Well, the app has been around since 2014 and also has other endorsers like Edward Snowden popularly known as a whistleblower and former Whatsapp co-founder Brian Acton. The Signal tagline is “focus on privacy” and offers service which is end to end encrypted. We will tell you everything that you need to know about SIGNAL and how It is the best alternative to Whatsapp.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 7, 2021
What is SIGNAL?
SIGNAL is like any other messaging app but with privacy-focused features. It is available on iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows, Mac, and Linux. It has all the features as seen in any other messaging app but it also collects minimum user data.
It was developed by Signal Foundation and Signal Messenger LLC which is Non Profit company. It was built by Moxie Marlinspike who is also the CEO of Signal Messenger and also an American cryptographer. Brain Acton who is Whatsapp Co-founder left WhatsApp in 2017 and has invested $50m in Signal.
- It is entirely free to use.
- Let’s you send messages, make an audio and video call with whom so ever you want, share photos and video links, group video calling, to sum up, it has all the features which are available in any other popular messaging app.
- You can create a group limited to up to 150 members but unlike Whatsapp, one can not automatically be added to the group. one has to send an invitation and If the other person accepts it then only he or she be added
- You can individually reply to messages, send Emojis, and delete a particular message.
- It has message disappearing features as well with a time range of 5 seconds to 1 week.
It is more privacy centered but collects minimal user data without compromising the very feature for which it has become popular among the people.
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Your Signal account can be linked to any other device but the major concern and drawback of this app are that you would not be able to access chat history because all the messages get stored up in the individual device itself. The signal is built to have direct communication between the people with the primary focus on privacy so it does not have any features dedicated to economic activities but yes small, medium or larger enterprises can get themselves registered as regular users.
Making a backup of chat history is not possible as data can not be stored in any cloud storage if your device gets lost and you set up SIGNAL on a new device you would not be able to access all your previous chat including messages, pictures, Files and other contacts all get lost.
It has scores of privacy centered features which makes it popular among the people. It has the feature of “relay call” Enabling which results in the call going through a signal server to avoid revealing your IP address to your contact but using such features will also result in a low-quality call as per Signal. If you do not want other people to know whether you have read their messages or not, it has the option of a turn on or off read receipt on top of that you can switch off or on typing indicator.
Unlike Whatsapp, it has no feature of status means one can not see whether you are online or offline. It is also embedded with a Screen lock feature which keeps your account safe however incoming calls or messages can be answered even if the screen is locked.
It has also the feature of a security PIN to prevent unauthorized use. One can also set up a reminder to keep asking for the PIN from a user of the account. One can also change the security PIN by going into the settings but if you forget the PIN there is no way it can be recovered back.
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Does it collect Data?
Yes, it does collects data but only with the objective to operate the services. Phone number is only collected with additional technical information including ” authentication tokens, keys, push tokes, and other materials which get stored on its server necessary to establish a call and transmit messages.
On its server, it does queue ” end to end encrypted messages for delivery to devices which are temporarily offline. Signal has also made it very clear that encrypted messages can not be decrypted or is accessible by the company itself or any third party. The company has also stated explicitly without an ounce of doubt that it does not sell, rent, or monetize your personal data or any content of your sensitive information.
This app will also let you see that who in your address book is signal user however it has made very clear that this information is kept secure but this information can be cryptographically hashed and transferred with the purpose to know that which of your contact is registered. if the user relies on third-party services in connection with signal services, it may share some data with the third party to provide some services.