Signal, WhatsApp and other free communicators for text/video

Melensdad

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My family switched to Signal for our free, cross platform world wide communications. It was founded by a cofounder of WhatsApp as a way to have SECURE and free easy communications.


BE30D97F-4B72-43DC-99DF-2859440361BF.jpeg


Now that Facebook has integrated Instagram and WhatsApp and is requiring data sharing across their platforms it a less attractive platform and will likely lead to more limited and targeted advertising/search engine results and spam.

  • WhatsApp is changing its terms of service to force users to share personal data including phone numbers and locations with its parent company, Facebook.
  • Some critics, including Tesla CEO Elon Musk, have suggested users move to the encrypted messaging apps Signal and Telegram.
  • A WhatsApp representative told Ars Technica the change was to allow businesses to store WhatsApp chats using Facebook infrastructure.
  • The messaging app sells itself as a privacy-focused service.


interesting article at the link

 
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Melensdad

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I didn't have a lot of time to look, but this morning I found a corresponding computer based application from SIGNAL

Downloading that now.

LINK--> https://www.signal.org/download/

One nice thing about What'sApp is that it could be used on both my phone & computer. When I switched to SIGNAL that was the feature I missed. But I've got it back now. I find it easier use the computer for file and photo sharing than to use a smartphone.
 
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XeVfTEUtaAqJHTqq

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Looks like gab.com is the best alternative for social media. They have experienced 750% growth in the last few days so they may be a little slow at times. They have been fighting the freedom of speech war for a few years and run all their own servers.

And of course, the left is saying they are evil ... so that means they must be doing something right.

 

Melensdad

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We used What'sApp as a free way to communicate with family around the world.

Sometimes you can't send a fee text message to someone in another nation. Sometimes you can't send a free text message if you are traveling. What'sApp solved that for us.

Now we get the same functionality with SIGNAL that we had from What'sApp, but we get it with privacy. What'sApp is sharing data with Facebook, Instagram, etc. It allows them to "target" you with specific advertising. I just don't need more spam, I don't need targeted advertising based on my age group, demographic info, etc. So SIGNAL gives me a free way to send messages, files, photos, etc with my family members no matter where they are in the world, without the data collection from FB
 
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Doc

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We used What'sApp as a free way to communicate with family around the world.

Sometimes you can't send a fee text message to someone in another nation. Sometimes you can't send a free text message if you are traveling. What'sApp solved that for us.

Now we get the same functionality with SIGNAL that we had from What'sApp, but we get it with privacy. What'sApp is sharing data with Facebook, Instagram, etc. It allows them to "target" you with specific advertising. I just don't need more spam, I don't need targeted advertising based on my age group, demographic info, etc. So SIGNAL gives me a free way to send messages, files, photos, etc with my family members no matter where they are in the world, without the data collection from FB

Thanks for the explanation Bob. I've never used What's App and had not even heard of signal. I do not text with anyone out of the country so all my texts are included in my cell plan with no additional charge. I did not understand why anyone needed what's app or signal. Now I do. Thank You.
 

Melensdad

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Thanks for the explanation Bob. I've never used What's App and had not even heard of signal. I do not text with anyone out of the country so all my texts are included in my cell plan with no additional charge. I did not understand why anyone needed what's app or signal. Now I do. Thank You.
It also lets you send files, do video calls, etc.

So think of it as having the functions of FACETIME + TEXT messages + email all rolled into 1 application. But its also private, also FREE of international roaming charges/data fees.

I can "email" a file or photo to my sister right through the application during a text or video conversation and she can get it on the other end without having to change to her email program, it just pops right up in the thread. It's just convenient. And when you travel and are in a different nation it seems to work anywhere that you can get wifi, and do it for free. Or if you cell plan allows it, in that other nation, it uses your data.

Typically when I travel I select a limited data/calling plan for the country I visit. Then I use one of these Apps (now it will be SIGNAL) to communicate without added charges.

