Managing and protecting your privacy requires knowledge, actions, and tools. For that reason, we highlight, recommend, and review apps and services both in the Priiv app and on our content site, theprivacy.com.
This post describes how we think about selecting and recommending tools, and the relationships we have with some of the tool providers.
What We Cover
There are a wide range of tools, apps, utilities, and services that offer or support privacy capabilities. Our goal is to cover all important categories, and to discover and recommend the best products in each. We also hope in many cases to make it easy to choose and obtain them.
At the time of this writing, we’ve got at least some coverage in each of the following categories, although we do expect this list to expand regularly:
- Password Managers
- Private Search Engines
- Tracker Blockers (content blockers)
- Privacy Browsers
- Private Identity Managers
- PII/Database Remove Services
- Private DNS Providers
- Private Payment Systems
- Encrypted Storage
- Encrypted Messaging
- Encrypted Email
- Identity Theft Protection
- Authenticator Apps
- FIDO Security Keys
Which Products We Include, and How We Group Them
Within most of these categories, there are are *a lot* of products on the market. We currently cover only a small percentage, generally those we have respected the most over the past three to five years. We expect to continue to expand the range of products considered and covered – within the parameters explained below – starting with the best known, best reviewed, and most protective.
We are not, however, concerned with being comprehensive; at some point enough is enough, and we don’t help anyone by saying ‘there are 18 great password managers so choose the right one for you.’ While we will do everything we can to identify ‘the best’ tools based on features, price, company, support, etc. we may in some cases leave some products out of our coverage or consideration.
We’re thinking about products across four tiers:
- Recommended Products – Products that we believe are among the best in their categories, which we’ve reviewed (and often used for years). These are the ones within a given category, and sometimes to address specific needs within that category, that we want to encourage people to use or purchase.
- Supported Products – In many categories there are popular, well known, and competent products that will not – for one reason or another – get our recommendation. We will often choose to include these products within our coverage, with articles, tips, and within our scoring algorithm.
- Products we don’t recommend – Not all products are very good, and particularly in terms of privacy we think users should be warned off of products that have functional, integrity, support, or other weaknesses. These are only our opinions, as are our recommendations, but we won’t be afraid to share them.
- Products we haven’t reviewed/considered – Because we have not reviewed all available products, and are calling some out as recommended and others out as not recommended, we want to be explicit that many others will simply be out of our scope, which means we have no opinion of them positively or negatively. Unless otherwise stated the vast majority of products will fall into this category.
How We Select Tools and Services – Today
The team working on this project is passionate about our own privacy and yours, and has years of experience and expertise managing our own privacy, using these privacy tools, and supporting others who want to improve their privacy.
We’ve taken our experience and expertise and applied it to the process of finding the best apps and services to include and recommend across our platform. We use the tools we recommend ourselves, and we continuously research alternatives, test updates, and reconsider our choices and reviews.
So our current recommendations are based on our internal consensus of the best available tools.
How We Select Tools and Services – Coming Soon
As much as we trust and respect our own recommendations, we’d like a broader set of opinions. So we’re building a Product Advisory Council made up of industry leaders and privacy experts, and are planning to leverage this group to collectively oversee our product and services recommendation policy. Watch for an announcement in Fall 2020.
Reseller, Affiliate, and Marketing Relationships
Reviewing, recommending, and supporting (via education) software and services is a part of the service we provide as a company, both as a marketing effort and as part of the value of our product. We believe this effort has value, and as part of our business we will enter marketing partnerships, negotiate referral fees, or reseller agreements with some of the companies whose products we recommend.
In other words, we will in some cases have a financial interest in the sales of the products we discuss and recommend. We will always disclose these relationships, and we’re not ashamed to do so. Like ‘WireCutter’ and many other review and editorial sites we believe that the integrity of our recommendations is not compromised by our having an economic relationship with these companies. In fact, it’s the economic relationship that enables us to spend the time and money it takes to make these recommendations.
In many cases, we also expect to provide great value – via discounts, bundles, and special added services to our customers – saving them money as part of the way we make money.
Today, we can only promise that our passion for privacy drives our recommendations and our content, and not our financial relationships. There will be many recommended products that we do not have economic relationships with, and many free products recommended in categories where there are paid alternatives.
As referenced above, in the near future we will have an outside Product Advisory Council helping to direct the recommendations to and insulate our editorial decisions from our economic interests.
Making Privacy Tools Easier
It’s impossible to have privacy without a suite of privacy tools. Yet today these tools are difficult to understand, complicated to research, tough to compare, and not always the easiest to buy, install, and use. We want to help address all of these problems, to help you do a better job of managing your privacy.
This is a big part of our mission and our business. We expect much of this will evolve as we grow and work with our users and partners.