Suddenly privacy is a big thing (again) and people are rushing around pointing fingers, hyperventilating and generally getting worked up. And quite rightly so. But at the end of the day things will only change if and when enough people bang the gong, so till then it’s up to us to carry on and take steps to protect our privacy as we feel is right.
One tool which could help is the Encrypted Communication add-on for the Firefox browser, which provides an extremely simple way to encrypt text in general web use, for places like Gmail, Facebook, Twitter and other places.
The software uses AES-256 encryption, so it’s pretty secure (although who can really be sure nowadays with all these revelations, eh?) and it is quick to use. Just write your text, right mouse click, select Encrypt Communication, add a password and all the text is automatically scrambled. Job done.
The addon worked fine with Gmail and Facebook in our tests, although we did encounter a strange error message in Twitter which apparently has something to do with the type of text formatting used in their text box. Hopefully it’s a glitch which will be fixed in future versions? For now though, we applaud a tool which offers an option to those of us who prefer not to have all our chats and personal stuff poured over by faceless analysts thousands of miles away, at least without a fight. It’s a small grain of comfort.
For those who use the Chrome browser, we suggest the free open source Taniger product, which is designed specifically to encrypt Facebook texts. This app offers a range of encryption methods (from AES to Rabbit) and works even more seamlessly by automatically encrypting all text once you’ve toggled the on button. That makes it fast and useful.