An article published today on Amnesty International‘s site by Tanya O’Carroll and reposted by Stephane Koch outlines 6 simple tools that you can use to protect your online privacy (and help you fight back against mass surveillance). I thought it was a worthwhile article to repost given the importance of the topic. Read the full article here>>
Here are the 6 tools:
1. TextSecure – for text messages
An easy-to-use, free app for Android (iPhones have a compatible app called Signal). It looks a lot like WhatsApp and encrypts your texts, pictures, video and audio files. The app is open-source and provides end-to-end encryption. That means only you and the person you are sending to will be able to read the messages.
2. Redphone – for voice calls
Another free, open-source app for Android (for iPhones it’s the same Signal app, which combines voice calls and messaging) which encrypts your voice calls end-to-end. All calls are over the internet, so you only pay for wifi or data rather than using your phone’s credit.
3. meet.jit.si – for video calls and instant messaging
A free and open-source service to secure your voice calls, video calls, video conferences, instant messages and file transfers. It runs directly in your browser with no need to download anything and allows you to invite multiple people to join a video call. It’s a bit like Google hangouts, but your calls and chats are encrypted end-to-end. There is also a desktop version called Jitsi which you can download for Windows, Linux, Mac OS X and Android.
4. miniLock – for file sharing
For your web browser lets you encrypt files – including video, email attachments and photos – and share them with friends really easily. You can upload and send your file to selected contacts by using their unique miniLock id, meaning your file can only be downloaded by the person you share it with.
5. Mailvelope – for more secure email
A free add-on for your web browser which provides end-to-end encryption for your emails. It can be configured to work with almost any web-based email provider, including Gmail, Yahoo and Outlook. It’s open source and uses OpenPGP encryption.
6. SpiderOak – for cloud sharing and storage
This service helps you back-up your files, sync between multiple devices and share files privately with people you trust. It fully encrypts your data end-to-end which means that, unlike other cloud sharing and storage services such as Dropbox, even the company itself cannot see your documents on its servers. SpiderOak charges $12 each month for a personal account. It’s not yet open-source.
Some of you might not have heard of this so I thought I would take a moment to summarise this valuable tool. It is particularly valuable for generating creativity in group discussions. It gives everyone a chance to contribute ensuring to a successful outcome without conflict.
The Six Thinking Hats is a concept that was established in a book by Edward de Bono, a physician from Malta who has written numerous works about thinking and language and their influence on humanity. The concept helps people think more clearly and thoroughly through the principle of parallel thinking. Parallel thinking guides thought processes in one direction at a time so we can effectively analyse issues, generate new ideas, and ultimately make better decisions. In other words, each member thinks using the same thinking hat, at the same time, on the same thinking challenge.
The aim is for members of a group to go beyond their own opinions and focus more on the best way forward as a group. This is done by separating emotion from facts, the positive from the negative and critical thinking from creative thinking.
In practice, each member of the group takes on a different role by putting on a different coloured hat. From the diagram below we can see that each colour is associated with a “thinking ingredient”. Therefore, a person with a blue hat might be a good group leader.This person could then agree with other group members on the best order of hats to use. Each hat has a natural pairing with another. For example yellow is positive while black is more negative; red is emotion driven while white is data driven. In general, if you use one hat, you should also use its partner for balance.
Here are some examples of successful businesses that have applied the Six Thinking Hats tool. Perhaps it could work for your organisation?
This image summarizes it well. For more information, check the de Bono for schools site.