17 votes

The future of PrivacyTools

22 comments

  1. [2]
    Eric_the_Cerise
    Link
    PrivacyTools has been, probably, my Number 1 source for private/secure software and other resources for at least a decade now. Thanks, and I hope the next incarnation goes well for y'all.

    PrivacyTools has been, probably, my Number 1 source for private/secure software and other resources for at least a decade now. Thanks, and I hope the next incarnation goes well for y'all.

    8 votes
  2. [4]
    joplin
    Link
    I was not aware of this organization. It looks interesting. However, I really hate these posts with vague references to something that happened and no links to read about it. It all sounds very...

    I was not aware of this organization. It looks interesting. However, I really hate these posts with vague references to something that happened and no links to read about it. It all sounds very shady. I see 1 blog post where the old admin says he's stepping down and passing the torch to the new admin. But why do they need a new domain and name? Why doesn't the old owner just transfer it? My guess would be that he's going to use it for himself in some new way, but without more info, I'm left just guessing. Anyone know what's going on or have a link to read more about it?

    7 votes
    1. [2]
      freddy
      Link Parent
      Hey joplin, I'm actually one of the team members of the site, and I helped write that post. We've kept it vague because we don't really want to go public about all of the details. This happened...

      Hey joplin,

      I'm actually one of the team members of the site, and I helped write that post.

      I really hate these posts with vague references to something that happened and no links to read about it.

      We've kept it vague because we don't really want to go public about all of the details.

      I see 1 blog post where the old admin says he's stepping down and passing the torch to the new admin.

      This happened because of a dispute with the founder. We (the team members) attempted to buy the domain name off him, because he we haven't had proper contact with him for a while. And even when he was "available", it was so intermittent that he may as well have been absent. (I've been in the team for a year and they have logged on to our Matrix chat about three times). This has affected fundamental tasks like updating the site and having our servers for our services work.

      But why do they need a new domain and name?

      We don't control the domain name. So the founder could do anything with it. Its not a safe way to run the organisaion, really.

      Why doesn't the old owner just transfer it?

      They won't.

      Anyone know what's going on or have a link to read more about it?

      We've had these issues for a while now, and this is the first time we've gone public about it. There may be more posts coming out in the future depending on how things go.

      Hope this helps.

      12 votes
      1. joplin
        Link Parent
        Thanks, it does! Sorry to hear this has happened. It sounds awful. I hope the original owner gets through whatever they're going through, and that your team keeps on doing what you're doing! Keep...

        Thanks, it does! Sorry to hear this has happened. It sounds awful. I hope the original owner gets through whatever they're going through, and that your team keeps on doing what you're doing! Keep us posted on how it all turns out.

        2 votes
    2. jordan
      Link Parent
      I always assume projects like this will be taken down or change hands with other people. The site is not special, it's just a curated collection of open source privacy tools with a focus on...

      I always assume projects like this will be taken down or change hands with other people. The site is not special, it's just a curated collection of open source privacy tools with a focus on encryption.

      30 minutes on Google and you can find many sites and articles like it which detail privacy-aware and open source alternatives to common closed & proprietary tools/utilities. Just pick the tools you would like to use from the PrivacyTools site, and then check the site infrequently (like every year or so) and you're good. Just don't count on it being still there in a year however.

      1 vote
  3. [2]
    Cycloneblaze
    Link
    Even with not going into details, I feel like this post would be much better if written in a way that did not assume context that the reader is missing. Like, instead of saying "Our work...

    Even with not going into details, I feel like this post would be much better if written in a way that did not assume context that the reader is missing. Like, instead of saying "Our work maintaining PrivacyTools has been extremely difficult of late ... without the participation of its founder", start off with something like "We as the existing staff of PrivacyTools haven't been able to maintain contact with the site's founder for some time now, who has sole control over the domain name and resources. It's come to the point where we have to move to a new domain if we want to continue this community..." etc. I hope that doesn't come off as nitpicking, the vagueness just annoyed me too. Unless I am missing some previous post where you set out the problem before.

    That being said, I've seen a lot of people recommend PrivacyTools, I hope you manage to reestablish.

    6 votes
  4. [2]
    freddy
    Link
    An update: Welcome to Privacy Guides
    5 votes
    1. cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Congrats! That's also a great idea for a new direction to take the project in, and excellent name choice too, IMO. p.s. Do you expect the PT.io founder to eventually reappear again and put an end...

      Congrats! That's also a great idea for a new direction to take the project in, and excellent name choice too, IMO.

      p.s. Do you expect the PT.io founder to eventually reappear again and put an end to the redirect, or do you think they will be fine with it?

      2 votes
  5. mrbig
    Link
    I have used this website many times to help me choose safe alternatives for stuff. So thanks for the good work!

    I have used this website many times to help me choose safe alternatives for stuff. So thanks for the good work!

    4 votes
  6. [2]
    cfabbro
    (edited )
    Link
    Huh, TIL. What's the backstory with that, @freddy? Is the founder just AWOL, or did something more serious happen? Are they unable or unwilling to cede control to you all? If they're unable, can't...

    Our work maintaining PrivacyTools has been extremely difficult of late without access to key assets such as the domain and without the participation of its founder.

