2021 Review: MySudo

Why Do You Need Voice-over-IP?

Before we dig into the world of VoIP, I feel it’s important to remind my readers why I recommend it in the first place. The benefits, in my opinion, cannot be overstated. In no particular order, VoIP can be used to compartmentalize your life, set healthy work/life boundaries, protect yourself from spam calls and robotexts, and protect your overall privacy. For example: if you have a VoIP number you use for work, you can disable that number each night when you get off the clock. You can also use a VoIP number for dating or selling things online, which prevents you from being stalked or harassed by a weirdo if things go south. There is no reason I can think of not to use VoIP if it’s available in your country. But are there reasons not to use MySudo specifically?

What is MySudo?

MySudo is a VoIP app for iOS and Android that offers up to nine digital identities. I say “identities” because to say “phone numbers” is to discredit MySudo’s other features: an inbox, a web browser, and virtual cards.

The Good

I think the most obvious advantage of MySudo is the number of identities you can have. I believe most people could get away with three (depending on how many minutes you need): work, personal, other. But you could do work, personal. Signal, shopping, burners, really whatever your heart desires. I do personal, important stuff (banking, medical, etc), work, Signal, The New Oil, and a few others I won’t publicly disclose here. I also have a burner one that I change the number of every month.

When contacting other MySudo users, you get the advantages of group messaging, end-to-end encryption, self-destructing messages, and even video chat. With non-users, you get SMS and voice calling. You also have an email address for each identity that you can customize (ex, nbartram@sudomail.com) which are also E2EE for other MySudo users, and a web browser for each identity that claims to block third party ads and trackers. Each identity can also create masked virtual cards that you can use online to help prevent tracking and card theft. Unlike privacy.com, these cards are not linked to a single merchant but can be reused as many times as you want.

The Bad

I am biased toward MySudo. I personally use it in my daily life and depend on it very heavily, so much so that it’s probably the last thing actually holding me to a mainstream phone OS. Having said that, it’s not without drawbacks.

For starters, there’s that: the whole “dependency” thing. MySudo is only available for iOS and Android. Because of a dependence on Google for notifications, it won’t work on custom ROMs like Calyx or Graphene, which can be a challenge for those who wish to take their privacy to the max and truly get as Big Tech-free as possible. It’s also just an inconvenience for those who prefer to be as phone-free as possible in general. There’s a web app you can use on Desktop, but it has to be synced up manually each time you use it. Sure, I have most of my most important contacts on Signal, Matrix, or some other desktop-ready communication platform but I’m one of those people lucky enough to work a job that generally respects work/life balance. That means that when I get a late-night text, it’s usually kind of important, so I’d like to be able to have a desktop app where I can get this information in real time without depending on my phone.

There’s also the big issue of payment. There is a free tier, but it’s pretty useless. You can’t call or text non-Sudo users. Personally, I think most people can do just fine with SudoPro, which is $5/month ($50/year). This plan gives you 300 messages per month and 200 minutes per month with non-Sudo users, as well as 3 virtual cards and 3 identities. However, I am a firm believer that privacy should not be a luxury and should be available to all. Obviously services like MySudo are not cheap to run and must be paid for somehow, but it still makes me sad that the free level is so restrictive. I think the Pro level is pretty affordable, but I always want to be considerate of people who truly are that tight on money.

Two objective concerns: MySudo is only available in the US, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and UK. Second, the virtual card feature costs money, too: 2.99% of the purchase price plus $0.31. Two personal concerns I’ve experienced that may or may not be unique to me: text messages can be slow to send and sometimes my phone rings then hangs up before I have a chance to answer.

Conclusion

It’s important to remember that VoIP is not meant to a be a replacement for an end-to-end encrypted messenger. A lot of people bash on MySudo because it’s not open source or zero-knowledge, but that’s missing the point. What VoIP is meant to be is a way to compartmentalize your life and protect you against data breaches, stalkers, and set healthy boundaries in your own life. In that sense, I personally have found MySudo to more than meet my needs and exceed. Due to the price, messaging restrictions, and operating system restrictions it may not be for everyone but I strongly encourage those who still use a stock iOS or Android app to look into it. It’s a powerful tool and it may come in extremely handy to have in your arsenal.

You can learn more and download MySudo here.

You can find more recommended services and programs at TheNewOil.org. You can also get daily privacy news updates at @thenewoil@freeradical.zone or support my work in a variety of ways here.