While WhatsApp clarified that they will "continue to protect private messages with end-to-end encryption," the damage has been done and a lot of people have already moved to other messaging apps. Telegram on January 12 acquired 25 million new users in just 72 hours with 38% coming from Asia. Signal saw a surge of 7.5 million installs globally from January 6 to 10, the highest in the app's history.
These secure messaging apps are known for their robust security and less controversial privacy policies:
Telegram, which was launched in 2013 by brothers Nikolai and Pavel Durov, claims that "making profits will never be an end-goal." The freeware, however, is set to introduce monetization in 2021 to pay for the continuous growth of its infrastructure and compensate developers. Pavel, in a post on December 23, also said that "we are not going to sell the company like the founders of WhatsApp."
With its not-for-profit stance, Telegram maintains two fundamental privacy principles, which are: "[They] don't use your data to show you ads." and "[They] only store the data that Telegram needs to function as a secure and feature-rich messaging service." Users are allowed to use a different screen name from their real name, set up a two-step verification, and all data is end-to-end encrypted. Storage is located in third-party provided data centers, but personal data is owned by Telegram. "All data is stored heavily encrypted so that local Telegram engineers or physical intruders cannot get access," their policy states.
Signal is powered by the open source Signal Protocol, which allows voice calls, video calls, and instant messaging conversation using an end-to-end encryption. It is developed by non-profit Signal Foundation and runs primarily on donations. Signal was first released in 2014, but wasn't widely used until 2019.
Wire was launched in 2014 by Switzerland-based Wire Swiss, which has many employees coming from Skype. It also uses end-to-end encryption for messages, images, files, and calls. And to take things further, each message has a new encryption key. The app implements the Proteus protocol, an encryption based on the Signal protocol.
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