nilspace

Sunsetting the surveillance

August 15, 2020 • ☕️ 3 min read

I’m moving away from several messaging products in the next 6 to 12 months. This post is written so I don’t spring these changes on people who may expect me to be somewhere I won’t be.

While the big picture effects are for now unclear, these changes will help me solve at least two immediate problems:

  1. I cannot trust that the information and behaviours shared by my contacts into these questionable products will not be used against their interests. By using these products, I implicitly encourage people to also use them.
  2. I cannot be open with my friends and family about my thoughts and experiences, nor can I expect them to talk and text with the same level of candor, knowing that the very act of communicating with fellow humans will then be used to nudge our decisions.

What’s out 🏌️‍♀️

WhatsApp, in 6 months.

Why? WhatsApp is run by Facebook - who have shown again, and again, and yet again, that the company’s interests work against the short- and long-term interests of we who don’t pay money for its services.

Gmail and G Suite - for having similar business models. The shortlisted alternatives do not have certain features I find irreplaceable (at this time) and the timeline for replacement is 12 months. With luck, competitors’ feature-sets will mature by then.

Sunsetting products I use is a staged process; the above are just the ones that are at the head of the line.

What’s in 🎁

Signal (about, download) and Threema (about, download). I have both of these installed, although I don’t know anyone yet on Threema and it’s crickets for me right now (its userbase seems to be in Germany, I don’t live near there 🇨🇦).

Signal is opensource. Threema is partially open, and audited regularly by external reviewers.

The sunset plan 🌅

I’ll return to this post and update the plan as needed.

Product Deadline Replacement
WhatsApp February 2021 Signal, and Threema
Gmail August 2021 Tutanota, or ProtonMail
Twitter November 2021 Mastodon

Join me! 💬

Thanks for reading all the way through! Let me know what you think. You can (at)me on Mastodon or Twitter.


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