There's a problem with our newfound propensity to overcommunicate: the words never go away. Much has been said about the sociological implications of it all, the historical treasure troves that we're leaving behind for any machines that will still be able to read them. The same commentators will then invariably say how it's both fascinating and frightening, that our collective accomplishments could become our personal undoings, that the future is uncertain and how that's supposed to be bad. There's no shortage of cautionary fiction about rogue hackers, rogue employees, and rogue governments.
The world is not going to hell in a handbasket, and even if it does... we are an extraordinarily resilient bunch. Nevertheless, there is a problem, and it has nothing to do with dystopian tales of the future. It requires no hyperbole. It's happening right now:
Most of our digital communications are equivalent to only ever using postcards to send messages, and allowing photocopies of each correspondence to be stored in warehouses anywhere along the way.
No creative fiction required—nobody would ever have considered that an appropriate method of communication in the papernet days. (If you're too young to really remember snail mail—God help us—postcards are basically tweets with a picture on the back, so imagine publicly tweeting/Instagramming all your communications including text messages.)
This is as true for social media as it is for email and chat, but it's less dangerous for social media because there's already a much lower expectation of privacy on those platforms. Email, on the other hand, has become a very significant communication tool, and it is generally used with a complete expectation of privacy even though the underlying technology provides none. To make matters worse, the solution already exists and has for decades. People don't use it because it's complicated, and because to get the best protection both sender and receivers need to be using the same tool. So instead, the communications that we expect to be private are actually exposed to anyone who cares to look, ready to be copied into their "warehouses" every time.
It's time for that to change. There are very real legislative threats to our privacy right now, and big companies with conflicting incentives hold a lot of our private data today, but we can take control of the future.
We can make encrypted email and IM that's simple enough for our friends to use, and secure enough for us.
We can make it work from anywhere, on any device.
We can make it impossible for administrators to access private data, even under subpoena.
We can make it open source, so nobody's bound to our service or our prices and so that many eyes can help keep us secure.
We can sell a service to our users instead of selling users to our advertisers.
We can not have any advertisers.
We can support custom domains for businesses.
We can treat customers like the incredible humans they are, and pick up the phone when they need help.
We can make it affordable.
We can make it beautiful.
We are Parley.co