WhatsApp is the most popular messaging platform in India. However, it has recently become embroiled in a controversy over privacy.
Luckily, there are many other platforms that can help you safely communicate with your friends and family. This includes the privacy-focussed app Signal.
The California-based app is run by a not-for-profit organisation. It was co-founded in 2018 by the co-founder of WhatsApp.
The Signal Foundation aims to offer an encrypted messaging app to its users. It means the platform cannot access private messages/ media or store them on their server.
In fact, even WhatsApp currently uses the open source app’s end-to-end encryption protocol. So, how is Signal different from WhatsApp?
Unlike Signal, WhatsApp can access other private information like IP address, group details and status. Additionally, the popular platform does not encrypt messages stored on the cloud. Let’s take a closer look:
- Almost everyone you know is using the popular app on a daily basis
- Comes with features like the in-app payments feature
- Group chats work with up to 256 members
- Allows broadcast messages to multiple contacts
- Support voice and video calls
- Allows you to share all sorts of files and documents (up to 100MB)
- Photos, videos, and audio files can be shared up to 16 MB
- You can share live location with your contacts
- Backup and restore messages and data via cloud services like Google Drive and iCloud
- WhatsApp uses end to end encryption (E2E) for communication: messages, video calls, voice calls, photos, and anything
- WhatsApp uses E2E protocol developed by Open Whisper Systems, same as Signal
- The app stores too much information, namely Device ID, User ID, Advertising Data, Purchase History, Coarse Location, Phone Number, Email Address, Contacts, Product Interaction, Crash Data, Performance Data, Other Diagnostic Data, Payment Info, Customer Support, Product Interaction, and other User Content.
- The primary source of spam and misinformation
- Does not encrypt backups (cloud or local
- Does not encrypt metadata used to carry communication between two endpoints
- Group chats have been earlier found to be indexed on Google search
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- Only stores your phone number
- Supports encrypted group calls
- Supports self-destructing messages
- “Note to Self” to share your own thoughts and ideas without creating single-member groups
- Allows setting a registration lock PIN to protect private profile information.
- Hides who is messaging whom through the ‘sealed sender’ feature
- You can relay voice calls to Signal’s servers, thereby hiding your identity from contacts
- The app has a feature that blurs faces automatically before sending pictures
- You can also enable incognito keyboard mode and block screenshots within the app
- Determines Singal users in your address book without revealing contacts to the service
- Unlike WhatsApp by Facebook, Signal isn’t owned by a big technology firm.
- The has very few users right now. You might not find people you want to interact with
- Does not have features like Live Location, global media settings, and chat Wallpapers
- Can’t broadcast messages to multiple contacts at once
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Signal is the most secure messaging platform right now. However, it lacks a host of features if compared to Whatsapp.
Alternatively, you can use Telegram messaging app. However, it is said to store user’s contact number and user ID. Also, group chats are not encrypted unless you use Secret Chats.
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Which of the two apps will you choose? Share your views with us in the comments section below.