Privacy Tools for RC

Best Practices


1. Overview

Increasingly easy-to-use and free software has been shown to extract, monetize, publicize and manipulate data on individuals. Even when holding directions to be open and honest, RCers are vulnerable to attacks and abuse in their use of technology.

Although there are no techniques that can completely protect us, there are steps we can take to make us less vulnerable and slow down abuses.

Some publishers of free tools have demonstrated egregious disregard for privacy. And other organizations have developed tools that protect users' privacy. We outline some of these tools here.

Our expectation is to maintain this document as new information arises.


2. Tools to Use with Caution

We can avoid abusive and unprotected systems and software, or use them with awareness. Some examples include:

  • Google apps
  • Whatsapp
  • Facebook
  • most social media
  • all unencrypted email

These products were designed to distribute widely for free; to collect, aggregate, monetize and sell our data without our intentional permission; to manipulate our buying habits and our political thought; and to facilitate controversy and proliferate "fake news" in order to addict users to these services and sell advertising.

In the RC context one should have no expectation of privacy using these (and other) tools.


3. Alternative Tools that Respect Privacy

We can lean toward the tools that protect privacy. Some are free and some have a cost. We may need to discharge to consider paying for more secure systems when there are ‘free’ alternatives like Google apps. (Note that free software is paid for by users selling our privacy.)

Resource #4 (below) contains a fairly comprehensive list of tools that can replace Google products. Some standouts that respect privacy include:

  • Signal messaging app, for texting, calling and video calls for individuals and groups. (See Resource #10 below for comparison.)

  • Jitsi Meet for video conferencing (instead of Zoom).

  • Cryptpad for office tasks (instead of Google Docs, Spreadsheet and Slides).

  • Duckduckgo browser search engine (instead of Google Search).

  • Ublock Origin browser extension to block ad trackers.

  • Encrypted email systems such as Protonmail and Tutanova. Resource # 6 contains other good choices.


4. The RC Website

We can use the secure RC Website for collecting workshop registration data and creating mailing lists. Workshop organizers and approved RCers can create registration forms for securely collecting applicant data. For those who need help creating such forms, one can request a form here.


5. Secure Passwords

We can secure our Passwords!

  • Fun fact: The password that is used by the largest number of people in the world is ‘123456’. (You could become a successful computer hackers knowing just that 1 fact!)

  • It is best to use long and obscure passwords.

  • It is best to avoid reusing passwords.

  • And it is good to store them in a password manager.

Resource #1 contains a tutorial for setting up a free and secure password manager.

Additionally, Two-factor Authentication can further secure your most sensitive online accounts. Medical, financial and other websites allow you to set up another way to prove that hacker is not breaking into your account. After you enter your password, the system typically sends a code to your smartphone, and you enter that as well. This can also be accomplished with a special app that works with the webpage.





  1. A Tool for Creating and Managing Passwords (RC)
  2. The best password managers in 2023
  3. The best VPN service in 2023
  4. 20 bad Internet behaviors – and how to fix them
  5. The complete list of alternatives to all Google products
  6. 12 Best Private and Secure Email Services
  7. Why Metadata Matters
  8. Secure Encrypted Messaging Apps
  9. Podcast on Privacy & Security
  10. Comparison of Whatsapp, Telegram and Signal




v1.5  2023 Aug 01

Last modified: 2023-08-01 16:28:03+00