Cryptoparties are informal local gatherings where questions are asked, and people help newbies and experts alike figure out how to help ourselves with privacy.   The local Boston one is in Somerville — see generally once a month plus additional sessions.  See the schedule on that page.

If you’re not near Boston, so a search on the main page for one near you.  There is no elitism or snobbery, nor looking down on anyone; I went to my first one last month.   One topic of conversation was how to make privacy and technology less intimidating to people who are not already knowledgeable about it (too many technical or obscure terms are discouraging to people starting out).  Even if you can’t go, sign up for their mailing list and see what information you can glean just by lurking.

A recent NPR show featured cryptoparties.

From the cryptoparty website:

CryptoParties are free and open for everyone, but especially those without prior knowledge, who haven’t yet attended one.

CryptoParty is a decentralized movement with events happening all over the world. The goal is to pass on knowledge about protecting yourself in the digital space. This can include encrypted communication, preventing being tracked while browsing the web, and general security advice regarding computers and smartphones.

To try the tools and apps directly at the CryptoParty, bring your laptop or smartphone.