@kev I don't think you mentioned this link, so maybe it's worth adding it to the additional resources section?

@kev never considered Threema? Servers in Switzerland. Apps are fully open source and inspectable. (although new accounts can apparently not be created with the open source version of the apps or something). It is E2E and you can chose to share your addressbook (as hashes) or not.

@kev Unless people go for an XMPP (Jabber server) which I have no clue why it went out of fashion. All the talk about Matrix "bridges" are just rehashes of the Jabber transports in the early 2000s.

@spaetz @kev using #Threema too but people don't want to pay the license to talk to you. Making the move to #Signal is already a challenge. Now I would consider their enterprise plan if I had to chose a messaging app for my company.

@feyn @kev Right, buying an iPhone for 1000$ but not wanting to pay the once-in-a-lifetime fee of 2.99$ for the service. 🤷‍♂️

"The only data Signal holds about its users are the date the account was created and the date the user was last active. That’s literally it."
Doesn't it holds also their mobile numbers? There are countries where your mobile number is directly linked to your real identity, you are not able to legally buy a SIM card anonymously there. For me the requirement to reveal my mobile number due to the registration was a deal breaker: a free service requiring from its users revealing their real identity can not be considered as safe or private.

@VikingKong yep. That’s the identifier for an account. They’re working on not requiring this, I believe.

Here in the UK, anonymous SIMs are a thing, but I’m not too bothered even if it was tied to me. All it shows is “this number/person opened their account on x date, and last accessed the service on y date” that’s fine with me.

@kev @VikingKong in Ireland too but unfortunately not in most of the EU. That sucks.

@kev I was in a similar position in regards to trying Telegram, but don't like that when 1x1 chats are encrypted it's locked to that specific device (though I get the reasoning). I dived into the encryption protical too, this (PDF warning) was a good read:courses.csail.mit.edu/6.857/20

I came away with the opinion that Signal/Telegram are good for different things and don't plan to change from Signal just yet, though if I can get the family to my XMPP server then perhaps I'll switch.

@ScottMortimer @kev It's funny I always hear about Telegram but I personally do now know anyone who uses it for day to day messaging. The only time I even see it in the wild is in the Android custom ROM community as ever fly by night ROM has like 4 or 5 channels.
@rain @ScottMortimer @kev Assuming a certain level of feature parity among competitors, messenger adoption is heavily regional. People simply use what their friends are already using.

@kev I've been trying to get all the people I chat with to make the switch over to Signal but I am one of the only ones I seem to hangout with who is conscious of where my data goes. My friends & family just don't seem to want to leave Facebook Messenger and Discord.

But I did convince my mom to join Signal too!! 😂 😆 So now my chats with my mother are safely encrypted lmao.

@BeansWoold that’s half the battle. Get the matriarch over and the rest will follow! 😂

@kev Using Signal here too. I have Telegram but I use it for Linux group chats, most of which I'm actually not a big participator in. I might end up just removing Telegram altogether.

@kev how about Delta.Chat ? It's got a small following but it's more decentralised and once set up you can't really tell the difference between it and WhatsApp / Signal

@mmn I’ve heard of it, never used it before though. I’m not actually looking for another messenger app. I’m happy with Signal.

@kev have you seen the list of GitHub issues against the signal app? Some of them don't give me huge confidence about the quality or ability to keep baddies from subverting the encryption via bugs

@simon no I haven’t. But if it’s good enough for Snowden, it’s good enough me. Signal encryption is widely regarded as very strong.

@kev @simon Nowhere to get Signal app except the Google play store?

@jrmyj @simon you can download an APK from their site I believe.

@kev "Receiving the fateful popup a week or so ago telling me I had to agree to share my data with Facebook, or stop using WhatsApp was the kick I needed to get off the platform. I deleted my account the same day."


To me what really sucks now about WhatsApp more than the privacy concerns is HOW THEY TREATED THE CUSTOMERS.

Threatening to accept or leave is just complete lack of tact and a so obvious sign a total disrespect to customers.

I'll better use Telegram just for that reason.

@maixent_mm @kev remember WhatsApp is owned by Facebook. Users are not Facebook’s customers. Advertisers are.

Also regarding Telegram - imo it’s better than WhatsApp so use it if your friends are already on there, but if you have the choice, go for Signal instead. Far better security and privacy.

@kev Good thoughts - everything is better than WhatsApp. But I have to disagree on using another centralized app. Matrix ticks all the boxes. It's open standard an no single authority has control over it. XMPP was also a good idea, but failed to do in 20 years what Matrix did in a few years. Comparing between WhatsApp, Telegram and Signal is like comparing BBS's in 1990's when Internet E-mail is becoming a thing.

@cos @kev I put Matrix on my list of contacts on my blog for this reason. Only waiting for disappearing messages to be implemented, and ideally solid E2EE on a second client (apart from Element) before I start recommending it instead of Signal

@michel_slm @kev Well, FluffyChat, Nheko and Weechat Matrix plugin already support E2EE. Disappearing messages is on the pipeline but note that it's impossible to reliably force a remote client or server to delete something.

