Signal

Signal

Review date: 04/23/2020

If you only want video chat with one person, this is probably the most secure app on our list. Signal is made by the nonprofit Signal Technology Foundation. Their amazing mission is to "developing open source privacy technology that protects free expression and enables secure global communication." What does that mean? It means Signal is a free, open source, privacy-focused messaging app with simple phone-to-phone video chat. Unfortunately, their video chat is only available through their Android and iOS apps, not their desktop app. Because Signal is a nonprofit, they aren't pushing ads or tracking and capturing your data to try and make money off you in any way. Nonprofits that embrace open source are the bomb (ahem, Mozilla is also a nonprofit that embraces open source).

What could happen if something goes wrong

Not a whole lot, from what we can tell. Signal's open-source end-to-end encryption is lauded by many security professionals. And Signal won't track you or sell your data to strangers who could use it to target you with weird ads. It's always possible that buddy you're video chatting with could screenshot your chat before you've combed your hair. But hey, that's true for every video call app, so comb your hair before you take that video call!

Privacy

What is required to sign up?

To use Signal, an account has to be created by registering a phone number.

What data does it collect?

How does it use this data?

How are your recordings handled?

Signal does not have any included feature for recording video calls

Alerts when calls are being recorded?

N/A

Video calls can't be recorded within Signal.

Does the platform say it is compliant with US medical privacy laws?

No

Signal is not HIPAA compliant.

Links to privacy information

Can I control it?

Host controls

The user can start a call, mute their own audio and video, but not the audio and video of the person they called, switch camera views and end the call.

Is it easy to learn and use the features?

Yes

Signal's features are simple and easy to use. They also feature an easy to use support page on their website at https://support.signal.org/

Security

Does this product meet our Minimum Security Standards?

Yes

Encryption

Yes

Signal supports end-to-end encryption on video calls with other Signal users.

Strong password

Yes

Users can and should password protect their phone to keep unwanted people from making Signal calls. When making a person-to-person call, passwords aren't required or even needed. Signal also has a screen lock feature that uses your phone's pin, passphrase, or biometric authentication. This feature isn't enabled by default.

Security updates

Yes

Signal updates the app regularly.

Manages vulnerabilities

Yes

Signal doesn't have an official bug bounty program, but the organization does proactively engage outside researchers and closely monitors inbound support requests to quickly address any issues relating to Signal's security.

Privacy policy

Yes

https://signal.org/legal/

Updates

Forget Zoom—children are using Facebook Messenger Kids to deal with coronavirus isolation
MIT Technology Review
“It” is Facebook’s Messenger Kids, separate but related to the Facebook Messenger that adults might be more familiar with. Launched in December 2017, the app allows kids too young to join Facebook to use their parents’ Messenger account to interact with other kids. Parents have full access and must approve who kids contact; kids get to text, video chat, and send stickers to their pals.
If you value your privacy, switch to Signal as your messaging app now
Fast Company
The thing about these lists of top messaging apps is that there’s always one notable absence: Signal is never on them. And that’s a shame, because Signal is the most secure, privacy-centric messaging app ever made. If you haven’t given it a try yet, you should. Here’s why:
Signal’s newest feature shows why putting privacy first is so hard
Fast Company
The privacy-first messaging app recently rolled out an opt-out feature that was criticized by security experts and panned by users.

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