I wrote blog post recently titled Time For A Security Checkup, and much to my surprise I received a lot of good feedback and comments. Keeping safe in our online world seems to have hit a nerve of interest among many readers. A number of you have expressed how hard it is to try and maintain some form of privacy and anonyminity while always being tracked by some form of technology. It is no secret that websites track you while you are visiting. Even my website uses a small cookie while you are here, but it is limited to session only. However, many websites and companies install persistant cookies on your computer/device so they can track you across many different websites, and then your surfing history is sold or shared to other companies or advertisers. If you live in the United States it is legal for internet service providers to sell your browsing history to advertisers, which in turn build massive profiles and dossiers on you! If we actually knew what Google or Facebook truly knew about us it would make you sick. How many times have you made a search for clothing or household items, and then discovered advertisements for those same items on websites you visit? What about that advertisement on Facebook related to something you searched for at your moms house? Creepy, right?
Having all of this information out there is a gold mine for companies and advertisers. They not only know what your search and browsing history is, but they know about how old you are, where you live, what your likes are, how you tend to vote, where you live, and even your general level of income. Many of you may be thinking: “it’s impossible to be private in today’s age of information”, but I would argue that it is possible if you are willing to take certain steps. I have not and may never be able to achieve true anonyminity, but I do take many steps to ensure my privacy is not violated, or it’s kept to a minimum. Similar to my last post, I’m going to take a it more of a deeper dive into how you can be a private, yet social nudist, and hopefully if you are a very shy nudist, then maybe you can expand your nudist network by taking a few short steps.
Setting up a way to securely talk to your friends and family is one of the easiest ways to take back or enhance your privacy. The vast majority of people tend to use the stock messaging app on their phone, whether it’s an iPhone, Android, or similar smartphone. However, the stock apps are not the most private options you have, and if you’re communicating across different platforms, then your messages tend to go as SMS texts.
SMS text messaging is not secure at all. Anything you send over an SMS text goes over the airwaves unencrypted, and can be easily grabbed by anyone with the right equipment. Even your mobile phone provider can, and probably does, read your text messages, and any images sent over SMS can be stolen as well. So, if you’re the one who likes to text naked pictures to your significant other, then you can pretty much guarantee that your images have either been grabbed or they are sitting on your mobile carriers servers.
In this post, I’m going to go over a few different options of apps that either I use, have used, or recommend because of their privacy features. The list is not all inclusive, but I’ll talk about the more well known ones. Feel free to comment or email me what you use via the Feedback form.
Signal is probably one the most well known end-to-end messaging apps out there, and their open soure code is the base for many other encrypted messaging apps, like Whatsapp (discussed later). You can download Signal for every platform free of charge, and you don’t have to worry about advertisements or any other prying eye bots. Here’s a list of pro/con and features that will make your read more easily digestible.
- The data is end-to-end encrypted and cannot be read by anyone other than the intended parties.
- Cross-platform so you can securely chat to anyone who has the app
- Encrypted Voice and Video calling features
- Huge community of users for support
- Relay your calls over Signals servers if your region is blocking access
- Integrates with your phones contact list
- Group messages and calls
- You can link it to the desktop app if you prefer to use a computer
- The code is open-source and audited
- Disappearing messages
- Screen security by hiding content when switching apps
- Requires a phone number to use (We can get around using your real mobile number if you want)
- It’s well known and subject to a lot of scrutiny
Overall signal is probably the easiest app to get setup on, and will probably be the most accepted if you push it on your friends and family. It can be a hard and slow transition for some, but worth it if you can get your inner circle to use it.
I no longer use WhatsApp, but I know it’s arguably the most popular messaging app out there. Therefore, it warrants a short write-up. WhatsApp is very similar to Signal and is based on Signals code-base, so you can be reasonably assured it’s secured. My only hesitation is that WhatsApp is now owned by Facebook, who is well known for harvesting user data and exploiting your privacy.
WhatsApp is extremely popular with international customers and with those who have friends and family living or traveling abroad. My daughter has a friend whos parents are from Indian descent, and the mom uses it to communicate with family in India. It’s an extremelly robust app with 2 billion customers. It does require a phone number to use.
- You can connect it to your phones contact list (I’m sure you will find a number of people using it)
- Built on Signals end-to-end encryption code base
- Very popular and widely used
- You can join chat groups (these are not secured and can be dangerous though)
- Make encrypted voice and video calls.
- Cross platform with a web app
- Group messaging features
- Owned by Facebook!!
- Chat rooms are not secured and can be snooped by anyone
- Turned into a social media app more than a messaging app
- Rumors of Facebook injecting ads into your conversations
- We don’t know what data analytics they are collecting about us or our devices.
Overall WhatsApp is good with major exception that it is now owned by Facebook, and with all their privacy and data scandals I stay away from it. If you already have a large group using it, then there is no need to force everyone away. You may be able to encourage them to use another app listed here. Regardless, their claim is your conversations are end-to-end encrypted and no one can read them, so it’s way better than using standard SMS.
Wire is an enterprise solution for an enctypted messaging app, but they have a free version available for personal use. Wire boasts themselves as the “most secure collaboration platform”, and I’m quite certain they probably are being a teams focused application. Wire is not as well known as some of the others, but is an up an coming player in this competitive realm. I have used Wire in the past, but I don’t really have a large gathering on it, yet.
- End-to-end encrypted messaging service
- Does not require a phone number
- Encrypted Group messaging
- Encrypted voice and video calls
- Highest quality voice and video calls
- Cross-platform with web apps
- Open-source and audited
- Integrate your contact list
- Not as widely used or known
- Might be too many steps to setup for some who like it easy
Overall, if I had my choice then I would push everyone I know to use Wire, but you have to setup a username and password. This can turn a lot of people off because it’s just one more thing they have to remember, and I can see it causing a lot of pushback. I get it. People want the easiest solution and usually just go with what’s handed to them, but then it makes things hard for them to change even when they need to.
