Contacting Me - Additional Means
This page provides ways and means to contact its owner in a transparent manner, while ensuring privacy (allowing human readers to make sense of it while making it more difficult for bots to harvest my contact information).
1. Home Phone Number
I print my Home Phone number on my letters as well as in the signature of my emails. Please note that there is an extension number to dial as soon as the phone call is connected. This is a simple measure meant to ensure that I am not disturbed by telemarketers and automated dialers. I may also be reached at +1-315-7FT_NAME (replace FT_NAME with my own first name). The latter is not my cell phone number. Although I do have a cell phone, it is generally kept off and calls are forwarded to another phone number. I use my cell phone very seldom.
You may also send me Voice Mail at this number. I try to check it every 7 days or so.
If you keep reaching voicemail (my phone is often off or in silent mode), please see below for texting for a faster reply.
For the following, please replace <FT_NAME> with my actual First Name and <last_name> with my actual Last Name. The email address is not explicitly written in order to prevent its capture ("harvesting") by spam bots.
Unless I have emailed you from (or have given you) another address, you may use <FT_NAME>.<last_name>@gmail.com - I try to check it and answer emails every 14 days or so.
It may also be possible to send me email at <FT_NAME>@<lastname>.net and all legal documents and correspondence to legal@<last_name>.net - email sent to the latter will trigger an automated confirmation emailed back to the original address. If the confirmation is not sent, the email address is unavailable. Note however that this automated reply is no guarantee that the email has been read - it may even have been captured by the spam filter. To ensure that your emails are read and receive the attention they deserve we can agree on a confirmation mechanism beforehand. Such emails are read with priority.
The following is the public key to use if you are sending me email to my main email address. If you don't know what this is and you are using a Windows PC, I recommend starting at http://gpg4win.org/.
-----BEGIN PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK-----
Version: GnuPG v2.0.17 (MingW32)
-----END PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK-----
The use of PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) for regular email messaging may be overkill, however. I suggest using a simple text AES econding, such as that provided by fourmilab (or, if you have Android, Oversec). For all such messages, the pass phrase (key) must be exchanged through a different channel than that where the document exchange occurs. For instance, if the document exchange takes place via email, the pass key may be exchanged via a phone conversation or during a tete-a-tete (face to face) meeting.
Documents, including .txt files may also be encrypted using an archiver such as 7zip (open source). With both such a solution, using a longer pass phrase (at least 15 characters) including varied characters, such as both capital and regular letters, digits, symbols /punctuation marks should make a document thus encrypted virtually unreadable by an opponent.
Consider using VeraCrypt to encrypt large collection of files where plausible deniability is a requirement. Otherwise, alternatives exist: luks, loop-aes, freeotfe; existing partition: EncFS or eCryptfs (Wikipedia, HowTo, Safe, EncFSMP, EncFS4win, Github) or even CypherShed, DiskCryptor, AxCrypt.
NB: The use of encryption should be considered relative to the importance and sensitivity of the documentation to be sent. Sending me messages about weather using PKI is a waste of time and resources.
2.2 Document formats
The safest and simplest way to share documents online is through Google Docs. The links thus generated can be rather long, so a URL shorterning service such as Bitly may be used. Such links can be expanded before following by adding a "+" at the end.
I prefer to exchange documents in PDF format and documents that need to be editable in the Open Document Format. If sending me such documents in lieu of mailing or faxing them, please ensure that they include your signature. Word (*.DOC or *.DOCX) documents may often contain macro viruses that I would rather avoid. Generally, if you receive some older source documents with exotic extensions that appear more difficult to open, consider checking if your word processor vendor offers an utility allowing viewing / conversion of such documents. For instance, if you use Microsoft Office 2003 you may install the OOO plugin; Office 2007 and later support ODF natively, allowing you to view such files (although it damages them; see also ODF Converter). Consider downloading and installing the free and open source Portable Open Office or, even better, Portable Libre Office.
2.3 Sending Large Attachments
In general, it is best to avoid sending anything larger than 5-10 MB by email as it may cause problems. There are several ways to accomplish this:
First, encrypt the file (see 2.1 above) and, if you wish, use an archiver to split a large file into smaller volumes. The archivers allow splitting the file into volumes of a set size (e.g., 5 MB) which can then be sent by email if no other options are palatable. It is also possible to use something like the free, open source Portable 7zip to split, compress and encrypt in one step, via its graphical interface (GUI).
Share files via Google Drive (15 GB, various filesize limit varying with format), Microsoft SkyDrive (15 GB total, 10 GB filesize via desktop app), Dropbox (2 GB total, no filesize limit), Box (250 MB filesize, 10 GB total), MediaFire (200 MB filesize, 10 GB total), MEGA (200 MB filesize, 50 GB total). Tresorit, Wuala (5 GB free) and SpiderOak (2 GB free) also promise to do encryption before upload, but you cannot have that certainty.