@michel_slm @kev ..also Gomuks and Mirage support E2EE.. it's more difficult to find ones that don't support it nowadays.

@cos @kev WeeChat's plugin is still being rewritten, right? The old one didn't support the new way of authenticating new clients automatically, IIRC.

And yeah, same with deletion in ActivityPub, at some point you have to trust the other party to do the right thing. It's easier to get people to move if the major features are available though.

Speaking of which, time to see if I can get some people to move to Matrix now

@cos @kev just tried FluffyChat and it also doesn't support this (I can't authenticate it from am existing Element session). It solves my need to connect to two Matrix servers at once though since for one of them I don't really need E2EE

@cos @kev oh, cross signing actually works but I have to initiate it from my existing Element session. Pleasantly surprised

@cos like I said in the post, it’s a personal choice. Matrix ticks all *your* boxes. I personally find the whole thing confusing. My mum definitely wouldn’t be able to use it.

@kev @cos it certainly felt more confusing even just a few months ago (my first attempt to migrate some techie friends failed). The apps are in a state now where matrix.to links seem to work well enough that I'm getting close to trying again

@kev Agreed, mums and grannies are a very difficult user group :-) They do need someone for initial setup, but after getting them to family room the actual usage should be quite identical to other apps. It would be actually possible to make a "granny-grade" Matrix client that would use phone number as identity (sacrificing anonymity and multi-account) and hide all E2EE features (compromising privacy) so the UX would be as simple as possible.

@cos I dunno. I have Element on my iPad. I tried to find my username last night so I can add it to the contact page on my website. Couldn't find it anywhere.

Then I tried to add an email address to me account and kept getting 401 errors.

I feel like Matrix is far from non-tech user proof.

@kev You see your user info by clicking on your avatar in top left corner. Also Settings/General/Logged in as shows it. The e-mail address issue sounds like problem with your homeserver. Please report it to the admins.

@cos there is no avatar in the top right corner of the iOS app. When I go into settings, there is no username listed (see attached).
I got it from the webUI in the end.

I sorted the email address through the webUI too.

These niggles is what kills project adoption for general users. My mum would have given up long ago. It's too complicated and over-engineered IMO.


@cos perfect example - I just changed the password on my account and had to re-login with my iPad. This took like 5 steps to verify it's me.

I get why it did that - security and all that jazz. But a standard user would have dropped this like a hot potato.


@kev Ok, never used the iOS element. You might want to convert your findings to issues at github.com/vector-im/element-i so they'll get fixed eventually.

@kev I looked at Telegram awhile back. I decided to go with Signal instead. I deleted WhatsApp today (and wrote about it). minimlr.com/whatsapp-has-final

@kev one thing people seem to miss in all these discussions is the business models that these companies are built on. Whatsapp had to go in the "collect all your data" direction because that's their business model.

Telegram will eventually have to monetise their users also, as they are a business.

Signal, however, is a non-profit, and so they can't be sold-off to a company, and they have no business incentive to change the game later. All they have to do is cover costs+developers.

@kev I've read this before and thanks Kev for sharing it.

I don't think it is sustainable to have the entire world use a single organization's service. It is a big single point of failure. I recommend federated systems like #matrix or #xmpp where we have a choice of providers and no single point of failure. And for those who say it is not convenient, I suggest #Quicksy which is just a convenient on boarding hack built and interoperable with xmpp network. On boarding and usability of Quicksy is the same as #WhatsApp or #Signal, but no lock-in.

@praveen the problem is with these services, is that even though they're federated, they have even fewer users than Telegram or Signal. So, even though they are federated, you're back to the original point of trying to get your friends and family to use this new service. Which most won't.

Yes, someone has to move first. Even for Telegram and Signal someone had to make the first move. This change would not have been possible if everyone said the same thing about WhatsApp when they moved to Telegram or Signal. The whole point of federation is that, you become free from the network effect if you want to change your provider. Quicksy is relatively new player here, though xmpp was always here.

@praveen @kev

I agree with the benefits of federation, but I still think (and hope) that the jump to Signal (and to a lesser extent, Telegram) should be seen as a positive move in the right direction, if not getting us all the way where we want to be. Signal is just such an "easier" transition from WhatsApp for the lay user who knows nothing about technology.

Yes, indeed it is a positive step, and at the same time an opportunity for us to educate people. You absolutely have no choice over terms of service in these centralized solutions. If they change something in future, you are in the same situation. Remember #WhatsApp was not bad when they started.

The problem is with us not understanding the root cause. It was centralization that forced and still forcing so many people to stick to #WhatsApp. Both #Telegram and #Signal is centralized. It takes away our choices to move to better apps and services by locking us to a single provider. Times like these are an opening for us to teach people about this fundamental issue. But we are losing that opportunity if we settle with Telegram, Signal or other centralized services.

@praveen something being ‘better’ is completely subjective. Many, many people outsider of tech would find decentralised serviced way too complicated and simply wouldn’t bother.

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