‘Use Signal App’ – A New Slogan As WhatsApp Pushes Privacy Update
Signal is an open source, peer reviewed and end-to-end encrypted messaging app developed by Signal Foundation.
From Elon Musk to hacker Elliot Alderson, several technology leaders, activists, ethical hackers and professionals have undertaken a spirited advocacy of Signal app as an alternative to WhatsApp.
Reports have suggested a steady uptick in the adoption of Signal as well as Telegram following the endorsement by high-profile names.
Signal, indicating this surge in registrations, tweeted on 7 January, “Verification codes are currently delayed across several providers because so many new people are trying to join Signal right now (we can barely register our excitement).”
The update comes with a condition that if the user refuses to share data with Facebook, they will have to quit WhatsApp.
One of the many changes that the company provided information on is the data it collects from users, which includes account information, address book information, status information, transactions and payments data, customer support communications and messages in some circumstances.
According to the company, messages are only stored on your device and not on the company servers.
- Account registration information (such as your phone number)
- Transaction data, service-related information
- Information on how users interact with others (including businesses) when using the platform.
- Mobile device information
- User IP address
- It may also share and receive automatically collected data and messages, that have been mentioned in the scenarios listed above.
A Push for Signal
Signal is a cross-platform open source, peer reviewed and encrypted messaging service that is available on Android, iOS, and other operating systems. The messaging app offers end-to-end encryption for messages and media shared between users.
Several activists, journalists and technology professionals have openly advocated the use of Signal or a migration away from WhatsApp.
Fact-checking platform AltNews founder Pratik Sinha tweeted, “If you’re looking at migrating out of WhatsApp, @signalapp is a very good option.”
“Signal is developed under Signal Foundation which is a non-profit foundation. It is open source and peer reviewed. Same is not true with Telegram and other market offerings,” he added.
Others like ethical hacker Elliot Alderson and Internet Freedom Foundation’s Executive Director Apar Gupta tweeted “Use @signalppp”.
However, WhatsApp has 340 millions users in India, by far the largest personal messaging service in India.
WhatsApp issued a new public statement on 8 January regarding the updates it will be bringing in. The statement emphasises that while one-on-one communications will continue to remain end-to-end encrypted, it is the communication with business accounts on WhatsApp that are undergoing changes.
Here’s what the full statement says:
“As we announced in October, WhatsApp wants to make it easier for people to both make a purchase and get help from a business directly on WhatsApp. While most people use WhatsApp to chat with friends and family, increasingly people are reaching out to businesses as well.
The update does not change WhatsApp’s data sharing practices with Facebook and does not impact how people communicate privately with friends or family wherever they are in the world. WhatsApp remains deeply committed to protecting people's privacy. We are communicating directly with users through WhatsApp about these changes so they have time to review the new policy over the course of the next month.”
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