Encrypted chatrooms and VoIP services, such as like WhatsApp and Telegram, are not only great for business communications, but they critically important for human rights defenders and political activists fighting around the world – especially in at risk or oppressive countries. It is important to understand that even if you are living in a country which has banned Tor, VPN’s or applications such as Telegram, and you are afraid to use/install those programs out of fear of persecution, encrypted chatrooms can be equally as easy to use and remain 100% legal to boot.
For example, even in countries like Egypt, Iran, Pakistan – et cetera – which have either outright or periodically banned VoIP services such as Telegram and Viber, other chatroom-based services like Chatbox or Slack are still free and legal to own, and can be used to protect private communications all the same. In fact, political activists in countries such as Ethiopia and Egypt are known to have used encrypted chat services to safely coordinate communications, rallies and protests in times of great civil unrest, such as during the Oromo protests and Rabba Massacre. I know this because I was there on the front-lines helping to set up their accounts.
It’s usually free to sign up for these services, and all you need is a verified email address or phone number to login. Then, once enrolled, you can encrypt your chatroom by setting up a custom name/URL for it and requiring password authentication for entry. This assures that only the people you give the URL address to will be able to find it, and only those who know the password to it will be able to enter. Additionally, once set up, you can even set up individual channels within the chatroom itself for a duel level of security/encryption. This includes setting custom rules for different channels, such as requiring Administrator approval for access. This assures that if even someone is able to brute-force their way into your chatroom itself, there are still protocols in place to protect individual communications and information within the chatroom itself.
Additionally, especially if you are doing activism or human rights work, or feel that your life/security could be in danger for the work you do, it is always recommended to never use your real life identity or personal email accounts to set up an encrypted chatroom or channel. Instead, you should always create an online alias and use it to register a new account within an encrypted email service provider, such as ProtonMail or Tutanota. Obviously, this advice need not apply for those of you who are using these services for business purposes. Lastly, some chatroom services actually offer built in video chats, allowing for a third means to make secure voice connections outside of standard phone calls or VoIP services.
For more information on how to keep a safe, private and Anonymous identity online, please read the following tutorial: https://anonhq.com/anonymous-security-guide-2-0/
For more information on different encrypted email service providers and how you can make the switch, please read the following link: https://roguemedialabs.wpcomstaging.com/2019/11/02/making-the-switch-to-encrypted-emails-2/
Best/Top Chatroom Service Providers:
Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP):
While VoIP services are not necessarily “essential“ for everyday phone use, they do offer critical protections for political activists, journalists, researchers and citizens living under oppressive regimes all around the world. VoIP stands for “Voice over Internet Protocol,“ which is just a fancy way of saying they transport all calls and messages over established internet connections, rather than routing them through your telecommunications or phone service provider – such as AT&T or Verizon.
In areas like the United States and European Union, VoIP services are important to own because they prevent your data from being intercepted, recorded or stolen by telecommunications companies and other interested 3rd parties, such as Governments, thus protecting any information you send across the wires. VoIP services also offer the ability to encrypt messages or calls between like users, further protecting customer privacy. By comparison, both of these options are unavailable on standard text messages or phone calls straight from your phone provider. In politically oppressive countries around the world, VoIP services are even more important because they offer a critical means to bypass Government imposed restrictions or blockades on national telecommunications on a local level, while also allowing users to make international calls entirely for free.
While this might sound a bit complex or advanced, once installed, operating a VoIP connection/application is no more different or complicated than making a regular phone call or sending traditional text messages. Instead of using your normal texts messages or phone App, you simply download a VoIP App and log into that to make/receive calls and texts – it’s literally that easy. Lastly, VoIP connections offer a secondary means to reach your contacts, should your phone lose service, go out of cell tower range or come under blackout. Rather than relying on the signal strength of your network service provider of choice, all you need is an active internet connection to utilize a VoIP services.
The Best/Top VoIP Service Providers:
- Telegram: https://telegram.org/
- WhatsApp: https://www.whatsapp.com/
- Wickr: https://wickr.com/
- Signal: https://signal.org/
- Viber: https://www.viber.com