Encrypted Social Network 'Minds' Will Protect User Data From Government and Corporate Snoops

Minds excels where other popular social networks, particularly Facebook, fail: transparency and protecting user privacy.


"Regain control of your social world," advertises the homepage of new, privacy-oriented social-media platform Minds excels where other popular social networks, particularly Facebook, fail: protecting user privacy and not using or selling your personal information. The site does not collect user data at all and offers end-to-end encrypted messaging, pseudonymous accounts, Bitcoin wallet services, and a system that rewards users for their activity on the site. 

"For every mobile vote, comment, remind, swipe and upload you earn points which can be exchanged for views on posts of your choice," the Minds website explains.

Minds offers some features familiar to Facebook users, such as the ability to post photos, videos, and status updates, to start or join groups, and to chat with friends. Users have a personal profile page, or "wall," and a Newsfeed, where they can see the updates of people they follow. But unlike Facebook, which relies on mysterious algorithms to determine who sees what, Minds guarantees users that all of their posts will go out to all of their followers. Facebook, notes Venture Beat's Barry Levine, "has aggravated the hell out of marketers by tightening its News Feed algorithm so much that posts get through to relatively few of your fans—unless you pay for boosts."

Minds is also powered by open-source software, which anyone can adapt to create their own social network. "We are a free and open-source platform to launch your digital brand, social network and mobile app," states the website. "We are also a social network ourselves. It is a global social network of social networks."

Bill Ottman, the company's chief executive, stressed to CNet the importance of its 'peer reviewed' code to privacy. "People with programming skills can look over the code to make sure no one can access data on the service who shouldn't," notes CNet's Laura Hautala. Ottoman pointed out that "a lot of companies will claim privacy and say they're encrypted. But it's not real encryption because we have no way of inspecting the code to see if there are backdoors." (Requiring tech services to provide government-accessible "backdoors" to user data is a popular plan in Washington right now.)

The fact that Minds doesn't collect user data also prevents a situation where intelligence agencies could demand that they turn it over. "We can't give it to them," Ottman told CNet, "because we don't have it ourselves."

Wired UK and other outlets are reporting that hacker collective Anonymous has endorsed Minds and called on people to help build up the new network. But it's unclear if the call to action, posted by the Anonymous ART of Revolution Facebook group, is a legit Anonymous effort (whatever that means) or not. Here's the message the group posted:

Anonymous ART of Revolution/Facebook

Yesterday, J.D. Tuccille blogged here about ProtonMail, a free, browser-based, encrypted email service he descirbes as "pretty much like using Gmail, but minus the likelihood of being snooped on by marketing types, intelligence snoops, or asshole federal prosecutors."

NEXT: Cloud-Based Password Service LastPass Hacked, User Data Compromised

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  1. Oh topic: California determined to fuck up shit people like.…..04366.html

    1. California gonna Californicate, yo

    2. Still, the ruling could spur more claims by current and former Uber drivers in California who consider themselves workers who are owed money by the company. It could also put more wind in the sails of workers and labor groups that are challenging the independent contractor model, in California and elsewhere.

      There it is. “Workers and labor groups” could give two shits for workers, as demonstrated by their disdain for a voluntary arrangements that empower workers to be the master of their own destiny and unshackles them from the constraints of outdated regulations and business models.

      And lefties wonder why there is so much vitriol directed against labor unions. Well I guess they don’t wonder actually, they just chalk it up to “KOCH BROTHERS! BOOOOOOSH! ASTRO TURF!”

    3. Some of the comments on the HuffPo article are amazing… “I’m skeptical of Uber and other job killing aps.”

      1. You know what the comments sections of those sites need? A button for “generate social signaling comment”. That way, social signaling can be even more effortless and insipid; when they don’t even have to think about it. Well, when they have to think about it even less than now.

        1. This reminds me of an old Seinfeld joke from his routine. Instead of wasting time having the “How’s it going?” exchange at work every day, simply say, “Acknowledge.”

          So, when they want to express solidarity, they should just push the “Acknowledge” button.

          1. (presses “acknowledge” button, thinking it is actually the “annihilate” button)

            1. +1 Land of Confusion.

            2. You should’ve bought that Tantalus Device on eBay, like I told you.

      2. Sion Isaacs Shankel ? Top Commenter ? CEO & Founder at Shankel Studios
        Uber and a even better service Lyft (I use it;) are both San Francisco companies…liberals are the drivers and the riders…so cons get you facts straight. Liberals are not ruining anything here..we are proving that in the most liberal city in the country the economy is the strongest. And yes if a company is putting the restrictions on its people that make them employees and not the free independent contractor, that needs to be fixed. Liberals are pro freedom to work as an independent contractor but when that is not how an employer behaves time to fight for freedom!

        Mark Deanticon ? Top Commenter
        Cabbies all over America pay fees for licenses etc. because…

        They are using the roads and other supporting PUBLICALLY paid for infrastructure to make their livings and it is only fair that they help pay for it thru these various “use fees”.

