Seeing as we do a huge amount of our communicating via messaging services these days, it’s important to know what information we are giving out, and to whom. There are many messaging apps that bill themselves as being “private”, but which ones actually are?
We dig into WhatsApp, iMessage, Telegram, Signal, Session, Threema, Wire, and Matrix to tell you what’s what.
Written by Reuben Yap, C. Edward Kelso, and Naomi Brockwell Special thanks to Kieran Mesquita and Andy for their help with research Edited by Lee Rennie
The ability to share short messages instantly to someone’s phone has transformed the way we communicate. There are countless options: SMS, iMessage, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Signal… but how PRIVATE are these services?
In this video, go over some of the LEAST private messaging apps, and what to look for in an app if privacy is important to you.
In our next video, we’ll review some of the messaging apps that bill themselves as “private”… and whether they actually are!
Written by Reuben Yap, C. Edward Kelso, and Naomi Brockwell Edited by Lee Rennie
Earlier this week my brother GC and I watched the animated film Batman: The Killing Joke, and there was a scene in the film where The Joker told Batman a joke:
See, there were these two guys in a lunatic asylum…and one night, one night they decide they don’t like living in an asylum any more.
They decide they’re going to escape!
So, like, they get up onto the roof and there, just across this narrow gap, they see the rooftops of the town, stretching away in the moonlight…stretching away to freedom.
Now, the first guy, he jumps right across with no problem.
But his friend, his friend daredn’t make the leap.
Y’see…y’see, he’s afraid of falling.
So then, the first guy has an idea…He says ‘Hey!
I have my flashlight with me!
I’ll shine it across the gap between the buildings.
You can walk along the beam and join me!’ B-but the second guy just shakes his head.
He suh-says… he says ‘What do you think I am? Crazy?
You’d turn it off when I was half way across!
– Batman: The Killing Joke | Quote Credit: Wikiquote
Today my brother GC texted me his version of this joke in response to our walking step counts that we share every day, my brother GC and my mom and I share our walking steps each day that are tracked by an app on our mobile phones, and I thought that it was funnier than the original joke and easier to understand so I decided to share it 😀 :
So there were two guys who had a step tracking app.
One of the men always seemed to have more steps than the other.
One day, they were both walking together and one of them said: “My step count has been low lately. I just don’t step as much as I use to.”.
The other man says: “Is that so? Well here, you can have some of my steps.” and then he runs off.
The other man says: “Wait, I forgot my phone at home. I must have left it in my other wheelchair.”
All that I can remember of this dream is that it took place during the day at a school or college (it seemed more like a college to me), and my brothers KD and TD and some of my former classmates and I were living there along with other students.
Throughout the dream some other students were trying to get access to the mobile phones of my brothers KD and TD, they would ask me if I could give them their mobile phones hoping that I had their passwords I guess, but I would not do this; and I had no idea why they wanted access to their mobile phones.
At some point I was in a dorm-like part of the college campus in a room where my brothers KD and TD were trying to sleep, my former male classmate TC and some of his friends, and I were in the room as well; and this room seemed to possibly belong to my former classmate TC and his friends.
My former classmate TC also wanted access to their mobile phones, I refused and I told him that he should ask them, but he kept trying to shame and convince me into helping him; but this was not working on me, and I asked him why did he want access to their mobile phones because I was tired of people asking me this.
He said that he wanted access to an app on their mobile phones that I think was used to pay bills and deal with money transactions, I told him to just download and install that app on his mobile phone instead of trying to access their mobile phones, and if it was not a free app then find a free alternative to that app; but he gave some excuses, and so I refused again telling him to stop bothering me about it.
I did not trust my former classmate TC and the others so I made sure that they did not mess with the mobile phones or my brothers KD and TD while they were trying to sleep, I was going to tell my brothers KD and TD about what happened and warn them when they wake up to be cautious because other students were trying to get access to their phones and that app, but I woke up.
All that I can remember of this dream is that some of my former classmates like my male former classmates SS and DH and JC and MT and JB and several others, some fictional classmates, and I were in college again and we were going around a fictional city having fun during the day after our classes were over for the day.
At some point we decided to sneak into one of the classrooms to hang out even though this was no allowed, we sneaked into the classroom and we sat around talking and having fun without messing up anything, and there were some other classes taking place inside the building still.
At some point someone must have heard us inside the classroom because one or more men came to investigate, I think that we hid and maybe avoided them, but a male college professor who looked and acted like the actor Vincent D’Onofrio entered the classroom to investigate; and he found us, and we thought that he was going to call the police on us so we became worried and afraid about getting arrested and suspended from college.
He told us all to sit down and he wanted us to all give him our names and write them down, some of us did this but some of us refused (like me), and I remember questioning Mr. D’Onofrio about this; and I remember arguing that even though we were not supposed to be there, we did not mess up anything and we did not disturb anyone, and so I did not think that we should get arrested for this and that the police should not be called.
Mr. D’Onofrio acted more like his character from the television show Law & Order: Criminal Intent so he did not answer my questions directly, it seemed that he was playing mind games with us, and he even knew some of us because some of us were in his class and I reminded him of this; and at some point he had those who wrote their names follow him to the library, even though I did not write my name yet I decided to follow him continuing to talk to him, and slowly I suspected that he was not going to call the police on us.
He gave some cryptic answers to some of my questions, he mentioned a phrase that sounded familiar to me like I had heard him say it before in the past, and then I really felt that having us write our names was a test and that it was meant to cause fear and remorse and hopefully make us not want to try this again; and if he did punish the people who did not write their names, I felt that it would be a minor punishment, but I was not sure and I finally wrote my name and sat down but I woke up.
All that I can remember of this dream is that it probably took place during the day inside a house, I was standing up using a computer where I was trying to get and look at videos, and sometimes I would get interrupted; but that is all that I can remember of this dream.
This was a short but nice dream that was my favorite dream from last night, it took place during the day in a fictional place, and I remember leaving a cinema (movie theater) with the actress Tilda Swinton and an unknown boy with light-medium brownish colored skin with short hair who I was holding and maybe one of my brothers.
The cinema was next to a sidewalk in an area where you could walk around enjoying the outdoors and window shop at businesses, I remember the dream having a very positive feeling to it, and I remember being relaxed and wanting to talk about as many topics as I could with Mrs. Swinton.
We were having good conversations talking about various topics as we walked to find somewhere to eat and drink, it was nice outside and it did not seem that many people knew who Mrs. Swinton was so that was nice, and so we were not constantly getting interrupted.
I can not remember how we knew each other and how we ended up hanging out like this, it almost seemed like we were friends but I remember wanting to talk about as many topics as I could like I was not sure if I would get a chance to spend time with her again, and so maybe we were not friends but I am not sure.
Mrs. Swinton was wearing a nice somewhat laced(?) whitish colored dress that was good for the Spring or Summer weather and she had short yellowish colored hair, I remember us smiling and laughing and talking about various intellectual topics, and then we walked inside a small restaurant along one of the sidewalks not far from maybe the docks and water.
A woman with whitish colored skin with brownish colored hair working behind the counter looked at us as we entered with maybe a negative-neutral facial expression without saying anything as we sat down by the windows, but I woke up shortly after this as we were still talking.