When we launched, we were aware of tons of other free services that let you delete content, but we found that most of them were either unmaintained and broken, not feature rich enough or complicated for grandmas to install. "Ok, so first- download Kali linux to a thumb drive. Then reboot into it and install python and clone this repo...."
Our goal with redact is to make privacy as accessible to the general public as possible. There are tons of services that let you delete 'public' data about you (for instance, deleting your whitepages.com page) but we found very few which took care of content YOU created across more than 1 service.
Are you open to sharing how this will be done? Are you doing analysis of the body of the posts, where they were posted, who or what they are replying to, etc? I imagine this is more difficult on some social media sites. Twitter for example is highly time sensitive. A tweet in reaction to some political news event might not have any political language in it and only reveals itself to be political when viewed in the proper context.
Q: Was a reason you choose a User installed application (Electron or Mobile App) vs SaaS to avoid having to store username/password for sites and the ToS issues that result from that? Or am I off base with previous comments in another Discord?
Meme Q: Were earlier versions of redact.dev so powerful they redacted the trip to Japan? :(
Best wishes and #YeeAlwaysWins
macOS Redact is 433MB. Firefox is 370MB. Is this an artifact of electron?
Please add a feature to 'edit' messages with random data rather than redact. This has the advantage of not only updating the 'live' database but also if it's backed up in the future they'll only have the garbage data and not what you actually said.
Being able to overwrite history (where possible) is extremely valuable that reddit/discord let you do.
Additionally, there should be a 'spoofer' mode, that randomly makes comments, uploads multi GB files full of random data and adds noise to further enhance privacy.
I take great joy in "abusing" text areas and file upload boxes on the internet - it makes it significantly harder to track a subject in any way when you are making 1000 comments a day, uploading 10,000 photos you found randomly online and are joining 50 different channels ;)
To be honest I should probably make a script to do that, especially on HN...
The signals to rebellion start slow: you pester and annoy the enemy to let them know they have tread on the wrong turf. You try to inform them, then you try to concede points for shared ground. Once the enemy has decided that your advancements and ground meeting are to their advantage, and continue to gain ground is what we identify as skirmishes and battle starts. You ambush, you destroy logistical routes, you make it difficult for the enemy perceive that this ground is worthwhile.
At what point do you fire the cannons? At what point does the normally docile rest of society join you to arm your rebellious battlements?
I think you are witnessing the populous arming their cannons. You can object, but you can't object that the enemy is closer than ever.
You are walking into someone else's house, making demands, and breaking stuff when you don't get your way.
Reddit is indexed by an outside party, not Reddit itself. Twitter is the same way. The most infamous of Facebook's data exfiltration was Cambridge Analytica, which again is an outside indexer. The accurate comparison, imo, is "we all came to this land to communicate together, but you use the platforms features to stalk people."
Advertising is more of a concession of privacy, which I can tolerate if it's iterated on.
The option you lay in front of people is "leave". So, someone of my convictions must leave once a platform becomes so popular that it attracts professional stalkers? Why is that the only acceptable option to you?
Every public platform can be externally monitored and archived. If you don't accept that, don't participate in public platforms.
Advertisers and platform monetization are definitely part of the problem, don't get me wrong. I just signalled that I'm willing to iterate on that problem. When my mother gets a call on her cellphone by a recruiter looking for me when we share zero relationships online it signals a pretty desperate issue in how data is being used, correlated, and exploited. The public side of these APIs is just an exacerbation of those issues, because they're the same APIs an advertiser uses.
You painting me as someone who is trying to avoid repercussions is interesting. Do you normally assume the worst about people when you debate them?
I think you are assuming a specific connotation on "repercussions". I'm not talking about "repercussions" in the coded "cancel culture" way. I am saying that you want the positives of speaking in public without the unwanted negatives. That is the literal definition of avoiding repercussions.
If your public speaking establishes you as some type of expert, people are naturally going to start reaching out to talk to you. That is the nature of public discourse. What that recruiter did is wildly unethical, but it is a natural repercussion of publicly showing traits of the person the recruiter is looking to hire. There are downsides to being a public citizen. You don't get a free pass to act unethically in order to avoid those downsides.
Use more careful wording then. In my eyes, you're here to deny that a problem exists (for average people, not experts) and you're advocating for me to not participate in communities which I was historically able to participate in without having my data exfiltrated or stored in perpetuity. I've argued in the past that limits to public data could perceivably exist, I think this is reasonable, but to a denialist nothing is reasonable.
The framing you propose is quite rosey, but then you immediately walk it back with how bad it is, but that it's a "natural" repercussion. So, while I want to do something about it before it becomes a bigger problem that can't be contained you're happy to sit back and say there's nothing to see here.
But hey, feel free to keep commenting on my ethics without questioning your own.
>Do you normally assume the worst about people when you debate them?
I don't know what I said here that seemed to offended you. If you point out something that truly crossed a line, I can apologize. You weren't the one who my original comment was directed towards and in your very first comment you admitted yourself that this type of behavior was potentially unethical. I don't
think I have said anything worse than that and I don't know what I did that you consider bad faith. The one example you gave of a negative result was a recruiter calling your mother. Stopping that falls under the category of "personal convenience". We all get unwanted calls from time to time. It is annoying, but it takes a couple minutes out of your day and you move on. No reason to take that as justification for flooding public sites with "multi GB files full of random data" which is where the conversation started.
In your case, my assumptions of you are based on how you continually downplay concerns to "not happening" or "that's no big deal". You also readily accused me of avoiding repercussions, then walking back and walking forward those claims in some kafka-esque dance.