        The same goes for Uber – Who do they think they are anyway, tax dodging (R)s and government on the cheap conservatives who want all the benefits this great country has built but are not willing to pitch in to keep things that way?

        Jordan Kratz ? Top Commenter ? Portland, Maine
        Yes, Uber the Company that claims it is not a Taxi Company when that is what they are.
        I am glad to see Uber hammered.Time to pay up.

        1. It’s always ROADZ!!! with these people.

          1. It’s like these people have never heard of gas taxes.

            1. Or incentives. Or economics.

        2. I waded into those comments and feel dumber for the effort.

        3. Thanks a lot. I needed those brain cells and now *POOF*, gone.

    4. ugh the comments are the worst.

      1. Nowhere near as toxic/obnoxious/jerkish/vile/ juvenile/sophomoric/etc. as ours are. Just ask the Very Serious Libertarians.

    5. NYC was bragging on the news this morning about taking hundreds of “illegal” uber cars off the road. And they’re not even pretending it’s for anything other than job protection for the taxi cartel.

    6. Honestly, the IRS was gonna decide that anyhow.

  2. From CNet:

    Minds similarly stays away from advertising, but both social networks seek to earn revenues from its users. On top of some paid “VIP services,” Minds sells points that let users boost their posts beyond their followers. Minds users can earn points for free by interacting with the service, and users’ posts automatically go out to all of their followers.

    Spending points can make posts go “viral” and reach people much the way Twitter users can reach the feeds of users who don’t follow them with promoted tweets.

    Meh. I’m not holding out much hope for non-ad-supported services reaching any kind of critical mass. I mean, it sounds nice enough I guess. People may feel creeped on by marketers, but they still want the costs of their media defrayed by them.

    1. I would say at least half the reason (if not the MAIN reason) people use Twitter/Insta/FB is because it’s free. Not sure how this is going to attract people who want free stuff, which is all of us.

    2. Not to mention that if a much better thought-out free competitor like Google+ couldn’t shake Facebook’s stranglehold, I don’t have much hope for this.

      Sadly, Facebook is king because *everybody is already on it*, and they care more about that than a better interface or more protection from the government.

      1. There’s always the possibility of disruption, of course. Facebook destroyed MySpace destroyed Friendster. But FB has already outlasted those two and taken social networking to way more of the population.

        1. I would say, depressingly, that what Facebook did that allowed it to destroy MySpace (and so easily, at that) is that it is more locked down, more controlled. No one is setting up their own page with a black background and flashing yellow text and autoplaying embedded videos. Plus it forces a lot of interaction that you would normally not get, like deciding which posts to show other people and actually pushing people with reminders about birthdays and the like.

          It’s kind of like government; a lot of people like there to be control and order as long as it doesn’t bite them in the ass too much personally. And then they will complain endlessly about it (government or Facebook) but really won’t do much about it, and so it just continues. And that’s why the possibility of disruption is quite low.

        2. Kids entering high school today have no memory of a world without Facebook. That kind of ubiquity is pretty hard for any competitor to overcome.

          1. Kids entering high school today are also not on Facebook any more, except to share violin recital photos with grandma.

            1. Yeah – it’s funny how my kids basically use Snapchat, Insagram and Pinterest. Facebook is for mom and dad…

              AND GET OFF MY LAWN!

              *shakes cane at woodchippersnappers*

            2. True, but they still sign up because, well, that’s just what people do to stay in touch with unimportant friends and relatives.

              I’ve basically stopped using mine and I estimate that over 2/3rds of the people I’m “friends” with are people I’ll never talk to again in person.

            3. Yep. My kids only use Facebook to see pictures my wife posts. Facebook is for old people.

              1. Facebook was the platform college kids flocked to in the mid-late aughts. Now those same people are running up on 30 and having kids themselves.

  3. I don’t think privacy is high on the list of requirements for your typical Facebook consumer. I may be wrong on that, I admit.

    1. FoE just admitted to being wrong about everything! You all saw it!

      1. If you’re right, I don’t want to be wrong.

        1. So wait…two rights do make a wrong?

    2. I was of a similar mind running the opposite direction.

      If privacy is of primary concern, WTF are you doing posting your shit *anywhere* on the internet?

    3. Where do I go to not sign up?

  4. The fact that Minds doesn’t collect user data also prevents a situation where intelligence agencies could demand that they turn it over. “We can’t give it to them,” Ottman told CNet, “because we don’t have it ourselves.”

    But how much do you need to trust host Amazon?

  5. How do they feel about woodchippers?

    Asking for a friend…

  6. Yesterday, J.D. Tuccille blogged here about ProtonMail, a free, browser-based, encrypted email service he descirbes as “pretty much like using Gmail, but minus the likelihood of being snooped on by marketing types, intelligence snoops, or asshole federal prosecutors.”

    But this would need to be end to end, correct? If you send an email to someone on another service (gmail, outlook, etc) wouldn’t the encryption be broken at that point?

    1. I have protonmail in fact by strange coincidence I mentioned it here the night before Tuccille’s article. /bitterness You can send an end to end encrypted to any other service. The other user needs a password and then they can view it in a different browser window.