Use a specialized 3rd party service for sending: HighTail, formerly YouSendIt (50 MB free, 100 d/l, 7 days), Attachmore (100 MB, 60-90 days, 15-60 d/ls, 500 MB/month), SendThisFile (15 day free trial, 50 GB bandwidth, slow but unlimited), Send6 (100 MB, 10 / mth, 7 days, tracking), TransferBigFiles (100 MB, 5 days, 5 d/l), MailBigFile (512 MB, 5 days, 3 d/l), DropSend (4 GB, 7 days), WeTransfer (2 GB, 7 days), EmailLargeFile (200 MB, up to 10 daily, 15 days). It is particularly important to encrypt sensitive files sent using one of the above services with a method described at 2.1 as even when such a service provides some kind of security, it is always incomplete and more vulnerable to eavesdropping than if you were to encrypt the file(s) before sending.
When emailing a long link, email software might truncate it and it could become unclickable. To avoid this, I might use a URL shortener, such as goo.gl and / or bit.ly (the latter being equivalent to j.mp). When receiving such a link, you can "unpack" it and see what it points to without clicking it by copying it then pasting it in the address bar of your browser and typing a "+" at its end, followed by Enter.
Set up free webhost, in Python, SFTP, FTP / Opera Unite.
I do not keep the list above updated, so it is possible that some services will not work.
3. Facsimile (fax)
My fax number may change often but you should be able to reach it by calling my main number and pressing a certain extension, currently 4. You could enter it in your fax machine as 416xxxxxx,,4 where 4 is the extension number.
4. SMS or "texting"
You may send me SMS (i.e., 140 character messages from your cell phone using the Short Message Service protocol). I reply to texts faster than to voicemail and I prefer texts to voicemail. I may receive some texts by email, in which case I reply as fast as I reply to emails.
Please do not use this method for legal exchanges or important messages as it is not very reliable; it is better to use email for most important communication.
5. Instant messaging
If you need to contact me via an instant messaging service such as Signal, WhatsApp, Skype or others please contact me via email first to confirm availability. These services are generally associated with the aforementioned phone number. Please note that unless communicating through Signal, I consider such communication methods as "monitored" and will not discuss sensitive matters. Communication through monitored channels is consequently self-censored. Most of my instant messaging accounts are linked from my blog sidebar at <firstname>.<lastname>.<net> but I do not have them all concurrently installed, so please confirm through an alternate channel before contacting me.
6. Encrypted Address and Phone number
This is encrypted using as key V's astrological sign in native language (first letter capitalized) followed by the last two digits of the year of birth with no other punctuation mark.
##### Encrypted: decrypt with http://www.fourmilab.ch/javascrypt/jscrypt.html
ZZZZZ WNNOH HNWXW BAERU KEEME KIMBR IGDQK OFAXJ XLHTD JWJIT DRGXC
GUVUV XSOUC REPGT IBLJQ JNNQD XWVPV UPHKS QUEBK VPFLK ONKRU BAFCH
WQEWJ OXBRE WWOKJ VFAAE IRQQP CBCIQ DEQSU KFOBV GGMSM ONQHS FMWOG
DDBTO KMDOS CIQXJ FBWWN JQBJU QXDBQ LFRCC LVMFQ NIHCG SVOWA TSHVA
QFQLK IMUTQ PBOTM WFDIE FSLJV OHWLP MQUBM VHCJP OQXKI KLQMN IGFHC
GFSEK DWXUD EHRBS ITSZZ YYYYY
##### End encrypted message
This can also be found unencrypted in the header of most of my letters.
My Canada Post Flex Delivery address can only receive parcels and express mail - NO REGULAR MAIL!
PO BOX 99900 EE 012 156
RPO COLLEGE SPADINA
TORONTO, ON M5T 0A6
(also, UK 763 039 /Ba Ad hoa5)
Regular mail sent at this address is not delivered and simply discarded. Also, if I am unable to pick it up in given amount of time due to being out of town or for the notification having been mistakenly delivered to my Spam folder, even a parcel or registered mail may be returned or discarded.
If you want to send me money, my Bitcoin address is 1KzJWrvVSDzvoLPnuRUB7mshsduRZNn3NG (please confirm prior to payment as it changes often). I might be able to receive other cryptocurrencies as well.
My PayPal address is either one of the email addresses listed before, or PayPal dot me forward slash FT_NAME initial followed by last_name initial followed by the letter "d". I can also receive Interac Email payments at the aforementioned email addresses: please think of a challenge question and an answer and let me know what the answer is via a different channel, as described above (i.e., don't send me the money and the answer at the same email address); at least one email address is alway registered to receive money transfer without a password, please confirm it first.