But even when I communicate with Dasha, she is currently in Kiev, we do it through one of these Apps. Her phone is an American phone so if she gets a text or a call there it racks up $1/minute charges. Using What'sApp, its all done for FREE. She sends me her flight info, we talked about her coach wanting to have a conversation with me and the lovely Mrs_Bob when we return Dasha to campus, wished our families Merry Christmas, etc all for the tidy sum of $0.00.
 
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Melensdad

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I'd also add that my brother lives less than 20 miles away and sometimes I send him a text. Sometimes I use one of these Apps. I actually prefer the Apps because they have more functionality. But basically it works just like any other text message, just with some added functions you may use from time to time.
 
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Melensdad

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So apparently my family is not the only family to switch to SIGNAL.

FULLY STORY at the link at FORBES--> https://www.forbes.com/sites/rachel...g-signal-it-caused-an-outage/?sh=723d010c3df2


So Many People Are Using Signal It Caused An Outage

Rachel Sandler04:27pm EST

Topline​

Signal, an encrypted messaging app, has seen a massive influx in new downloads this week as users, looking for more privacy, flee WhatsApp and other social networks, so much so that the app said it caused technical difficulties Friday.

Signal Application : Illustration

In this photo illustration, the logos of social media applications, Signal and WhatsApp are ... [+]

Photo illustration by Chesnot/Getty Images

Key Facts​

Buckling under the increased traffic, messages on Signal Friday morning have been slow to send or don’t send at all.
Signal said in a statement it has been “adding new servers and extra capacity at a record pace every single day this week nonstop, but today exceeded even our most optimistic projections.”
Signal is end-to-end encrypted, meaning that no one except for the sender and receiver, not even Signal, has access to the content in users’ messages.
Signal’s vault to the top of the App Store charts is in part driven by unfounded rumors that WhatsApp will start sharing users’ messages with parent company Facebook.
While WhatsApp, which is also end-to-end encrypted, did notify users about a change in its privacy policy, it will not share user messages with Facebook, and will instead only share WhatsApp data when users chat with a business using WhatsApp’s customer service function.
At the same time, the demise of conservative social media app Parler, along with the suspension of President Donald Trump’s social media accounts, has stirred anxiety about Big Tech, and conservatives are looking for more private venues to communicate with each other that don’t involve Apple, Google or other social media companies. . . .​
 
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EastTexFrank

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Thanks Bob. I use WhatsApp to communicate with my son in Dubai and with family in Scotland. I'll have to look in to Signal.
 
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Melensdad

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Thanks Bob. I use WhatsApp to communicate with my son in Dubai and with family in Scotland. I'll have to look in to Signal.
People are jumping to Signal so there have been some service glitches the past 24 hours but it’s working again this morning. Trading messages with friends in Mexico and family in England. No issues today.
 

Melensdad

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From the folks a C|Net, a comparison of Signal, WhatsApp and Telegram.

I don't really agree with some of the points on looks, but that is simply subjective so I won't bother to quibble. What I know is that it works, its free, its cross platform, and its international. I'm not in need of some of the encryption stuff they offer, but I do want privacy for me and my family in our communications.

Follow the link to C|Net for the full article:


Signal, WhatsApp and Telegram: We compare messaging app privacy and security




SIGNAL
  • Does not collect data, only your phone number
  • Free, no ads, funded by nonprofit Signal Foundation
  • Fully open-source
  • Encryption: Signal Protocol
Signal is a typical one-tap install app that can be found in your normal marketplaces like Google's Play Store and Apple's App Store and works just like the usual text-messaging app. It's an open-source development provided free of charge by the nonprofit Signal Foundation and has been famously used for years by high-profile privacy icons like Edward Snowden.

Signal's main function is that it can send -- to either an individual or a group -- fully encrypted text, video, audio and picture messages, after verifying your phone number and letting you independently verify other Signal users' identity...

When it comes to privacy, it's hard to beat Signal's offer. It doesn't store your user data. And beyond its encryption prowess, it gives you extended, onscreen privacy options, including app-specific locks, blank notification pop-ups, face-blurring antisurveillance tools and disappearing messages.

