E2EE encrypted tasks with sync

I’d really love to see a service or app that has Tasks (To-Do Lists) but end-to-end encrypted, FOSS, and with sync for all platforms (web interface, desktop, mobile). Not just a list/not but proper tasks with due dates, priority, multiple lists etc.

As far as I know there are these options:

  • Posteo.de: they have tasks (as this is a generic CalDAV feature) and they have optional zero knowledge encryption, but the tasks are not shown in the web interface and it seems that when you access them via CalDAV the tasks actually get temporarily decrypted, so it’s not real zero knowledge encryption
  • Etesync: they have E2EE tasks (and calendar and contacts), with a web interface, mobile apps, integration in Tasks.org (for Android), and a bridge to connect it to any CalDAV client like Thunderbird/KOrganizer/Evolution on desktop. Seems perfect at first glance, but the project seems to be abandoned and was actually delisted from Privacyguides for that reason.

Proton has it on their roadmap from 2022 so this is probably not happening, and Tuta also doesn’t seem to have tasks in their calendar. While Mailbox.org has tasks, they don’t have zero knowledge encryption for it (only for email, using PGP).

Is there really nothing else?

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I am using this for my notes. It’s complicated at fist, but it’s the best option IMO currently. Their first priority now is to implement multiplayer mode (collaboration).

There are some downsides, though.

  • Even though you can create a due date for your task, but there’s no notification system currently.
  • There are a ton of useful embeddable widgets, but it’s not viewable on the mobile app.
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I am using Anytype, too and highly suggest it though overwhelming at the beginning. It basically replaces a few other software alone.

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You have no idea how long I’ve been looking for an E2EE FOSS tasks app. I’ve searched all the listing sites, alternativeto, asked around in communities and boards, but no, there is none.

It was mentioned before on the Surveillance Report podcasts that there are too many damn privacy-focused note taking applications and that newcomers keep building more instead of building tools the community actually needs. On the tasks side, people keep recommending Nextcloud tasks, which is clunky and way too basic. Then they recommend Standard Notes, Cryptee, Obsidian, etc all of which are not task management apps, they’re note taking apps.

I really would love it, if there was an E2EE tasks alternative based on markdown or another format that you can easily open via vim/nano and that has functionality more similar to Microsoft Planner, Todoist, Any.do, or any of the other task management apps. I really don’t think it needs to be something complicated, just something basic where I can self-host a server, drop in some tasks, modify the source code to fit my needs, put in some projects, get a Kanban vs List view, and can attach some notes. Unfortunately, nobody has built this yet and it doesn’t seem like anyone is in the process of building one.

Also, I don’t understand why some of the open source tasks apps are focused strictly on mobile devices? Who the hell manages all their tasks and schedule via their damn phone? It takes forever to type in anything, it’s so much faster on a PC.

There is another alternative that I just remembered, which is offered by Cryptpad. However, it’s just a very clunky Kanban board based on an open source Kanban project. It’s very very rudimentary.

At this point, I just manage my schedule and day-to-day tasks using NeoVim with markdown support. I have created a weekly schedule template that contains my weekly tasks, so I can just copy that folder, rename it to this week, and have a freshly built schedule. I’ve automated it with a cronjob and a quick shell script, so every week I get a new daily schedule based on my template.

Then I create a daily notes files and a backlog for every 2 weeks. The backlog file contains all of my tasks broken down my category, such as “Chores” or “Shopping”. I can also just yank each of the task lines and paste them into my schedule, so I know when to do them.

   - Backlog 2024-02-12.md
   - Backlog 2024-02-26.md
    - Notes 2024-02-14.md
My Schedule/
  - 2024-02-12/
    - Monday.md
    - Tuesday.md
    - ...
  - 2024-02-19/
    - ...
Schedule Template/
  - Monday.md
  - Tuesday.md
  - Wednesday.md
  - Thursday.md
  - Friday.md
  - Saturday.md
  - Sunday.md

Some sample files looks like this:

Backlog 2024-02-12.md

# Backlog 2024-02-12

## Shopping 
- [ ] Buy eggs
- [ ] Buy a new router
- [ ] Buy a new coffee table

## Chores
- [ ] Clean up the front yard

## Appointments
- [ ] Schedule a massage appointment

Notes 2024-02-19.md

# Monday 2024-02-19

## Appointments
| Start Time    | End Time    | Title    | Description    |
|---------------- | --------------- | --------------- | --------------- |
| 12:00    | 13:00    | Business Meeting    | Meeting to over weekly finances    |
| 14:00    | 15:30    | Interview    | Conduct an interview with Robert    |

## Tasks
- [ ] Prepare financial report
- [ ] Enter data into spreadsheet

You can install a pre-packaged configuration like craftzdog and markdown-preview to have a bunch of snippets for markdown, which automatically generate tables and other elements, and preview the markdown files in the browser.

I found this to be the best solution for me, since it does what I need it to do. Would be great if there was a tasks app that could build on top of this and provide a foundation or framework, rather than another crappy Electron app. So tired of Chromium based apps and being locked into their ecosystem, like with Cryptee or Standardnotes.

Much like a static site generator or some headless CMS, it would be awesome if a task tool could read/edit/create those kind of markdown files, extend them, and show a visual editor via web. For example, it looks through the files, finds all tasks, and puts them into a Kanban board or into a list view broken down by category. Maybe even add a date/time/reminder/notes to the tasks inside the markdown files and it displays that info visually in a web interface.

Also, Obsidian has a Kanban plugin that works similar to that, but it’s not great. Based on what’s currently out there, either use what you is out there, build your own, or wait for someone else to build a task app that works for you.

Edit: I forgot, but you can place the above md files into a VeraCrypt volume or Cryptomator vault, thereby keeping them encrypted, but still having the possibility of synchronizing them across devices. Or you could encrypt the files yourself with a simple shell script using openssl or a PGP key.

Edit #2: There is https://vikunja.io/, which is open source and can be self hosted, but not encrypted. Also https://www.openproject.org/, but again… not encrypted.


100% agree! It’s crazy how there’s a dozen E2EE note taking apps but nobody has ever made something as simple as an E2EE clone of Microsoft To Do.

Not sure if it fits all your needs but notesnook has encrypted and synched notes and tasks with reminders.

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I looked into it but I think they only have:

  • Reminders, which gives you a notification at a certain time. (Repeating reminders are a paid feature.)
  • “Permanent reminders”, which is also shown in the reminders list but without actually having a reminder or due date (not sure what makes them a “reminder” except the fact they’re in a different section of the app)
  • Normal notes in which you can create you own a to do list checkboxes using markdown formatting like [ ]

I mean, it’s not bad, but also not really what I want. I am quite happy with how CalDAV tasks work, with optional due dates for tasks, ability to have different lists (calendars), ability to sort by priority, sub-tasks etc.

Still, Notesnook might not be the worst option if E2EE is important.

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This could be doable if the underlying system is encrypted like maybe in a TrueNAS Scale

I do something like what @satoshi suggested and then just sync to laptop/phone with Syncthing.

This may not meet all your requirements, but could check out Lunatask: https://lunatask.app/

It is not currently OSS, but it may be in the future: https://ideas.lunatask.app/c/73-open-sourcing-self-hosting

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Before I made a full switch to Obsidian, I really liked Lunatask.