Approving Questions to Ask All Privacy Companies (QtASK)

As a status update on the wiki, there is a new policy that all official pages related to PrivacyTools begin with PrivacyTools: so I think there is now even less of a issue (if there ever was one) with creating a QtASK page.

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So if I create the page, should I add “PrivacyTools:” at the beginning or not? Because I am not a part of the staff but I think the project is going to be adopted as official?

I think it looks really ugly without a space after the “:”.
Example: “PrivacyTools:Whistleblower Protection Policy” instead of “PrivacyTools: Whistleblower Protection Policy”.

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[matrix] PrivacyTools organization-related pages are now gonna start with PrivacyTools:

[matrix] so we can differentiate between say, a page named Email covering email providers, and a page named PrivacyTools:Email which might include information on our email addresses.


No. Because it is not related to PrivacyTools as an organization. This is more for our internal policies 'n such, such as:

That’s just how Mediawiki works. Like pages like this on Wikipedia: (the Wikipedia prefix denoting it is WP policy and not a WP article).

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Mmm, I get it now, I think it was used for “official” articles uploaded by someone of the staff or something like that.

I see, Wikipedia has a horrible sense of aesthetics then. (?

Well, I will try to create the wiki page today.


I created the basic structure, I need some feedback, though.


Hi @a553d43c-f7fa-483a-8 - Sorry for the late reply! Just seeing this now.

Fantastic! Thanks for doing this! Feel free to use the original wording you posted in the second half of the page.

Here’s some feedback: At least 2 of the organizations you listed as having answered the questions did not answer them completely. For example, Infinity Search and C. Templar did not provide critical ownership information. I’m not sure PTIO should give space to companies that don’t answer in full. At least there needs to be a red flag warning IMHO. (Ownership is perhaps the most important question.)

Dan Arel wrote about this in a post about Brave that points out how critical ownership is to trust:

Brave is basically malware to sell the companies cryptocurrency and ads. Their main investor is Peter Thiel if you need a reason not to trust them. The dude sits on Facebooks board and creates tools for ICE. Also, people forget but when Brave was questioned about their product on Github, they requested to be removed from PTIO because they didn’t want to face scrutiny. …

How about separating the List of answered questions to a subpage like and just listing subpages on the bottom?


That could work, but I believe it needs to be clear when companies don’t answer in full if they are mentioned at all. Perhaps a warning label whenever mentioned. Some people wouldn’t understand how important the information is to trust – and some people assume everything’s fine if they see a name at PTIO.

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Hi @a553d43c-f7fa-483a-8 - Sorry for the delay in helping fill out the QtASK page you posted! I finally got to it this morning. See:

Please check over the edits and offer feedback – everyone! Thanks to everyone and PTIO for all the work and support for the QtASK project. (Special thanks to @a553d43c-f7fa-483a-8 for the terrific short and quippy QtASK moniker!)


Don’t worry, I tried to get back to it but I’m doing kinda shitty with some personal stuff so I couldn’t manage to get the strength to do it.

The introduction seems really nice, I’m on a mobile so It’s a hassle to go through the code but I think you may have broken the collapsible text on the answered questions, but I’ll fix it when I’ll get my machine, today.

What about marking the non-answered or badly answered question with red and adding some kind of description to it?

It’s nothing, thanks to you for liking it, hahahaha!

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Hi @a553d43c-f7fa-483a-8 Sorry to here about the personal stuff. Hope all is well.

Sorry for breaking the collapsible text. I’m not sure how to fix it.

What about marking the non-answered or badly answered question with red and adding some kind of description to it?

Good idea!


I changed the header to “Introduction” since it was a really long one, and deleted the io part on PT since they don’t officially endorse it, modified some wording for better aesthetic and to avoid repetition, and changed mostly this sentence because I thought it was a bit poorly constructed.


In addition, services should be asked to update answers to questions as service changes are made and at least annually.


In addition, services should be asked to update their answers as service changes are made and/or annually, to verify that they continue to operate as they claimed to do.

You can see a detailed list of changes made to the introduction here, the rest of the changes are related to fixing the collapsible text and the lists in them.

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Thanks for the edits @a553d43c-f7fa-483a-8. Could you re-expand the collapsible text about companies that have answered or partially answered? Sorry I broke that, and I’m not sure how to fix it. (I’m not sure if the bottom two mentioned companies answered completely.) Alternatively, we might just remove that section.


…deleted the io part on PT since they don’t officially endorse it

It’s important for PTIO to review the proposed questions and adopt a final questions list. @jonah @blacklight447 @Mikaela it’s been several months in review. Can we get final approval and move forward with the project?

@jonah, if PTIO has decided NOT to move forward with QtASK, it would be good to know that, too, and the reasoning. Perhaps there are some edits needed? Please let us know.

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. . .

One approach might be to set up a different chair, desk, section?

One that deals with non-tech influences impacting privacy tool interests and stakeholders.

Duties you’re describing are journalistic in nature. Trust me when I say I’ve seen journalism debate turn feral when it comes to ethical process and practice. One volunteer media body I was a member ripped itself apart over allegations of political interference.

Even worse calamity awaits non-editorial people e.g. the technically minded when they attempt to apply technical frameworks to 50 shades of grey areas in everything from conflicts of interest to ethical conundrums between competing influences e.g. academic and business, seeking to further personal and professional agenda, positive and malign.



My view is still that I support requiring questions being asked from providers, but I don’t consider myself as authorized to make final approval for PrivacyTools.

I also have a problem that I keep remembering that I should read the updates to the wiki page always at times that are bad for me.


Would you be willing to work on this as a journalist? I’m sure PTIO could benefit from your experience.

I agree with you that politics could creep into a project like this unless the process is consistent and transparent. If ALL companies are asked the same basic questions and ALL answers are published (and partial or non-answers highlighted), the sunlight on the process should help ensure objectivity and fairness.

What else would help? Maybe a separate committee to finalize the questions and process that would not have voting power? (Separation of powers – checks and balances)

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We have moved this topic to GitHub with some further clarification and changes.


Willingness, sure … ability?

Not so sure. Presently unemployed, and am already working on a number of volunteer initiatives, so really need to focus on stuff that pays a few bills, at least. I’m not sure how seeking grant funding for such a project would fit in with the all-volunteer vibe going on here - and given how long it’s taken to get approval for even basic questions, I’m not sure PTIO is the framework for such a project.

But as raised previously absolutely endorse the principles of a standard set of questions for tech and tech-related companies.

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While these questions are in the queue of projects, they are not high on the priority list. Our main focus is setting criteria for each section which holds a lot more water, imo.

Also, we have no plans at this time of creating chairs, or anything such as that for this project in particular.

The discussion about the questions themselves, etc will for now live only on the Github page until the team decides on how to use them.

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Understood, and thank you for the clarity of your response.

Saves us all a lot of time to get this kind of clear response to user/member suggestions and feedback.

Suggest that those seeking a common set of questions for tech companies may need to reappraise opportunity timeframes here or, potentially, elsewhere.

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