If you’re like me, you want to begin protecting your data, but where do you start? While this was once a huge inconvenience, user experience has become more seamless. The focus on convenience and enjoyment of the apps/software will enable us to preserve our digital sovereignty with ease and tools you can use on the road.
When you work in blockchain/crypto, you end up with over a dozen apps where people message you. Doing business in China? Then consider (1) WeChat (best to use this on a separate device). But in Hong Kong? (2) WhatsApp it is. Korea or Japan — (3) LINE and (4) Kakao Talk are the norms. Into blockchain and trying to get plugged in, (5) Telegram has a group for everything. In Central/South America or Europe? Again WhatsApp or (6) Facebook Messenger. (7) Twitter, (8) LinkedIn, (9) Reddit, and (10) Discord, messages bring us to the double digits.
I never imagined having this many conversations on this many platforms. It’s disgusting and I have the gift of ADD on my side to navigate this web. There are aggregators, but nothing with everything. Half the time I can’t remember where I was talking to someone, unless I know their current itinerary, then I can remember what app they were using. I’m not even counting team management tools like Trello, Asana, and Slack.
Welcome to the DLT/digital nomad life. It definitely chooses you! Beyond communications, there are two other important tools to help you maintain control of your privacy. Enjoy my tips re messaging apps, emails, browsers, and VPNs.
My favorite app for end-to-end encrypted messaging? (12) Signal. Handsdown. It works on wifi, so it’s an excellent travel messenger as well! I also love the UX of Signal… best gif interface I’ve used, and if we’re IRL friends, you know I love sending you gifs.
One of the worst is (13) Instagram. While many messengers enable you to recall a message, Insta let’s you delete specific messages, which can delete context of the prompt behind your response. If you put WeChat on your everyday use devices, it’s worse re privacy invasion. See advice above.
What I Use:
Encrypted email needs some work, but I think it will get there soon. I use ProtonMail.
I still use Gmail where ProtonMail isn’t convenient. If we can make calendar and map integration happen, I’m all encrypted email. (If you know something I don’t here, lmk please!) Also, don’t ever use Yahoo. Every single (3 billion) accounts hacked. A perfect example of how distributed technology can enhance security.
What I Use:
A name isn’t everything, but love DuckDuckGo. Another one that was suggested via Haiku tweet: Brave. I’ll check it out.
I still use Chrome where DuckDuckGo isn’t convenient. Someone once told me something clever about Google I never thought of before that conversation: Google would have a monopoly on online advertising if it didn’t have it’s other less successful lines of business. Makes sense. I don’t even want to get into primary, secondary, and tertiary data markets. That’s a completely different post.
Why do you need a VPN?
I’m not surfing the dark web, why would I need a VPN? Want to post on Insta or access Google Maps while in China? Want to watch White Walkers while abroad? Want to semi protect yourself on a public network? Then you need a VPN.
What I Use:
I use Private Internet Access because I can use it on multiple devices for a small monthly fee. ProtonMail and lots of other providers offer VPN services as well.
In Plain English
Whenever possible I use Signal, ProtonMail, DuckDuckGo, and Private Internet Access. Thanks for digging into the digital nomad toolbox.