Journal securely or do you care?

I'm not going to put my deepest thoughts where they can ever be found, so I keep a Word doc as a journal that can only be opened by a separate encryption program. I have nothing to hide, except what's in my journal. :-) But who among us would want their journal read by someone else? Who would rest well if you lost your journal? I'm thinking I either encrypt it or wouldn't really be free to 'write my mind'. I don't think one has to be employed as a spy to care about journal security. So, do you keep it (1) safe via superficiality, (2) analog, honest, and hopeful it stays secure, or (3) encrypted and uncrackable?

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I Like My Journal Private

I like mine private. Not for any particularly nefarious reason, mind you, but just because these are my thoughts; my personal thoughts on any or all subjects that wander into my mind. (I also keep other journals with specific purposes, but here I am talking about my plain, old, daily personal journal).

If your Journal is not private then it probably won't be as true and frank as it otherwise would be. When I am writing down my thoughts about the events of the day, or my personal feelings about things that occurred, I want it to be as spontaneous as possible. A real, honest outpouring of my feelings onto paper (or the screen if it is an electronic Journal; I keep both!). I think that if you know it will be read by others, you carefully think about what you are writing, what people will think about it if you write it "this way"; you just don't usually get that same honesty in your journal if you know that it will be read by others. You might even change your whole writing style just because of that. But a true journal should be open and honest.

I have been using a commercial journaling software product, which I love. (BTW, I have no personal or financial interest in this software; I mention it only because I like it so much.) I use "The Journal" developed by David Michael. You can create as many journals in it as you wish. Is has a word processing-like layout along with a tree structure for your various journal volumes, categories, and entries. Both regular dated Daily Journals and Notebooks. You can create endless categories and subcategories and entries. Text and images. It has writing prompts to help you practice your writing. It also has decent security so you can password protect your Journals. You can also purchase a security add-on that lets you encrypt your Journals in any of several ways with what I guess is some serious encryption stuff - I obviously don't use that add-on! You can also add whatever blogs you have to the Options and then write all your blogs within The Journal. Then send them over the Internet whenever they are ready to go.

Since I am more or less housebound due to a disability all my Journals are here with me on my desktop PC. I don't much worry about my dear wife snooping around in there, though if she did, there is nothing in there that I would worry about her seeing.

My concerns about privacy first came about when I was looking for a nice format for my electronic journal. Searching on the web I liked what I saw with the Live Journal web site. The format is nice and easy to use. I started my Journal there but soon realized the pitfalls of using any public web site for personal stuff - the Live Journal administrators, like all other free sites, really really really want you to share your journals there with the rest of their "community". So much so that they make it very easy to publish any journal entry you create publicly by accident. I had the default set to "Private" but that can change at any time. They have a way for you to email your journal entries to the site. The first few that I sent that way ended up being public, though it took me several days to realize this. Even though my default was set to "Private", any time you initiate a new way to publish your journal entries, it has a way of going public there until you actually log in online and manually change it. Arrgghhh!! Not that the entries had anything terribly personal in them. But the fact that they could have really bothered me. Almost all such web sites prefer for their members to make their writings "shared"; after all, that is why they are there in the first place.

So I much prefer now to keep anything that I consider to be personal on my own PC, and never online - just in case.


GNU Privacy Guard

I too want privacy for certain documents on my computer: "journal", projects still in gestation, personal comments. To achive this I use GNU Privacy Guard. This is similar to Pretty Good Privacy but open source rather than proprietary. Because it's open source I (as a programmer) can validate that the source hasn't been compromised with a back door. And yes, I did compile it on each of the systems on my intranet to prevent the executables from being messed with; I really am paranoid when it comes to privacy. I use the longest key length possible --- considered "military grade".

For information on gpg go to their (non-US hosted) web site. Being non-US hosted it isn't covered by nonensical legislation that considers encryption a munition!

GPG rocks.

And for those of you on Windows, there's a drag-and-drop GUI utility for it called WinPT. Which is open source, too.

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Different solutions...

I like encryption for personal stuff on my hard drive. I have a LiveJournal that's mostly Friends-only, and it's very easy to set most posting software to default to a privacy setting. Nothing too horrifying goes in there, though. It's mostly to keep my friends up to date on my life. If it was hacked it wouldn't be the end of the world -- only somewhat embarrassing. :)

Mostly I keep a paper journal these days. I don't live with anyone but my husband, and we consider each other's journals to be completely off-limits. So I write whatever I want in it. (Then again, our marriage is a happy one. If I hated him and wanted to write secret death threats or something, I might resort to an account on a non-LJ site that allowed private posts, and then I'd never put my name on the account. I did that once several years ago... Don't even remember what site and what login, though. Heh.

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