Occasional bugs have proven that the tech is far from bulletproof, of course, but the overall arc of Signal's reputation and results have kept it at the top of every privacy-savvy person's list of identity protection tools. The Guardian, The Washington Post, The New York Times (which also recommends WhatsApp) and The Wall Street Journal all recommend using Signal to contact their reporters safely.

For years, the core privacy challenge for Signal lay not in its technology but in its wider adoption. Sending an encrypted Signal message is great, but if your recipient isn't using Signal, then your privacy may be nil. Think of it like the herd immunity created by vaccines, but for your messaging privacy.


TELEGRAM
  • Data linked to you: Name, phone number, contacts, user ID
  • Free, forthcoming Ad Platform and premium features, funded mainly by founder
  • Only partially open-source
  • Encryption: MTProto
Telegram falls somewhere in the middle of the privacy scale, and it stands apart from other messenger apps because of its efforts to create a social network-style environment. While it doesn't collect as much data as WhatsApp, it also doesn't offer encrypted group calls like WhatsApp, nor as much user data privacy and company transparency as Signal. Data collected by Telegram that could be linked to you includes your name, phone number, contact list and user ID.

Telegram also collects your IP address, something else Signal doesn't do. And unlike Signal and WhatsApp, Telegram's one-to-one messages aren't encrypted by default. Rather, you have to turn them on in the app's settings. Telegram group messages also aren't encrypted. Researchers found that while some of Telegram's MTProto encryption scheme was open-source, some portions were not, so it's not completely clear what happens to your texts once they're in Telegram's servers.

Telegram has seen several breaches. Some 42 million Telegram user IDs and phone numbers were exposed in March of 2020, thought to be the work of Iranian government officials. It would be the second massive breach linked to Iran, after 15 million Iranian users were exposed in 2016. A Telegram bug was exploited by Chinese authorities in 2019 during the Hong Kong protests. Then there was the deep-fake bot on Telegram that has been allowed to create forged nudes of women from regular pictures. Most recently, its GPS-enabled feature allowing you to find others near you has created obvious problems for privacy.

I reached out to Telegram to find out whether there were any major security plans in the works for the app, and what its security priorities were after this latest user surge. I'll update this story when I hear back.

WHATSAPP
  • Data linked to you: Too much to list (see below)
  • Free, ads, premium versions available, funded by Facebook
  • Not open-source, except for encryption
  • Encryption: Signal Protocol
Let's be clear: There's a difference between security and privacy. Security is about safeguarding your data against unauthorized access, and privacy is about safeguarding your identity regardless of who has access to that data.

On the security front, WhatsApp's encryption is the same as Signal's. . . WhatsApp's actual app and other infrastructure have also faced hacks, just as Telegram has.

Jeff Bezos' phone was famously hacked in January of 2020 through a WhatsApp video message. In December of the same year, Texas' attorney general alleged -- though has not proven -- that Facebook and Google struck a back-room deal to reveal WhatsApp message content. A spyware vendor targeted a WhatsApp vulnerability with its software to hack 1,400 devices, resulting in a lawsuit from Facebook. WhatsApp's unencrypted cloud-based backup feature has long been considered a security risk by privacy experts and was one way the FBI got evidence on notorious political fixer Paul Manafort. To top it off, WhatsApp has also become known as a haven for scam artists and malware purveyors over the years

Despite the hacks, it's not the security aspect that concerns me about WhatsApp as much as the privacy.
...
"While most people use WhatsApp just to chat with friends and family, we've also begun to offer...​
 

XeVfTEUtaAqJHTqq

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They are all probably well infiltrated by the CIA, NSA, and Five Eyes. I really don't trust any app that ties itself to a physical phone number.

Signal has reportedly taken money from the US government in the past. The other two - forget about it - not trust worthy.

But then again, just for regular chatting then Signal is probably the least suspicious one.
 

Wyn

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I've used whatsapp to parent our daughter while she was in boarding school while we were in Saudi, Australia and some other strange countries with virtually no infrastructure.
It was reliable almost out of the box since it started, but the faceache takeover was a disaster.
Telegram was started by a Rusian hum ok perhaps it will stay ok who knows....
Signal looks interesting but time will tell if it runs on Linux I'm in.
 
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