Radical Apps: Get Down With Non-Invasive, Open-Source Texting

By DLM for Boston Compass (#122)

April 25, 2020


This is my first official return to any Rad Apps articles. I’ve been keeping it fresh for sixteen 250-word mini-articles but given that my word limit, like tech, has changed, I’d like to take an opportunity to once again invite you to use the chat app: ‘Signal’ for all of your chat needs.

Last time, I was excited to tell you about Signal because it’s one of the very few end-to-end encrypted and open-source chat apps out there. As I’ve mentioned before, open-source means that anyone can look at the source code to ensure Signal does what it says it does. End-to-end encryption means your messages are jumbled into complete nonsense data before being sent out and are only opened by someone else with the correct ‘key’ thereby making the data useless to anyone passively looking at the data. End-to-end especially means that your messages are not opened up in between you and the recipient by anyone such as your phone company, Facebook, or even Signal’s servers which relay the messages.

What I’m especially keen to tell you besides all the cool security tech under the hood is that Signal has more or less achieved “feature parity” with the other chat apps out there. This means Signal can do most of, if not more than, what other competing chat apps can offer. Signal can do text, pictures, phone calls, video chat, full emoji and sticker support, reactions, group messaging, self-destructing messages, and more! Basically there are no surprises which is precisely what makes it so great: you don’t have to learn any new crazy tech to get the benefits of basic digital security.

Keep in mind that a lot of Signal’s features such as video calling require both you and your friend to use it: just like Apple’s Facetime. Likewise, the technology behind the encryption demands both people use Signal –if only one party uses it, it will send the text out as regular SMS. All of which bring me to my main point: if most people use Signal for everyday use, it becomes ubiquitous and the benefits of using encryption become complete. According to Google Play stats, over ten million people already installed Signal. Won’t you be one more? Signal can be downloaded from the iOS App Store, the Google Play Store, and directly from https://signal.org

**DLM is not just a tech wizard but an extraordinary artist! Check out his work!

Check out all the art and columns of April's Boston Compass at https://www.issuu.com/bostoncccompass