ProtonMail Compares Seven Encrypted WhatsApp Alternatives

WhatsApp may use end-to-end encryption, but that does not detract from the fact that Facebook can still abuse the metadata, according to encrypted email service ProtonMail. Facebook can see who is communicating with whom, when, from where, at what time, how often and from what device.

Reason for ProtonMail to make an overview of the "best WhatsApp alternatives" that apply or support end-to-end encryption and are open source. The chat apps were assessed for being able to register anonymously, logging metadata, who manages the servers, end-to-end encrypted video, jurisdiction and whether the app's audit is public.

Of the seven apps; Signal, Telegram, Threema, Wick Me, Wire, Element and Keybase, no app scores on all counts. Element and Threema score the most green check marks. Telegram gets the fewest check marks. The only pluses are that the app is completely open source and the app's audit has been made public. When it comes to an alternative to WhatsApp, Signal from ProtonMail is the preferred choice.

"Signal is a clear choice. The security concerns surrounding Telegram make it more difficult to recommend as a general chat app, although the" channels "feature is a powerful means of organizing resistance in repressive countries," said Douglas Crawford of ProtonMail. "Everything you do to properly encrypt your personal data is an important step towards an internet where people come first."

It is striking that it is stated here that Element, or proprietary Matrix protocol, has support for E3EE group video. To my knowledge, the group video relies on Jitsi, where E2EE is still in beta and only works in Chrome. Not quite E2EE (yet).

Furthermore, it is right that Telegram does not have a check mark at E2EE, which remains a common misconception among Telegram fans. Even the MSM refers to Telegram as 'encrypted chat service' these days, against better judgment.

In addition, it is noteworthy that Signal is marked as 'Fully open source'. The server code is not open source, but follows the 'open dump' model.  

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