I have done since the beta in the early 2000’s.
Perhaps I’ll get viewed as a paranoid ‘tinfoil hat’ person that all to often comes portrayed in movies like Woody Harrelson’s role in the movie ‘2012’ — “It’s the government, maaan!” — but I think it is OK to be somewhat aware of how the communication flows, how it is secured, and who might be looking at it without you knowing.
Oh, I forgot to mention, I also use NordVPN for most of my online surfing, be it reading news or logging into my bank. And I have activated two-factor authentication on all services that offers it, and I’m careful with the services that doesn’t.
I believe it is smart to be aware and to take measures to secure my communication, both for me and for those I communicate with. I wouldn’t like to have someone looking in my window to see what I’m doing, even if I’m just sitting in my couch or eating dinner. For me, the principle is the same with being on the internet.
If you read this and have tips about services and vpn providers you have good experience with, you’re welcome to comment below.