How to chat and send messages in private

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It would be like sending a letter or a parcel, where the post delivery service (or customs) could look inside and see what you sent. Actually several hundred years ago in Denmark, the Kings postman was obligated to open a letter if he believed it held information that was of interest for the kingdoms wellbeing.

Some services actively prevent you from chatting in private – when you agree to Facebook’s (and their products Messenger and What’s App) terms of service, you give Facebook permission to read and reuse any data you transmit over their service. That’d be like the postal workers taking a copy of what you sent, and using it to send you targeting advertising.

Some of the features you should look for is

  • End-to-end encryption
  • Chat and send messages to other users or groups in private.
  • Send files securely.
  • Make secure voice and video calls or send voice or video messages
  • Convenience features like emojis, formatting, drawing etc.
  • Supported platforms and devices

Video reviews of

Privacy comparison of chat and messaging apps

SignalWireSkypeWhatsAppFacebook MessengerSnapChatTelegram
Encrypted during transmissionYesYesYesYesOptionalYesYes
Encrypted so the provider can’t read itYesYesNoYesNoNoOptional
Verify contact identitiesYesYesNoNoNoNoNo
Collects and stores metadataMinimalMinimalYesYesYesYesYes
Encrypts metadataYesMostlyNoNoNoNoNo
Share data with third parties like advertisers.NoNoYesYesYesYesNo
Chat history secure if password stolen (not device stolen)YesYesNoYesNoNoYes
Stored chat history with the provider or in the cloudNoNoYesNoYesYesYes
Open sourceYesYesNoNoNoNoPartial
Peer reviewedYesYesNoNoNoNoYes
Recently auditedYesYesNoNoNoYesYes
Based in the EUNoYesNoNoNoNoNo
Note: The data above is primarily based on the individual privacy policies of the companies who provide the programs, with additional information from independent reviews, such as this secure messaging apps comparison and the EFF's scorecard. The data was last checked in February 2018.

Privacy comparison of chat and messaging apps

SignalWireSkypeWhatsAppFacebook MessengerSnapChatTelegram
Encrypted during transmissionYesYesYesYesOptionalYesYes
Encrypted so the provider can’t read itYesYesNoYesNoNoOptional
Verify contact identitiesYesYesNoNoNoNoNo
Collects and stores metadataMinimalMinimalYesYesYesYesYes
Encrypts metadataYesMostlyNoNoNoNoNo
Share data with third parties like advertisers.NoNoYesYesYesYesNo
Chat history secure if password stolen (not device stolen)YesYesNoYesNoNoYes
Stored chat history with the provider or in the cloudNoNoYesNoYesYesYes
Open sourceYesYesNoNoNoNoPartial
Peer reviewedYesYesNoNoNoNoYes
Recently auditedYesYesNoNoNoYesYes
Based in the EUNoYesNoNoNoNoNo
Note: The data above is primarily based on the individual privacy policies of the companies who provide the programs, with additional information from independent reviews, such as this secure messaging apps comparison and the EFF's scorecard. The data was last checked in February 2018.

More sources about private messaging

An explanation of what encrypted messaging is and why you should use it by pixelprivacy.com

By Brian Schildt - Privacy advocate at Findx

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