Confidential journaling – Securely storing private diaries

A private diary or journal is a time-honoured tradition for many feelings, hopes, dreams, and experiences to be therapeutic and self-reflective. However, traditional paper diaries were discovered and read by others, betraying the writer’s confidentiality. Specialized journaling apps offer more privacy controls than a standard word processor or note-taking app. Look for an app that allows you to password-protect the entire journal, uses end-to-end encryption for your writing, and has options to delete entries after a set period. Popular secure journal apps include Day One Journal, Journey, Penzu, and Jour. Evaluate each app’s security features to find one that gives you control over your privacy settings.

Use a privacy-focused cloud storage service

Storing your journal locally on your device still of others accessing it if they gain possession of your device. Using an encrypted cloud storage platform adds another layer of security and prevents loss of data if your device is compromised. Choose a zero-knowledge cloud storage provider like Mega, Tresorit, or pCloud, where not even the company to your stored files. Enable two-factor authentication for added security.

Write in your journal anonymously

Maintaining anonymity in your writing better protects your privacy if your journal ever gets breached. Avoid recording identifiable information like full names, addresses, phone numbers, or specific dates/locations. Instead, use pseudonyms or initials when referring to people and places. Refrain from pasting screenshots or photos that have embedded metadata. Set reminders to go back and redact any accidentally revealed personal details later.

Use a secure device

The device you use to access your private journal should have its security protections in place. Ensure your smartphone or laptop is password/fingerprint protected and has a locked screen. Do not save login credentials for your journal app enable remote wipe capabilities in case your device gets lost or stolen. Never access sensitive accounts on public computers or free Wi-Fi. Routinely check for malware or spyware that could compromise your device’s security.

Backup safely

Is a private notepad app safe? While the cloud offers convenient storage, also maintains a local encrypted backup of your journal. Use an external encrypted hard drive or USB flash drive with a strong password. Store the backup drive in a secure physical location, like a lockbox or safe, separate from your regular device. Sync your journal to the encrypted external device on a routine basis in case your cloud account is ever disabled or compromised.

Let go of perfection

Journaling is meant to be an unrestrained personal chronicle – don’t let worries about security prevent you from writing freely. Accept that no digital system is completely fool proof. Find a reasonable balance between privacy and convenience for your comfort level. Set reminders to entries you no longer need. Ultimately your journal’s value is for your eyes only, not for public broadcast.

Evaluate journal app security

The journal apps are equal when it comes to privacy protections. Before choosing an app, carefully inspect its security capabilities and defaults.

  1. End-to-end encryption for all journal content
  2. Password and/or biometric (Touch ID, Face ID) app access controls
  3. Customizable auto-logout after inactivity
  4. Backups only to private cloud accounts, not to public services
  5. No social media integrations or sharing options

An app that checks all these boxes offers the strongest journal privacy and security. Be wary of apps that don’t give you full control over your data, retain copies of your journal, or use your content for marketing and analytics.

Sheri gill

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