Guide to safer, private communication in a world of persistent chats

The disclosure exposes our private conversations and sensitive information. Fortunately, there are steps we take to communicate more privately and protect our chats. With many major chat platforms, your chats could remain stored on their servers forever unless you explicitly delete them. It means there’s an accessible record of your conversations that could potentially be hacked, leaked, or accessed without your permission.

Set chats to disappear

Many chat apps now offer options to make chats “disappear” after a set time period, such as 24 hours or 7 days. This prevents long-term storage of chat history and limits exposure from breaches or unauthorized access. Just be cautious – screenshots could still expose disappearing chats.

 Limit sensitive info shared

Carefully consider how much sensitive personal or professional information you share over chat apps. Ask yourself if a more secure communication method is warranted, like an in-person conversation or paper letter check out here

Delete old chats & chat backups

Actively deleting old chats and chat backups removes them from storage on servers and devices. It is also limits exposure from account compromise. Delete chats you no longer need on a regular basis.

Privacy-focused chat tools

Some tools like Privnote and Confide offer specialized privacy features for chat, like encrypted ephemeral chats or chat messages that self-destruct after reading. Jumbo is an app that empowers removing other users’ access to past messages.

Protect chat backups

If backing up chat histories, store them securely. Encrypt backups and limit their access.

Caution with metadata & contacts access

Understand chat apps still reveal metadata like who you chat with and when, even if chats are encrypted. Also be selective in granting chat apps access to contacts.

Security hygiene

Practice good security hygiene like using strong unique passwords and two-factor authentication to protect your accounts from compromise.

Private chats with privnote

One secure way to share private messages or information is Privnote – a free online service that lets you create self-destructing notes and encrypted chats. Here’s how Privnote protects your private chats:

  1. Privnote uses end-to-end encryption to secure notes in transit and at rest. Only the recipient decrypts and read messages.
  2. Privnotes self- destruct after being read once, removing access even if the link is shared again. The recipients save or copy the note’s contents.
  3. Privnote doesn’t require creating accounts so there’s no chat history tied to your identity. You access Privnotes via generated links.
  4. Privnote does not store any server logs or metadata about notes created and accessed.
  5. Private Messaging Best Practices

Here are some best practices to keep private messages secure:

  • Avoid persisting sensitive info – Be cautious in keeping or backing up private chats long-term.
  • Encrypt messages in transit – Use apps that provide encryption, or tools like PGP email encryption.
  • Expire messages – Enable disappearing messages where possible so chats don’t persist.
  • Watch out for screenshots – Recipients still screenshot ephemeral chats in apps.
  • Use access controls – Apps like Jumbo let you revoke message access after sending.
  • Mind your backups – Encrypt and password protect any chat backups.

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