With all the talk of #Signal and #distributed #IM lately, I thought I'd go a step further: here's a roundup of secure off-the-grid messengers: changelog.complete.org/archive These all use strong #encryption, provide #privacy, and can be used without any Internet connection at all.

#briar is an interesting hybrid; while it uses #Bluetooth instead of longer-range #LoRa, it doesn't need any extra hardware and can route IMs over #Tor, #Bluetooth, or local #Wifi (even w/o Internet). @briar


@jgoerzen @briar

one of the biggest challenges is not you (general "you" here for us techies), the techie, privacy-oriented guru. It is your family, relatives, friends, people you need communications with and all they know is how to turn on their iPhones.

I know I'm not bringing up anything new here, but I think we need to keep remembering to focus on this... somehow.

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@jrss @briar You are absolutely right. It's why, despite the legit flaws people point out, I still suggest #Signal to people. Unlike #Matrix/#Element, there is no un-encrypted mode. It has secured voice and video calls. Elon Musk aside, it is reliable and works where people expect it to.

I'm excited about possibilities of these systems. None of them are ready to knock off Signal yet, but there is plenty of room for them to grow in that direction in the future.

@jrss @briar And some of them are extremely useful for situations where NONE of the traditional messengers work: where there's no Internet. I understand that is a niche use case in the industrialized West, but still it has its uses.


Actually John, on Android, Signal gives you the option of making it your default SMS client, which is an unencrypted mode.

After about five years, I'm still a big fan of matrix, having embraced it's bridging capabilities with unencrypted platforms, that just makes it a dream for me and staff to communicate, and/or provide technical support in several different forums that customers and others might have adopted for themselves, without pressuring them to adopt/install yet another IM that a provider uses wrt their support channels. i.e., One can bridge Discord, Gitter, IRC, Slack and others into a single (unencrypted) room and service all of those users through their various communications avenues from a single point of consolidated contact.

I've been using Signal for a longtime, and it's not without its glitches, and that's okay, but exposing a DID and the problem of using it on more than one mobile device with different DIDs relegates it to a secondary fallback for me, and typically only for use with people that already have my direct contact information (phone number).

That means, pretty much friends and family only - not many business associates, and certainly not the majority of customers or others.

The DID exposure requirement to me, where Signal is concerned, is a big gaping privacy breech that I'm just not comfortable with, and with respect to say, a role account for an organizations technical support team, makes it a non starter for that because you can't even just have a shift replacement employee log into the account and take over support requests from their own device.

I realize that the tech support scenario is a niche case, but not withstanding my other observations, The DID exposure requirement. relegates Signal to the, "Okay if that's all you've got coz you already already know my phone number anyway" camp.

On the plus side, Signal can easily be installed on an Android device and verified with any VoIP number you can quickly pick up for a dollar a month (or even free, as long as you keep it activated, so it's not configured for Signal on another device).


@briar @jrss

@tallship @briar @jrss Being on a 500-char-limit instance, I had to make a thread of a reply, which is here: floss.social/web/statuses/1055 Thank you for the conversation!

@jgoerzen @jrss @briar

Well then!

I just finished reading the entire thread you posted - agitating one of my pet peeves of 'some' of the 'microblogging' services in the Fediverse - the impetus for me setting my char limit to 9666 for my users ;)

Anyway, I basically just reiterated much of what you posted in your multi-part thread (some clients will allow longer posts and break them into separate toots automatically).

I can say I pretty much agree with the majority of what you said, and in particular this portion which I quote below, as a technologist, is certainly NOT something that I can dispute:

" If you are going to tell someone "it's so EASY to get your texts away from Facebook and AT&T", THIS IS THE THING you've got to point them to. It may not be in 2 years, but for now, it is. Do not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. It advances the status quo without harming usability, which nothing else does yet."

Where Matrix is concerned, I do tend to avoid discussions surrounding "onboarding" :)

Great post(s), by the way, and thanks for that drill down :)

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