      1. MPG

        Thanks for the answer, I wondered about that. Might look into it.

  7. I just checked in on that post about the boy getting put on the sex offender registry because a girl lied about her age. I don’t know for sure this poster is Tulpa, but he might as well be:

    “I don’t feel sorry for him at all. If you want to take part in the hookup culture, this is just one of the long list of risks you take. Back in the day when a guy spent time to get to know a girl before jumping in the sack, learned her interests and hobbies, her beliefs and philosophy, met and spent time with her family and friends, there was no way he would be hoodwinked like this by a young teenager. Anderson was 19 and legally an adult. If he had acted like one he wouldn’t have been in this situation at all. Again, you won’t see me crying for him.”

    I just can’t…

    1. Back in the day, a man would take the time to be sure that a girl was a 14-yr.-old virgin before making her his bride and mother of his children.

      1. Back in the day, warlords who founded major world religions at least had the common courtesy to wait until their 6 year old child brides reached 9 years of age before consummating the marriage.

        Back in the day, southern plantation owners made absolutely sure to maintain decorum as they effectively raped their attractive female slaves.

        Back in the day, we knew that the best way to deal with adulteresses was through a good stoning, or perhaps a scarlet letter.

        Truly, they were simpler, more decent times.

        1. effectively raped

          This means?

          1. They did it with a certain degree of skill or efficiency?

          2. …babies were produced (ergo, the rape was “effective”)?

            1. I hate all of you because what I clearly meant was that it’s impossible to legitimately consent when you’re actually someone’s property and they can kill you with impunity.

              You guys are like three Nicoles.

              1. Irish was effectively raped by your comments.

    2. Certainly sounds like something that cock smoker would post.

  8. Facebook has got to have become uncool to the Kids These Days by now, right? I got rid of it in 2008 because it creeped me out, so I have no real idea about these things.

    1. My daughter is 20, she never used it. Although she is a Tumblr addict.
      My son is 15, he has a page he looks at probably once a week.

    2. My understanding is that Kids These Days are mostly into mobile apps that are more or less directly peer-to-peer.

      1. Good to have independent confirmation that I’m not allowing/encouraging my boys to socially cripple themselves by not exposing them to Facebook and just letting them enjoy their mobile P2P apps.

        Not that inflicting Facebook on someone is inherently the lesser evil.

    3. yep confirmed by my friends brother who is 16. Facebook in uncool.

    4. I stopped caring about Facebook in 2005.

      Fun fact: Saverin, Facebook’s co-founder, was in the section I TA’d.

    5. Its a place for 28-40 year olds post baby and drunk pics.

  9. This will be outlawed because something about “if you have nothing to hide blah blah blah FYTW” in 3… 2… 1…

  10. Facebook, which relies on mysterious algorithms to determine who sees what

    Funny, I just noticed that. I’m on Facebook maybe twice a year; the other day I read a couple posts, hit refresh, and was presented with a completely different set of posts. I was like WTF? Who want to see only a random selection of what their friends are up to.

    1. This was a main reason I left. It did a crap job of putting what I wanted to see up front. Then I ended up seeing the posts from random friends from 20 years ago all the time; and the fact that I ever commented probably made me look like a stalker. The only plus to it, was I was good about posting baby pics when I was on it. Since I left I have lost my picture-posting discipline, though also the boy is older now.

  11. I am Facebook solely because 1) I need to coordinate stuff with my friends and 2) because I log into some other services with its login info. I actually log into FB maybe once every two or three weeks to copy-paste a link to some article that I want to shove in peoples’ faces.

    1. I am like 7 Up in 1983: Never had it, never will!

  12. I remember Pro Liberte saying that FB acts like it wants to fail. He said he knew this from interacting with the company. Anyone care to elaborate?

    1. I dunno how he can say that. They have hip open-plan offices.

    2. I can’t elaborate, but I bet others here have dealt with them commercially.

  13. The fact that Minds doesn’t collect user data also prevents a situation where intelligence agencies could demand that they turn it over. “We can’t give it to them,” Ottman told CNet, “because we don’t have it ourselves.”

    “Give me that gun, my Son.”

    “But, Padre, I don’t have a gun.”

    “Oh, here, have one of mine.”

  14. Guess who continues to make news?

    Rachel Dolezal Demanded Boycott of a Movie Because White Actors Played African Roles…..lack-roles

    Does this mean we should boycott her?

    1. She’s like those born-again Christians who are ten times more zealous than the people who have been going to church their entire lives.

      1. That’s common with all sorts of converts.

    2. I have always been boycotting her.

  15. Oh wait, Anonymous is involved?
    This is sure to be retarded. Is is integrated with 4Chan then?

  16. I make up to $90 an hour working from my home. My story is that I quit working at Walmart to work online and with a little effort I easily bring in around $40h to $86h? Someone was good to me by sharing this link with me, so now i am hoping i could help someone else out there by sharing this link… Try it, you won’t regret it!……

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