Why am I moving to Signal?

I am moving to Signal, and so should you. Here’s why…

I am moving to Signal, and so should you. Here’s why…

What’s up with the fuss?

In a new update to its Terms & conditions, and Privacy policy, the popular messaging giant WhatsApp is forcing users to share personal data with Facebook, (it’s parent company). The implications are worth writing pages of reports, and yes, there are countless of those on the web. Here I’d like to summarize my take on why I (as well as you should) care about privacy.

My reasons to care about digital privacy:

  1. My private conversations are MY PRIVATE CONVERSATIONS! Why should they be monetized by a third party? And that too when they aren’t even giving me a cut 😉.

  2. Privacy isn’t about “hiding something”, it is about protecting the intimate & sensitive parts of your life. What movies you watch and what brand of undergarments you wear, shouldn’t be any targeted-advertising company’s business.

  3. Facebook has enormous amounts of information on you. Don’t spoonfeed them more of your personal and private information.

A summary of the personal data these two messaging apps collect from you.

A summary of the personal data these two messaging apps collect from you.

What is objectively wrong with WhatsApp?

WhatsApp collects EVERYTHING about you it can potentially squeeze out of your devices. Signal, on the other hand only asks for your contact information. Your phone number is used as your user ID, and your contacts are used to, well, to connect you to your contacts! And this is where Signal’s similarity ends with WhatsApp.

If you have a device running iOS 14.3 or above, you can now check it out first hand by scrolling down to either of these app’s “App privacy" section in the App Store (with iOS 14.3 you can now check that for any app). But for those unable to check here are the details I found from App Store (information accurate on 9th January, 2021).

This information is used to build a profile about you to target advertisements, influence your political inclination during elections, mold your idealogies and alter your perception of the world, just to name a few. By being a participant in Facebook’s endevors you are facilitating some entity to “get inside your head”, without ever even getting inside your head in the literal sense; i.e. you aren’t even aware that this is happening.

If you think along the lines of " I’m strong! I’m not falling for these advertisements!", I hope you’ll re-evaluate your stance after realizing that it isn’t just for kicks-and-giggles that digital advertising is a multi-billion dollar industry.

Still not convinced, let’s put on our thinking hats, shall we:

For people with the narrative “You want privacy because you definitely have something to hide, you terrorrist / theif / miscreant / traitor / [insert other colorful adjectives here]”:

Would you hand over to me (and to the world-wide-web) the following?:

  1. Your entire search and browsing history?

  2. Your netbank credentials and your credit card details?

  3. Your medical records?

P.S. Did you even read my reason #2 to care about privacy written above??

And for people who’re still thinking to answer:

“Big whopp! Have at it fella, I have nothing to hide”.

I’d like you to take a moment and contemplate:

  1. When you’re home, why do you leave the door to your home locked?

  2. Everyone on planet Earth defacates; yet, like everyone else, you prefer to do your business behind a closed door, why?

It is not without reason why Right to Privacy is being demanded as a fundamental right in democracies across the world. European Union has strong laws which are pro-Privacy, e.g. GDPR, etc. But it is in our, the consumers’, hands to take actions in our personal lives that mitigate the sinister efforts of these targeted advertising & profiling companies.