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Is there any chat system where I can keep the logs protected (private). For example if I use gtalk (the Google's chat) then the chats are logged into their server. A good analogy is that if I use IRC programs like irssi then I can save the logs in my own system. But the chat happens in the public server. How can I chat to a couple of friends (not very geeky, so it must be easy for them to setup), with some respect to our privacy.
Should I go set up a server (some virtual private or dedicated one) to run an irc server just to chat? If so which is a better host? There are a lot of problem in setting up irc servers and private chat rooms, bots (otherwise the room will get lost), which is another suspect of DOS attacks and such sort of problems.
Is there any better way?

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migrated from superuser.com Dec 7 '10 at 15:37

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since your friends participate in that chat: they "own" the conversation as well, no matter what type of chat-system you pick. is that good enough for you? is the only criteria that the chat works essentially without any 3rd party-server-thing involved? –  akira Dec 7 '10 at 10:35
    
Yes, both parties own it. But I don't want a third-party to own them ;D –  kadaj Dec 7 '10 at 12:06
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@ChrisF and @Ivo: why was this put to "webapps"??? –  akira Dec 7 '10 at 15:38

6 Answers 6

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Install a Jabber server such as ejabberd or Openfire.

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I prefer ejabberd since its written in erlang. Could be please give me some pointers in using ejabberd. What I exactly need is where to host? Which is a suitable hosting provider for setting up erlang servers? Do I need a dedicated server? –  kadaj Dec 7 '10 at 12:10
    
There are hosting companies that do specialize in ejabberd, but in general you will need some sort of a dedicated server or VPS. –  Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Dec 7 '10 at 12:27
    
or a vpn, see my other answer. –  akira Dec 7 '10 at 15:33
    
All of them are good answers, but this will be the most preferred way. A VPS with ejabberd with ssl would be enough for a bit more privacy than the normal ones. –  kadaj Dec 8 '10 at 3:53

Akira's comment brings up a good point...that they can log also. If you are simply looking for a more private method you could set up an XMPP server and offer a tor hidden service if you want text messaging(the irc reference). Voice is more complicated because of latency. Then you are looking at something like Ignacio's answer. It still allows snooping at the ISP level though.

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at least with your own sip server w/ stun you could have srtp or zrtp –  aking1012 Dec 7 '10 at 11:28
    
You can enable SSL if you want to avoid the possibility of the communication being sniffed. This adds configuration troubles and some overhead to do the encryption but gives you a secure channel. –  Chris Nava Dec 7 '10 at 14:53

you could use some kind of vpn-software (hamachi, teamviewer) to establish a secure p2p channel and then:

  • use whatever chat system you want that needs only the ip of the other participant
  • use builtin chat-features of hamachi or teamviewer, which are encrypted between the participants and not logged on the vpn-provider. you could also use openvpn to only create the secure link and then use whatever chat system you want :)
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another option is to use a jabber-client with encryption. any jabber server involved only sees random noise:

and others might support that as well.

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Why not try end-to-end encryption with one of the many popular chat clients? Then you could continue to use gTalk etc. but your chats would be encrypted and nobody except you and your chat buddies would be able to snoop.

Off-the-Record Messaging http://www.cypherpunks.ca/otr/software.php

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I believe GTalk has secure, non-logged chat available as 'Off the Record', from the web-ui it is available per chat window under Actions -> Go off the record. This uses ssl to encrypt the chats and prevents Google from logging them through the server. Depending on your local client you can either store the logs locally or not. Adium, Pidgin and the GTalk app for Android all have Off The Record support for Gmail.

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Okay, this will work. (Will keep it as a last resort). The important point here is to use a client that will save logs and go off record. Thanks. –  kadaj Dec 8 '10 at 3:48
    
Any of the myriad desktop Jabber/XMPP clients I have used has this ability. Pidgin and Kopete for Gnome and KDE, Adium for OS X. –  nuclearsandwich Dec 8 '10 at 20:03

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