"Arguing in bad faith" also doesn't mean you've offended me. It's just a realization that you have some other motivation at stake here. People don't just recategorize a safety and privacy issue as "personal convenience" while dancing around calling it a problem.
I don't consider spam phone calls as a safety threat and you do. I am not excusing the abuse of this data. I simply think these are some of the risks someone accepts by participating in this activity.
I don't know what I said that you consider denying your concerns as "not happening". Saying you should just accept those results or stop participating is not saying those results aren't happening.
I don't know why you are so tied to "repercussions" as been some type of problematic word. All it means is unintended and unwanted results. It wasn't a judgement of you. It was a literal descriptor.
My only motivation is that I am developer, I do data analysis, and I use public services. I empathize with the people who have to clean up after users abuse these services and I don't like when public services need to be downgraded because of such abuse.
If data being 100% available is a natural consequence you're okay with, and I have to accept that then you will have to accept that people who don't agree with this growing practice but don't want to be excluded from society will introduce entropy to make those systems less efficient as a natural consequence. The efficiency and ease of access of which is what makes them weapons.
I take issue with "repercussions" because it comes off as a dog whistle for "people who believe in privacy have something to hide". I understand that's not 100% of what you meant, but it's awful close. Generally, I don't think it's okay for data to live on forever other than in highly significant events, even then it should likely be anonymized.
I do agree that we'll have to agree to disagree that not participating in the new public discourse is a viable approach.
This is a good point. Reddit is frequently uploaded to BigQuery 
Please do not do this to HN. It'd make the service way less usable for everyone else.
Have you considered just..not using the service?
So this is absolutely something I'll be using.
One thing I noticed immediately is that "DeviantArt" is not listed as "Coming Soon" on the web page but is not currently available in the desktop Electron app.
One feature I would like to see is a Whitelist for Subreddits. I currently remove all of my posts except posts in a subreddit where 99% of my posts are Help/Q&A posts that I want to be able to benefit future people. However I want to delete all my other posts, which means knowing which subreddits I've posted in which is not always easy since I sometimes land on things from /r/All. (eg: "Delete all posts except on /r/Granblue_En") For now I had to manually add a list of 56~ subreddits one by one that I got from my log.
E2: One of the team members (Dan) responded to me over Discord. My requested feature was already on the ToDo list since they have a similar use case.
> "Why don't you support anything made by Google or Apple?"
> At this time, we are reliant on both Google and Apple to be listed in their respective app stores. As such, we have been advised that in order to remain in good standing we should not offer support for these services.
What a disturbing reality these developers are up against. Even though this is a big limitation, the project is wonderful!
What I don't understand is why an electron app? Why not a SaaS app?
I see the plan to make money via premium features on the phone apps but I am even more confused to why I would want to run this on my phone.
You wouldn't but "average users" would prefer to run it on their phone. For example, this could turn into a social media management tool for "influencers" and celebrities - managing their social media profiles with advanced deletion conditions etc.
Is the current version of the product paid? How are you planning to monetize it in future?
Having nuked/deleted/closed all my accounts has had the same outcome with less work.
I dont have controversial opinions or political posts. Still on both platforms would get people shitposting/linking to a 4 month old tweet/comment because it was a hot topic again for 48 hours.
*edit- Seeing comments below, I can see the issues. We will remove the 'Support the EFF' banner for now until we can do it in a better manner.
Keeping the current design has at least two drawbacks.
- First, it makes you seem shady. After realizing that you are probably not affiliated with the EFF, I became very suspicious of the service, especially since it is closed-source.
- Second, there might be legal ramifications of "pretending" to be affiliated with the EFF.
If the banner wasn't there, I would have most likely already downloaded and started using Redact for my personal research project. It looks like a great product!
HN is willing to go into the database and nuke an account, but the general premise of the site is that it's a durable record. It's understandable that individual accounts might have a change of heart about that, for any number of reasons, and it's good of the HN mods to allow it as an exception.
But regularly emailing them to do that work for you is pretty presumptuous. You should either use the site as intended, or not use it.
I find old HN pages useful or interesting on almost a weekly basis. A big part of that is that there aren't holes punched in the old threads by people who went back and deleted everything.
An alternative which is more in keeping with the spirit is to just make a new account every now and then.
This is what I do. I wish HN allowed you to have your username redacted automatically from all messages older than 6 months, so I wouldn't need to.
The idea is that the text of all your comments remains, but the username changes to [redacted] once the comment is six months old. All six-month-old comments by all users who have enabled this feature all appear to have come from one huge account called "[redacted]". This would preserve the discussions, while removing attribution and linkability between comments. There's really no need for abuse/spam management on six-month-old posts (if it wasn't flagged in six months it doesn't need to be flagged).
Probably the only downside is that up/downvotes to ancient posts couldn't affect the post-owner's super-important InternetPoints(tm) count, since if they did it would be possible to wiggle the upvote on a comment and then scan to see which account got a point-bump. So [redacted]'s comments wouldn't have up/down-vote arrows.
I think HN has enough 'karma traffic' that a timing attack against someone's Internet Points wouldn't be very feasible. But the easy implementation is to literally have a [redacted] account in the database, and point all the posts at it. I'm not sure it matters; leaving behind royalty checks for old posts is a fair trade for anonymizing the data.
If I were the person who had to go through the database and delete your comments the second time, I'd delete the row corresponding to your account while I was in there.
No idea how HN would handle it. You can find out if you want to.