Snowden-Endorsed IM App Signal Arrives on Android

A private instant messaging app that has the approval of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has finally been released for Android devices. Signal, developed by Open Whisper Systems, has been available for iOS since 2014, combining its previous two apps RedPhone and TextSecure, and is considered the most secure messaging and voice call app available, also garnering the support of online privacy advocates the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Signal is open source, available on GitHub, and uses advanced end-to-end encryption protocols to secure data for both sender and receiver, and allows message verification via key fingerprints and call integrity through checking matching words on both ends. The app also supports group chat, with none of the metadata related to group membership stored by Open Whisper Systems.

“As always, Signal uses your existing phone number and address book. There are no separate logins, usernames, passwords, or PINs to manage or lose,” the Signal webpage reads. “We cannot hear your conversations or see your messages, and no one else can either. Everything in Signal is always end-to-end encrypted, and painstakingly engineered in order to keep your communication safe.”

Snowden is a famous advocate of Signal, reaffirming his support following the release of the app for Android:

Signal is available for download from the Google Play store now.

WhatsApp Introduces End-to-End Encryption

In a move applauded by privacy advocates, instant messaging service WhatsApp is introducing end-to-end encryption of user data on Android devices, meaning that any messages sent through the app cannot be decrypted by anyone, making it impossible for government agencies to access that data by any means.

The encryption protocol has been provided by Open Whisper Systems, a collaborative open source project. The protocol is still a work-in-progress, so doesn’t yet work for group messaging or interactions that contain videos or photos, but Open Whisper Systems promise to address these issues in future. Open Whisper Systems announced the news on their blog, saying,  For the past three years, we’ve been developing a modern, open source, strong encryption protocol for asynchronous messaging systems, designed to make seamless end-to-end encrypted messaging possible.

“Today we’re excited to publicly announce a partnership with WhatsApp, the most popular messaging app in the world, to incorporate the TextSecure protocol into their clients and provide end-to-end encryption for their users by default.”

Source: ars technica