We can’t use Signal for messaging, but we’d like to

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We’d love to use the Signal messaging app. It’s very secure without going to extremes and it’s free.  So why doesn’t it get used at Office-Watch.com?

Simple – there’s no file transfer feature.   You can exchange texts and make phone calls but that’s it.

Even WhatsApp now lets you transfer documents, with reasonable security, between two devices. WhatsApp’s lack of privacy makes it unsuitable in our view despite its increasing popularity.

Brian X. Chen in The New York Times explains why Signal is a better choice than WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or Google Allo.

Unfortunately, Mr Chen overlooks the one feature we at Office-Watch.com need – the ability to securely and privately send files, like Office document, between people.  Signal doesn’t have file transfer and desperately need it.

There’s Security and then there’s Privacy

All those other products now use Signal’s core encryption system (which is open source) but that doesn’t mean they have the same level of privacy.

WhatsApp boasts about their ‘end to end encryption’ but the company does keeps a record of who, when and where all messages are sent.  It’s the equivalent of the phone company logs of who you call, for how long and where you were when the call was made.  All that information is available to governments, with or without a court order.

Signal only records when you last logged into their system and when you first joined the service.  If a government agency demands information from Signal, they won’t get much.

That’s the way it should be.  All communications companies (we’re looking at you Microsoft) should be aiming to store as little as possible about each customer. That reduces what can be disclosed either by government order or hacking.  Unfortunately, Microsoft, Google and others are about collecting as much as they can from customers, not the reverse.

(Office Watch practices what it preaches. We store as little info as possible, usually just name and email address.  That even applies to ebook customers; we do not store physical addresses, phone or credit card details.)

Please, please, please Whisper Systems, give us file transfers in the Signal apps.

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