Should we fear possible signal drifts

For some time now, the Signal messaging app, long touted by whistleblower Edward Snowden, is attracting more and more new users.

This situation is the result of a misapplying WhatsApp users in the face of the new terms and conditions of use proposed by its parent company Facebook. This has led to a wave of migration to other alternatives, in this case Signal. While waiting for Facebook to fully explain its new privacy policy that scares its users, which suits Signal and other messaging applications, the number of followers of the latter continues to rise. And this continues and will certainly continue when we know that the communication tool is validated by some pretty prominent people in their field namely Snowden and Elon Musk.

Yet this success worries. Not just anyone, he is worried especially the employees of the platform, who during an interview expressed their fear to the media the Verge.

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According to interviewees on the issue, the concern lies in the possible drifts that may arise from bad behaviour or bad long-term objectives.

From a much more organizational point of view, it should be noted that the messaging app is run by a foundation known as signal Foundation. The Foundation operates on the entire low of nearly $50 million made by the former co-founder of the famous WhatsApp app, and some including from users. Yet the application is still not self-sufficient. For this, it needs to retain nearly 100 million active users. Forecasts have shown that this level, it would be possible to cover the costs of managing the platform, especially at the development level, thanks to the donations that this could generate. This completely differentiates the business model of the latter from Facebook, which monetizes the data of its users. This honestly becomes an imperative that the application be downloaded by the largest in the world.

The fact that Signal, like any other platform of the same kind, is somehow interested in economic aspects inherent in its operation is scary in the long run.

A first thing that worries about the use of the platform and that it can be used in illegal conditions. Indeed, the platform has a good reputation for privacy and data security. As a result, the Foundation itself cannot access the content of the exchanges that take place on its application, due to end-to-end encryption.

Asked about the question, the Foundation's CEO said, "The answer was: if and when people start abusing Signal or doing things that we think are terrible, we will say something."

In addition, the project to integrate the platform but cryptocurrency system has also stirred up criticism. While the app initially sees this as a way to facilitate donations and make exchanges much more confidential, some experts have pointed out that this would also have served as a means of transaction for terrorists to people of bad intent.

"If we decided to incorporate payments into Signal, we would try to think seriously about how to do it," says Moxie Marlinspike. "I want us as an organization to be very careful not to make Signal less effective for these kinds of bad actors, if it would also make Signal less effective for the types of actors we want to support and encourage," he continues.

Yet the CEO of Signal finds in front of him someone who totally opposes his conception of things: Gregg Bernstein, his former collaborator. "No one is saying that We need to fundamentally change Signal. There are small things he could do to prevent Signal from becoming a tool for tragic events, while protecting the integrity of the product for those who need it most.

As a user, we all hope that the right decisions will be made. But while it is easy to say that, it is much more difficult to determine exactly what the right decisions are. he says.

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