    Huh, TIL. What's the backstory with that, @freddy? Is the founder just AWOL, or did something more serious happen? Are they unable or unwilling to cede control to you all? If they're unable, can't you just wait for their domain registration to expire and then snag it yourselves?

    In any case, good luck with the name/domain submissions, vote, and switch. Privacytools has been a great resource which I have referred to many times over the years. Hopefully the rebranding doesn't hurt you too much (sadly, I suspect it will though, since you have already established yourselves and that is the perfect name/domain IMO). :(

    2 votes
    1. freddy
      Link Parent
      A bit of both. We haven't had proper contact with him for a while. And even when he was "available", it was so intermittent that he may as well have been absent. (I've been in the team for a year...

      Is the founder just AWOL, or did something more serious happen?

      A bit of both. We haven't had proper contact with him for a while. And even when he was "available", it was so intermittent that he may as well have been absent. (I've been in the team for a year and they have logged on to our Matrix chat about three times). This has affected fundamental tasks like updating the site and having our servers for our services work.

      There are also some more serious aspects that we've left out of the post, so as not to further complicate things.

      Are they unable or unwilling to cede control to you all?

      Sadly, yes.

      If they're unable, can't you just wait for their domain registration to expire and then snag it yourselves?

      Its on auto-renew. We tried to buy the domain in 2020 and 2021.

      In any case, good luck

      Thanks!

      4 votes
  7. [9]
    Wes
    Link
    I don't understand why something like this would need an organization to manage it. It's just a list of sites/tools. It could be thrown up on a GitHub Pages repo and maintained at virtually no cost.

    I don't understand why something like this would need an organization to manage it. It's just a list of sites/tools. It could be thrown up on a GitHub Pages repo and maintained at virtually no cost.

    1 vote
    1. [3]
      MimicSquid
      Link Parent
      Have you looked at the site? I ask this because I never had before, and I opened it up to see whether it was like you described. Having looked at it, you're really far off the mark. There's a lot...

      Have you looked at the site? I ask this because I never had before, and I opened it up to see whether it was like you described. Having looked at it, you're really far off the mark. There's a lot of information and context and citations, it's not just a list of sites and tools.

      4 votes
      1. [2]
        Wes
        Link Parent
        I looked at it a few years ago and it was as I described. Reviewing now, they've added more categories and details to the recommendations, but it is still a link aggregator at its core. To be...

        I looked at it a few years ago and it was as I described. Reviewing now, they've added more categories and details to the recommendations, but it is still a link aggregator at its core.

        To be honest, I just don't see why the site is so complex as to require a legal organization to govern it, or any complicated setups. It's entirely static content which means they could even use PRs to merge in new additions or removals from the community.

        1 vote
        1. MimicSquid
          Link Parent
          Having an organizational structure beyond an individual's GitHub page has a huge number of benefits, varying heavily depending on the chosen structure but including while not limited to: the...

          Having an organizational structure beyond an individual's GitHub page has a huge number of benefits, varying heavily depending on the chosen structure but including while not limited to: the ability to receive donations, a variety of tax benefits on money received in various ways, organizational continuity beyond someone's pet project, comparative ease of compensation when compensation is provided, organizational legitimacy, greater ability to resist outside influence, etc, etc, etc. The complexity of the site has little to do to the benefits of having a legal organization hold it.

          5 votes
    2. [5]
      freddy
      Link Parent
      That is what it began as. But we also offer a range of services and harbour a strong community (190k members strong on reddit, with thousands of members on our Matrix server). And we want to keep...

      That is what it began as. But we also offer a range of services and harbour a strong community (190k members strong on reddit, with thousands of members on our Matrix server). And we want to keep expanding this, hence the need for a proper organisation. We'll obviously keep working on the recommendations too.

      4 votes
      1. [4]
        Wes
        Link Parent
        Thanks, that does better explain the rationale. It would take time and effort to maintain the services that you've linked. I also didn't realize that you (the submitter) were associated with the...

        Thanks, that does better explain the rationale. It would take time and effort to maintain the services that you've linked. I also didn't realize that you (the submitter) were associated with the site.

        As a side note, your search bar is broken. It triggers a CSP violation.

        1 vote
        1. [2]
          Eric_the_Cerise
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          I would add that it was never "just" a list. It has always been a tightly curated list, aggressively researched, actively maintained and updated by an extremely tech-savvy group, with a large...

          I would add that it was never "just" a list. It has always been a tightly curated list, aggressively researched, actively maintained and updated by an extremely tech-savvy group, with a large community backing them up, constantly debating and challenging every item on it. There are hundreds of "just a list" sites out there, but almost since the day I found it (a decade ago), this has been the best list I've ever seen on the 'Net.

          ETA: In fairness, the 'Net is full of 'click-me' lists, and at a glance, it's often hard to tell the quality of a list's curation, how much research went in, how actively it's maintained (if at all).

          4 votes
          1. freddy
            Link Parent
            Thanks for the kind words!

            Thanks for the kind words!

            2 votes
        2. freddy
          Link Parent
          Ah, thanks for letting me know.

          Ah, thanks for letting me know.

          1 vote