Review date: 09/08/2021
We love Signal! Signal is owned by a non-profit. Their mission is to "develop open source privacy technology that protects free expression and enables secure global communication." What’s that mean? It means Signal is a free, open source, privacy-focused messaging and video chat app that totally rocks. They even added support for group video calls at the end of 2020. Signal isn't pushing ads or tracking your data to try and make money off you in any way. They rely on donations from generous users to keep their app open and free for all. Nonprofits that embrace privacy for all are the bomb (ahem, Mozilla is also a non-profit that embraces privacy and relies on donations from generous users to do our work).
What could happen if something goes wrong
Can it snoop on me?
What is required to sign up?
Third party account
What data does it collect?
Phone number. Name and photo are optional and end-to-end encrypted meaning Signal can not retrieve them.
How does it use this data?
What is the company’s known track record for protecting users’ data?
There were no data breaches associated with Signal. In January 2021, Google Project Zero security researcher Natalie Silvanovich discovered a bug in Signal that would allow audio to be transmitted without user consent. The bug was promptly fixed. Signal does reveal if someone uses their service, once you know their phone number. For example, it is known that Mark Zuckerberg himself is on Signal. Once someone in your contacts joins a service, you can see it, if you are a user, too. It is a useful feature if you want to know who is around to chat with in the app, but can be annoying (and potentially dangerous) if you want to be there secretly, or if your government has banned Signal.
Can this product be used offline?
User friendly privacy information?
Links to privacy information
Does this product meet our Minimum Security Standards?
Signal uses full end-to-end encryption. Also, Signal uses the great practice of end-to-end encrypting profile data. It means that even if you decide to provide your profile information, Signal will not have access to it - it will be only shared with your contacts / with whom you chose. Another good practice is a secure discovery who among your contacts uses the service (again, optional). For this, information from the contacts on your device may be cryptographically hashed and transmitted to the server in order to determine which of your contacts are registered.
You can lock your Signal app with a passcode
Anyone can report a vulnerability