Signal — What this app is and why we should use it

In a world of always-online, marketing, and advertising, what data of yours *isn’t* being tracked anymore? With Signal, you can take your text messages, group messages, and phone calls out of the equation and start taking back your privacy for free.

You may have heard of Signal, or seen the Signal icon in your phone’s respective App Store. But what is it? This well-built, open-source, and peer-reviewed app for your phone and computer can send and receive text messages and multimedia messages, group texts, handle phone calls for you, and more!

But this isn’t your grandma’s messaging app. There is something specific about it that makes the free app worthy of mention, and recommendation:

Privacy.

Ah, privacy. It used to be something we all had. However, with the rapid growth of a connected and online world, most people enjoy significantly less privacy than they previously did. Websites track you, apps send data about you to their developers, your purchase history, search history, web browsing history, and so much more is bought and sold by businesses around the world in an effort to better advertise to you — or accomplish more nefarious objectives. So…Signal?

Signal offers privacy that other messaging applications do not. Any phone calls or messages sent from a Signal user to another Signal user are end-to-end encrypted, making them very difficult for unwanted listeners/viewers to access. Beyond that, you can rest assured your data isn’t being collected and sold to the highest bidder since the only data Signal retains about its users is:

  • Unix timestamps for when each account was created
  • the date that each account last connected to the Signal service

You can read more about the data they store, and also examples of data they have provided when previously subpoenaed in this article.

Photo from CNBC

Signal provides a variety of optional features that we’ve seen claim popularity on other platforms (that are definitely tracking you and selling your data) such as:

  • Group messaging
  • Stickers, emojis, GIFs, and other animated graphics
  • Disappearing messages
  • Typing icon/notifications and other chat-like features
  • Customizable conversations and notifications per-conversation
  • Voice and video calls — including group video calls
  • Registering with your phone number instead of creating a complicated account
  • No cellular service required when sending between Signal users as long as you have WiFi (think like iMessage or Facebook Messenger, both of which may invade your privacy, especially given their companies’ history with data and privacy issues)

…and all of it can be encrypted and completely private. If all your contacts aren’t on Signal yet, that’s okay; it won’t get in the way of communicating with them. Signal handles regular unencrypted text, multimedia, and group messages just a quickly and elegantly as Signal messages.

Funded by grants and donations, open-source, peer-reviewed and audited, Signal is a best bet in maintaining your privacy while communicating.

You can get Signal for your device at these links as of date this article was published:

Android | iOS | Windows | macOS | Debian-based Linux Distributions

Give it a try! Getting started and using Signal is fast, simple, and secure. A best of all, it’s both private and free. Join me on Signal today! If you’re already a Signal user, or decide to try it, leave a comment below with your thoughts on the encrypted messaging service, what you like or don’t like, as well as any thoughts you have on the privacy issues surrounding our online world.


This article is not sponsored by Signal or any of their affiliates.

Featured image from dnaindia.com.