I really like Bitcoin. I think the future of money should be something like Bitcoin in a way that nobody can control it or impose rules and regulations on it.

In past few days, Bitcoin has been rising in price. Tesla buying $1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin pushed it to a new high and now everybody is talking about how tech and industry giants are coming to the market, and I don’t like this actually.

First of all, what I like about digital currencies is that nobody truly controls them. There’s no central bank for it and everybody can own it without a government being able to enforce laws on it, well almost. Tesla and Apple are the first giant ones that are believed to be involved in it and their ability to change the price or manipulate the market is worrying.

Imagine Elon Musk tweeting that Tesla is going to sell all its Bitcoins and naturally the price will decrease and then they buy more Bitcoins and tweet again that they’re not going to sell and well price will go back up and they get a lot of profit only with few tweets.

Second, privacy is a problem. Bitcoin is not a privacy-friendly cryptocurrency. Every Bitcoin transaction is published. Now, people might not know that my wallet belongs to me, but if I used it more than a few times it would be possible to figure out that it’s me.

Bitcoin is actually safer than credit/debit cards because you have at least some privacy in it while debit and credit institutes and banks violate your right over privacy and anonymity completely.

This is why most of times I use cash. I still own a credit/debit card as it’s needed but cash is my main way of paying. I really don’t want my bank to know about what I buy, when I buy it, and where I buy it.

Also, with cash, I can prevent being recognized at markets. I can buy stuff with a fake identity. Bitcoin makes it easier to pay and receive with anonymity (which is a part of our privacy rights) but it’s not focused on it.

After WhatsApp updated its privacy terms and millions of users got angry, people started to move from it to Signal and Telegram. It even caused some problems for Telegram and Signal servers as they didn’t expect that much users.

Signal is known for its encryption and privacy and I think they are doing a very good job but I don’t trust them. The thing against Signal is that it’s not really free software. Signal has a code/repository that is published with a free (as in freedom) license but the app itself is not libre.

Signal’s app is not on F-Droid. The only way to get Signal’s app is to download it using Google Play Store. When many people complained, they published an APK which is really really hard to find and is still using Google Play Service, if it’s available on your phone.

Signal doesn’t let you connect to Signal using the app you created yourself. Even if you compile their exact source code, it will only be active at most for 90 days.

But what I use instead of Signal and Telegram? I use Matrix and XMPP. They are decentralized messengers and truly free (as in freedom). With Matrix and XMPP, I have true liberty over my computing and messaging. I can run my own server if I don’t trust others and I can make sure encryption works the way I want.

I can compile/build my own app and know for sure that the app works as it is expected. Unlike WhatsApp, Telegram, and Signal which have centralized servers, Matrix and XMPP are decentralized and there’s no main server. I know for sure what’s happening on the server (as I can run my own) and I’m sure the app communicates with server exactly how it says so or I want it.

Many intelligence agencies or tech companies try to fool people by telling them that their backdoors are only for good people. I think there’s no need to say that’s a lie.

There’s no meaning in encryption or security when there’s a backdoor. There is no such thing as a backdoor that only lets the good guys in. If there’s a “master key” that unlocks millions of accounts, every cracker on the planet will be after it.

A compromised encryption backdoor could give cyber criminals access to your bank account, your personal messages and other sensitive information.

Don’t think crackers can steal the master key? Think again. Both the CIA and the NSA were breached in 2017 by mysterious organizations that stole and published the spy agencies’ cracking tools. The same year, cyber criminals stole an NSA exploit and used it in a massive, worldwide ransomware attack. The fact is, if the government or anyone else controls a master key, eventually it will get out.

Crackers aren’t the only threat: Governments may also use encryption backdoors for harm. The U.S. government has already revealed its willingness to spy on citizens without a warrant. If liberal democracies cannot be trusted, what about China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, or countless other authoritarian states? Encryption backdoors could be used by repressive regimes to help them persecute journalists, dissidents, religious minorities, the LGBT community, and anyone else they please.

Data Privacy Day

Every year on January 28, we celebrate the international event of Data Privacy Day. The purpose of Data Privacy Day is to raise awareness and promote privacy and data protection best practices.

Privacy is a human right. Many people confuse privacy with secrecy and anonymity. While privacy is a human right, anonymity is a choice. Anonymity is one of choices and rights made possible with privacy.

I’m very careful about my privacy and I take it very seriously while I’m not an anonymous person. I don’t have anything to hide, except for my personal data, but I’m still very cautious about privacy. Privacy is like free speech. I respect my right about it even if I have nothing to say, or hide.

As Data Privacy Day is about raising awareness about best practices of it, I decided to write a note about one of the ways I keep my personal files secure which is encryption.

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Access to what the company called “our private Chrome APIs” will be blocked starting March 15. Google plans to revoke others’ Chromium-based browsers’ access to a long list of APIs that power such popular services as bookmark and settings synchronization.

“We discovered that some third-party Chromium-based browsers were able to integrate Google features, such as Chrome Sync and Click to Call, that are only intended for Google’s use,” Jochen Eisinger, Chrome engineering director, wrote in a Jan. 15 post to a company blog.

This is good news. I see many people are considering to move to Firefox and Firefox-based browsers which are by and for the people. What Google does with Chromium and Chrome is to force its own preferences as web standards.

However, Firefox is backed by not-for-profit Mozilla and has a mission to bring back the web to people.

I personally use GNU IceCat as my main browser. It’s free software and focuses on privacy and freedom. No need to mention that IceCat is based on Firefox.

The GitHub Blog published a note about how GitHub is now fully available in Iran. This is a very good step, and a nice thing. It should be appreciated. However, that doesn’t change the fact that GitHub can still ban people based on nationality or place they live.

GitHub got a license from the U.S. government to offer GitHub to developers in Iran. This means that OFAC can revoke this license too, at anytime it wants for whatever reason they decide.

Using GitHub, and also GitLab dot com, is a mistake. They blindly obey the authority and will never take side with people. What they value is money, which has no problem in it except for making them side with power instead of people.

Unlike GitHub and GitLab dot com, there are services that are here to provide to people, not power. I can’t say they won’t obey the law if they have to but at least they will fight for people before obeying an authority without question.

Services like Codeberg and Framagit are created with a libre program which let you know host it yourself or change the way they work. They respect people and try to side with you, instead of authority.

I really believe this license will be revoked in future and many people will get hurt again. I hope I’m wrong though.

I’m a fan of decentralized networks. I use Mastodon instead of Twitter, I use Pixelfed instead of Instagram, and I use IRC and XMPP instead of Whatsapp. I’m very well satisfied with my experience. I don’t feel lack of any social network or messaging system.

I respect myself, therefore I don’t use proprietary apps and networks. If someone needs to contact me or have a digital social relationship with me, then that person can start a respectful relationship by using free software and privacy-minded networks.

However, I should mention that not all of Fediverse or decentralized services/products are good. For example, some programs/networks don’t have a good user experience.

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