Wickr Me is the free, personal version of their enterprise level communication platform. Like all the other apps, Wickr is end-to-end encrypted and comes with similar features as the others. Although the app and the content is secure, I’ve recently been made aware that there are some privacy concerns with how Wickr uses our user data. This data collection could be used to identify you if you wished to remain “anonymous”.
Everytime the Wickr app is opened on your device it sends “crash report” data back to a third party analytics company. Some of the data collected is the device, username, email address, IP address (can be used to locate you), and other metadata that can fingerprint you. For this reason I can’t really recommend Wickr for privacy minded nudist, but if you’re not worried about such data and like the application, then you don’t need to worry about content being seen. Everything is still encrypted inside the messages.
- End-to-end encrypted conversations
- Encrypted voice and video calling features
- Every message contains a new encryption key, so your whole conversation can’t be compromised
- Disappearing messages
- US Air Force relies on Wickr for secure communications
- Doesn’t require a phone number
- Group chat
- Major privacy concerns regarding metadata collection
- Not as widely used as others
- Voice and Video calling not as good as Wire
- Adoption rate may be difficult for friends and family
If you’ve never used a secure messaging app, then I would avoid Wickr if you want to truly remain private. However, if you’re already using the app and have a large group, then you should stay because the security is top notch. It’s a worthy mention.
Now you’re probably thinking: “What is the world is My Sudo?” My Sudo is a secure and privacy focused app that allows you to setup multiple aliases with email addresses and phone numbers. MySudo has a few different subscription options that you can choose from, with the lowest one being free. Here’s how it works. You can download the app from either the AppStore or the Google Play store, and you can have up to nine different aliases almost instantly. You don’t need to give them any information unless you want to use their masked credit card services (more on that in a later post).
Here’s a table from their website to summarize. I’ll explain which one I use below.
When using MySudo, all of your communications within Sudo are end-to-end encrypted, so if you have no reason for a second phone number, then you will get by fine with the free version. You get three free anonymous email addresses to use anyway you like. You can use one just for different nudist websites for memberships or to join the newsletters. Use another for shopping and other retail websites…good use for rewards type stuff we all like. Use another for things around the house, like invoices, payments, etc. The free version gives you a lot of options.
SudoGo is a great option if you desire to have an actual second phone number. This allows you keep your true cell phone number hidden from people you don’t trust or are unsure of. It’s an excellent way to give you better privacy since your true cell phone number is tied to you like a Social Security or other government identification number. In some cases your true mobile number is more valuable than your SSN. Having a second phone number has many benefits and can be a huge buffer for your privacy. Here are some examples of how you can use a second phone number:
- Shopping websites
- Dating websites
- If you own a business
- Need work done around the house
- Retail rewards programs
- Two-Factor Authentication
The SudoPro option gives you the option to have three different phone numbers. This is the plan I chose to go with. I have one number that I use in place of my real cell phone number, one number for retail items, and one number for junk. I still use my real cell phone number for close family and friends because I’ve had the same number for over 20 years. I’ve kept the same number no matter where I moved. However, my real cell phone number has been compromised in some hack or breach, and now I get a lot of spam text messages. Just last week I had a message addressed to me specifically!! This was very scary for me, and I will be getting a new number soon. Having extra phone numbers like this can prevent you from these kinds of attacks.
The SudoMax is for the extreme privacy individual. You get 9 different phone numbers to go with 9 different aliases. You can use a number for friends and family, your kids school, work, home renovations/upgrades, retail, junk, financial, medical, etc. You can really segregate your life on many fronts, and keep your privacy at a very high level. I have considered getting this option, but I can’t justify the price with my situation right now.
MySudo is agreat app and a multi-purpose tool when you deal with things online. Even if you’re not a privacy minded person, having a tool like this in your pocket can bring you some online and offline security. One more added feature is if your number(s) get compromised, sold, or something similar to me where you get a lot of spam, then you can get a new number instantly for just $0.99!!
- Jack of all trades communication app
- All in network communication is end-to-end encrypted
- Can communicate outside of application but not encrypted
- Custom user need
- Gives you additional phone number(s)
- Phone numbers can be used for Signal or Whatsapp
- Provides another layer of privacy
- Sign up is anonymous with no email or phone number
- iPhone and Android apps
- Obtain new phone number very inexpensively
- In app secure browser
- Added feaures cost money and a subscription
- Aliases can be hard to keep track of
- Does not come on all platforms
- Fairly new company and small adoption crowd
- Could make you appear “secretive” to parties with different views
Summing It Up
Regardless of what messaging application choose to go with, the most important part is choosing one that your inner circle either uses or will be willing to use. Most of the time this is the simplest choice. Even if you can’t get your inner circle to switch over to something more secure, you can utilize these apps for your online life, chatting with new friends securely from around the globe, and to add any layer of privacy to your personal life.
If you are a nudist who either can’t or doesn’t want to ‘expose’ yourself online, then using these apps will help hide you from being tracked by companies or having your personal photos stored (possibly leaked) by mobile phone providers. I encourage you try them out and see which one works best for you.
In my next post I will go over some secure email options. If you have recommendations for this, please let me know and I will look into it for the post.
Be a nudist socially. Be a nudist privately. Most of all, be a nudist.
I am not sponsored by any of these products and don’t receive a penny for my recommendations. These are products I either use, have used, or know people who use them. If you have any more recommendations, please leave them in the comments below or sending me an email in Feedback.