Developed by Open Whisper Systems, Signal has become the security community’s gold standard for privacy-focused communications.
The Signal protocol was integrated into WhatsApp to encrypt messages and calls in 2016, and today Facebook Messenger, Google Allo and Skype all integrate Signal’s privacy features.
According to Signal creator Moxie Marlinspike, privacy is not a question of trust:
We don’t think that privacy is about trusting people. We’re trying to develop technology that means that you don’t have to trust anyone.
Unlike WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, and messaging app Telegram, which has “a plain text history of every message you have ever sent or received on their servers”, Signal is engineered by a small team passionate about no ads, no affiliate marketers and no tracking.
Signal is available free for Android, iPhone and desktop, funded by grants and user donations, and designed to always put users first; their code is open source, meaning anyone can read it, and Open Whisper Systems is trusted by Edward Snowdon and Laura Poitras.
Poitras was one of the journalists who won a George Polk Award in journalism for meeting with Snowdon in 2013 and publishing his leaks on the secret mass collection of the general public’s private data by governments to The Gaurdian and Washington Post.
The Open Whispers Systems team passionately believe in the importance of the public’s right to privacy and in February 2018, the creators of Signal announced the launch of the Signal Foundation.
WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton joined as the foundation’s executive chairman, and Acton personally injecting $50 million into the project.
Currently with Signal, you can make crystal-clear voice and video calls and send high-quality group, text, voice, video, document, and picture messages anywhere in the world. You can also keep your chat history tidy by setting messages to disappear.
But with the cash injection and collaboration from Acton, and the passion for encryption and cryptography by the the Open Whispers team, the potential for ongoing development of Signal and future privacy-focused apps by the team is immense.
With their effort “to provide the most trusted communications experience on the planet” and “passion and absolute commitment to data protection and personal privacy”, cybersecurity could quickly become the new norm.