Why has "privacy minded" people fallen for the illusion that Signal is good?

- It is centralized, which means you can't have control
- It uses google play services
- Using third party servers to send gifs
- The apk has flaws
- There is a reason F-Droid dont want it in its repo

I really can't wrap my head around why "privacy minded" people would embrace it.

  • 6
    Because it’s *cough* encrypted.
  • 7
    It would seem "Privacy" is well on it's way to becoming a meaningless marketing buzzword. :/
  • 4
    @Linux so what should I use? Any suckless alternatives?
  • 5
    @dontPanic matrix gives you the control you deserve.
  • 3
    @Linux thanks I'll check it out
  • 6

  • 6
  • 5
    Probably because it's open source, at least. Also it is a lot easier to use for non techie people than matrix with good encryption.
  • 5
    @kolaente for the last time. When will people know that open source != safe, good...
  • 6
    According to https://forum.f-droid.org/t/... and https://gitlab.com/fdroid/rfp/..., the reason for non-inclusion on F-Droid is because the lead dev of Signal doesn't want to be bothered with a second distribution channel and its maintenance. Additionally, a rebrand of Signal is available on F-Droid called Noise.

    Edit: apparently it used to be available in Copperhead but after some more digging into it, I've found that apparently it got pretty much nuked after one of the guys over there got sacked by the company or something like that (https://reddit.com/r/CopperheadOS/...).
  • 2
    @Linux I run my own matrix server, it's amazing…
  • 2
    What’s everyone’s opinions on the other alternatives?
    And what if your matrix server gets impounded?..
  • 3
    *waiting here for the other linux with three x's comment*
  • 2

    Me too, it is great
  • 1

    There is 0 reason for my server to be that
  • 5
    Don't mind me I'm just a dot.
  • 4
    Don't mind me, I'm just popcorn. 🍿
  • 7
    * The amount of Metadata stored on the server is minimal. Only Threema has less.
    * Signal has been audited a few times.
    * It is difficult to convince people to leave WhatsApp behind and to switch. But with Matrix that is next to impossible.

    I don't say Signal is super-safe. It is far better than Telegram and WhatsApp, and a lot easier to setup and use than Threema and Matrix.
    That's something.
  • 12
    @PrivateGER The only reason its not on fdroid is because it goes to the use of Google cloud messaging when it can't connect through websockets.

    @Linux it's not dependent on Google stuff. Source: me running a phone without Google services and it works just fine (notifs as well).

    1) Depends on what control you mean. You still have control over your data (the messages + contents) through the encryption. As for other things, I agree.

    2) It *CAN* use them. It works perfectly fine on devices without Google play services (for more than a year now).

    3) Have you actually read how they handle this? It might not be ideal but damn they try hard to make it as anonymously as possible.

    4) Yeah, welcome to human made software. I get that that's not ideal but I'm pretty sure that nearly all applications have flaws so to use that as an argument...

    5) Read the Google play part above.
  • 4
    @linuxxx Well I also use Signal on a phone without official Google services, but I had to enable microG's "Google Cloud Messaging" option. Couldn't even log in without enabling cloud messaging. Google Cloud messaging needs your device to be registered to Google with a unique identifier, which is definitely something you might not want.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong.

    Oh and I agree that Signal's encryption seems to be very solid, so it's not necessarily a problem that it's a centralized service. As you said, the encryption gives the user control over their data.
  • 3
    @kenogo I think you're wrong (from own experience).

    On my own device right now I solely remover everything Google but I've had a oneplus with lineage (just stock) without anything from Google on it and it worked perfectly fine there! (registration, notifs, everything)
  • 3
    @kenogo To add; neither used/uses anything like microg either*
  • 10
    @linuxxx Okay, I dug through the source a bit, and it seems that we're both right :P During the registration, it performs a check whether a current Google Play Services version is present.

    If that's not the case, it opens a dialog that tells you "This device is missing Google Play Services. You can still use Signal, but this configuration may result in reduced reliability or performance." and then continues registration without Cloud messaging dependencies.

    Now, microG obviously gets recognized as Google Play Service. In that case, it uses code that depends on Google Cloud messaging, so you HAVE to enable it when using microG. Basically, the devs thought of the possiblity of not using Google Play Services, but not of the possibility of using microG without cloud messaging.

    I'll probably write a patch soon, so that microG-users can still use Signal without enabling cloud messaging. You could probably also get it to work with adb.

    Still wish more people used Matrix/Riot.im
  • 5
    @kenogo Thanks for your thorough explanation and awesome!
  • 1
    @theKarlisK >privacy is now a buzz word
    not like it even EXISTS anymore!
  • 0
    About the Google Play services: If signal is downloaded from the vendor's website, it does not depend on them.
  • 2
    I didn't dig too deep into it, but as far as I understand, Matrix pretty much is IRC? Many servers that people can connect to and chat with each other or form groups. Sounds like a lot of fragmentation and terrible replacement for something like WhatsApp. People need to add the right servers and could find the same person on multiple servers, which fucks up stuff like chat history. That's ok for the use cases where IRC was used, but for simple direct communication? Also, as it needs dedicated servers, it's still somewhat centralized. Just with many centrals. And as long as it's not my server, I'm not in control of anything just as well.
    Please correct me where I'm wrong. No hate for matrix itself, I like to try it out.
  • 4
    @Forside It's not like IRC at all really. People can simply choose which server they connect to, but from that server, they can reach the entire matrix network. If you have an account on my server, for instance, and @Linux has a public group running on his server, you'll be able to connect to his group without problems. You can also direct message with people across all Matrix servers. So there really isn't any need to have accounts on multiple servers.

    It's the perfect combination of having a unified network, but still having it decentralized, so you can choose on which server your data is (and even host it yourself). It's similar to diaspora, in case you've heard of that.
  • 3
    @kenogo Oh well, that sounds good! I guess by using end-to-end encryption there's no way for a server owner to exploit the fact, that all communication is running through his machine? Also having my own server just for me to connect to the network has no annoying side-effects? Well, I'll probably still never be able to convince anyone to use it ^^
  • 3
    @Forside No having your own server has no annoying side effects at all :) And yeah, convincing people is definitely a problem ^^ Right now, I only have like 5 friends with accounts on my server
  • 0
    Yall bashin on telegram but is any of these other services banned in russia? 🤔
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