I Use Things Without Encryption

I tell people not to use Readdle's Spark email app. Then I turn around and use the Things task manager, which lacks end-to-end encryption (E2EE). That concerns me. I have a PKM note called "Task managers", and under "Things" my first bullet point is:

  • Lacks end-to-end encryption

I realize I'm being hypocritical here, but perhaps only a little bit. There's a difference in exposure between Things and, say, my PKM notes, archive of scanned documents, email, etc.:

I don't put highly sensitive information in Things. No, I don't want my actions in there to be public, but they're generally no more detailed than "make an allergist appointment" or "ask boss about a raise". I know some people use Things as a general note-taking app but I don't. There are other apps more tailored to that and I use them instead.

I control what information goes into Things. If my doctor were to email me sensitive medical test results, the Spark team could hypothetically read them. Cultured Code can only view what I personally choose to put into Things. (That glosses over the "Mail to Things" feature, but I never give that address to anyone else and I don't worry about it being misused.)

Things can't impersonate me. Readdle could use my email credentials to contact my boss and pretend to be me. Now, I'm confident that they won't. They're a good, reputable company. But they could, and that's enough to keep me away from Spark.

Finally, Cultured Code is a German company covered by the GDPR. They have strong governmental reasons not to do shady stuff with my data.

While I don't like that Things lacks E2EE, and I wish that it had it, the lack isn't important enough for how I want to use it to keep me away from it. There are more secure alternatives like OmniFocus and Reminders, but the benefits that I get from Things over those options makes it worthwhile for me to hold my nose and use it.

Everyone has to make that decision based on their own usage. If you have actions like "send government documents to reporter" or "call patient Amy Jones to tell her about her cancer", then you shouldn't use Things or anything else without E2EE. I'd be peeved if my Things actions were leaked, but it wouldn't ruin my life or get me fired.

But I know I should still look for something more secure.

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