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Contact Me Securely
many emails need the extra security of encryption or anonymization – but when you
need that extra security, you need it.
Contact Me Privately
If you want to encrypt your correspondence with me, and we already know
each other, then don't use email. Instead, please set up a video call using Zoom.
- In my experience, Zoom produces much better video than Skype does.
- As a quadruple bonus, Zoom is also:
- able to transfer documents between us while we're talking (PDF, Microsoft Word, and so on);
- end-to-end encrypted;
- quick and easy to sign up for; and
- That said, don't use Zoom if traffic analysis is a concern for you.
Contact Me AnonymouslyIf you want to have a correspondence with me which is unencrypted but anonymous, then please Google on "anonymous email" . Pick something which looks convenient to you.
- If you need to conceal your identity only from me, then pick something easy.
- I'm really not tech-savvy enough to unmask you.
- Maybe use Emkei to send email, and Mailnesia to receive it.
- Emkei and Mailnesia require no sign-up at all.
you also need to conceal your identity from third parties (or if you
mistrust my "aw, shucks" disclaimer of technical expertise),
then also use Tor. Yes, Tor is (shall we say) "more sophisticated" than Emkei and Mailnesia.
or without Tor, use the body of your message to say what you want
to say. I don't open email attachments from strangers.
- As with Zoom, don't use Emkei and Mailnesia (even with Tor) if traffic analysis is a concern for you.
Contact Me Both Privately and AnonymouslyIf you need both privacy and anonymity, then sign up for an anonymous account with Tutanota.
the following three things, no matter who you want to conceal your
identity from, as you prepare to exchange encrypted messages with me over Tutanota:
- Tutanota provides end-to-end encryption between its customers.
- Tutanota is free.
- Yes, I already have an anonymous account, and can get additional
anonymous accounts as needed (as can anyone else on the planet who has
an Internet connection).
- Yes, I signed up over Tor.
What you need to do depends on who you want to conceal your identity from, as we exchange encrypted messages:
- Have the name of your account indicate nothing about your real name.
- Be prepared to wait a day or two for Tutanota to set up the account.
- Think through how concerned you are (if at all) about traffic analysis.
- You probably aren't concerned.
- But you might be. After all, Tutanota knows:
- the existence of a correspondence which is being carried on between two of its customers; and
- the metadata which each message in this
correspondence is generating; that is, it knows the size and timing of each message.
- Tutanota knows
this metadata even though it knows neither the contents of
the correspondence nor the identities of the customers.
- Tutanota deliberately does not keep records of this metadata.
- Metadata means little if it is not voluminously recorded.
law (Tutanota is a German company) authorizes this non-retention
practice. The Germans have very unfond memories of the Stasi, the East German secret police.
law might change. Tutanota's practices might change. (German law
authorizes data non-retention, but does not require it.) Tutanota might
get hacked. It might hire a corrupt employee.
- But these are all "mights", and not "ares". Tutanota remains a big improvement over conventional email.
(1) Encrypted Messaging While Concealing Your Identity Only From MeIf you need to send an encrypted message to me while concealing your identity only from me,
and not also from Tutanota (or from other parties, such as Tutanota's hackers), then take the following steps:
- Once you have your Tutanota account, invest a postage stamp in our relationship: send an anonymous snail mail letter to me and state your Tutanota email
- I'll reply from my own Tutanota address. This may take me a day or two.
you in turn respond to my reply, use the body of your message to
say what you want to say. I don't open attachments to emails from
(2) Encrypted Messaging While Concealing Your Identity From Tutanota As Well As From MeIf you need to additionally conceal your identity from Tutanota as well as from me, then:
- take the above steps for doing business with Tutanota and concealing your identity only from me; but also
- when you sign up for your anonymous account with Tutanota, sign up over Tor; and also
- send that anonymous letter not only without a return address, but also from an unusual location.
hacker who can get into Tutanota (and you should worry more about
Tutanota's hackers than about Tutanota itself) can also get into the US
Service's Mail Isolation Control and Tracking (MICT) system.
is a great way to cost-effectively automate the delivery of mail, but
it leaves behind a trail of electronic breadcrumbs which are juicy
targets for any hacker.
(3) Encrypted Messaging While Concealing Your Identity Only From TutanotaIf you need to conceal your identity only from Tutanota
(and from Tutanota's hackers), and
not also from me, then don't worry about making your letter to me
- Feel free to sign your letter, or to hand it to me at Crumpets and Tea.
- If you mail the letter, you still might want to take the anti-MICT precautions which are recommended above.
- I'll reply from my own anonymous Tutanota account. This may take me a day or two.
Third Parties With PowerYes,
you also have to trust me to not reveal the existence or contents of
our correspondence to third parties, especially third parties with
- With enough pressure from these third parties, I'll crack.
- The amount of pressure required may well be absurdly low. Think "thug beating me up", or "judge jailing me for contempt".
said, however, show as much seriousness as possible in being private and/or
anonymous with me. The more seriousness you show:
- the more pressure it will take before I crack; and
- the less likely it is that I will come to the attention of the thug or the judge in the first place.
The NSAOf course, none of this will work against the NSA, nor against any other very sophisticated hacker.
- However, it might well work against a less
sophisticated hacker – and that's the kind of attacker which folks like us need to worry about.
- Besides, isn't it fun to daydream about being James Bond?