> Signal only ever asks you for your phone number

... which in most cases would allows any compromised account to be traced back to a human user. Signal claim they need your cell number to prevent spam, which is garbage, since both Wire and Riot provide encrypted chat without asking for one, and don't have noticable spam problems.

> Activists and journalists use Signal

... maybe, but Moxie has specifically said this is a bad idea, since Signal is intended to protect Jane Average from mass surveillance, not people likely to be the subject of targeted surveillance.

> Edward Snowden is a major advocate and he should know as his life has depended on it.

He has said he uses it, but I don't think his life ever depended on it. Signal has only existed since 2014. Snowden arrange the NSA leaks in 2013 using Tails GNU/Linux, PGP, and Tor, not Signal:


Thanks for all these toots. I wrote this post as best I could, and I can that clearly you don't agree with any of it. That's fine, but I think there are ways of getting that point across in a better way. You've quoted what 7, 8 different bits and then basically ripped it apart. There is a human being on the end of the toots. I did my best and used up a reasonable amount of the little time I do have to write it.


It wasn't intended for fediverse people but for the loads of people I know who use WhatsApp and would imo be better off using Signal. The transition from WhatsApp to Signal would be relatively painless and could happen straight away. I'm aware that Signal is not perfect, and I don't claim it is or that it is the best option for everyone. However, if a large % or 1.3 billion WhatsApp users moved to Signal instead then I still think that represents progress. I still think that.


Your series of highly critical toots come across to me as condescending and unnecessarily brutal. This seems to me not in the spirit of all the other interactions I've had on the fediverse to date. With what's happening in the world we should be making extra effort to be nicer to each other.

@jamesmullarkey I'm sorry you feel that way. I accept that my critical feedback might have been easier to read if I'd begun by summarizing the bits I agree with. Eg Signal's full code being available under a free license is an improvement over both WhatSapp and Telegram.

@jamesmullarkey But say you saw someone post a link recommending people move from Edge to Chrome. I imagine you'd disagree with that and want to explain why. That's all I did. I just checked and there are no personal attacks in any of my posts. My posts addressed the issues as I see them.

@jamesmullarkey I note that you haven't actually disagreed with any of my points other than the location sharing, which I accept was out-of-date. But it does point to the Moxie's tendancy to code in dependencies on Goggle, including the GPS dependent push notifications, and his utter refusal to allow independent builds of Signal to be distributed, eg through F-Droid, forcing users to use his builds from the Prey Store or the carefully obscured GAPPS-free version on the Signal site.


I have had many interactions with people about browsers but no I wouldn't pick through every paragraph someone wrote and sytematically trash it as it's not a good way to persuade people round to my way of thinking and if they are writing about how much they love Edge or whatever they are unlikely to ever come around to my way of thnking anyway. So no I would never do that thanks.


You literally pulled something out of every single paragraph, quoted it and said it was crap. It's very difficult not to take that personally. I've been blogging for almost 20 years and much of my posts haven't aged well but I've never experienced anything like this before. It's not since I had a pretty sadistic teacher back when I was about 12 did something I write get taken apart like this.

> said it was crap

I said no such thing. I said why I disagreed with it. Nothing more. Those looking to take offence will always find it, I guess. But there's something about boosters that seem to make them particularly sensitive to criticism and prone to respond with a bunch of fallacies (in this case a combo of special pleading and tu quoque). I wonder why that is?


I do actually disagree with most of your points - you shouldn't take my silence as agreement. You don't seem to appreciate, you made so many that it's hard to have the time to answer them.


Snowden has said that he has only recently stopped fearing retribution and the current US administration have said they would look for the death penalty if he was brought home. A whisteblowing spy will be looking over their shoulder for the rest of their days. He uses Signal every day. I linked these things together, I think not unreasonably. This is widely documented so I don't feel the need to provide links.

> A whisteblowing spy will be looking over their shoulder for the rest of their days. He uses Signal every day. I linked these things together

He also wears pants everyday. Does that mean his life depends on pants? If he was able to leak NSA documents before Signal even existed, why would he need it for information security now?


Phone number - it's not ideal that Signal uses the number and I am aware other software doesn't. As I said I use Riot and Jami a fair bit. I was making a comparison between the meta capture of WhatsApp and Signal.


Activits/jorunalists do i use it as I know people in both groups that do and use it in their work rightly or wrongly. I've not even mentioned the rights and wrongs of that but OK.

Links - two seem to be from now defunct websites and I'm not looking to cover every possible part of the debate in one post as it would be incredibly long.


Anyway, you've made me not want to come on here anymore for fear anything I say it going to get shot to pieces with a rally of toots of things you think I should have 'done better'. I'd ask you nicely to leave me alone from now on.

> I'd ask you nicely to leave me alone from now on.

Noted. I'm sorry this exchange has been difficult for you. Full disclose, I've responded to your last round of posts for the record, but as per your request, I haven't tagged you in those posts. If and when you're interested in discussing the issues with Signal dispassionately, you can easily find them.

@cowanon has been muted for being abusive. James' contributions to the discussion, defensive as they were, are infinitely more useful than yours.

> I'm not looking to cover every possible part of the debate in one post as it would be incredibly long.

You've not included no reference to legitimate criticisms of Signal at all, and leaped to "how dare you" guilt-tripping when some is raised. There's a word for that; propaganda.

Uncritical Signal boosting is irresponsible and dangerous. I can't put it better than @sir :

"If you make broad and inaccurate statements about your communications product being “secure”, then when the political prisoners who believed you are being tortured and hanged, it’s on you."

I got involved with free code software through my work with groups doing NVDA (Non-Violent Direct Action) starting in the late 1990s, including campaigns against native forest logging, GMOs, coal mining, factory farming, mega-dumps, vivisection, road building, etc. Our decisions about communication security determined whether our actions succeeded, and in some cases, whether our people would end up in jail. It's utterly irresponsible to give security advice and refuse to take criticism on it.

> it's not ideal that Signal uses the number and I am aware other software doesn't.

It's not just "not ideal", it means the claim of not collecting metadata is a total lie. A cell phone number is the ultimate bit of metadata!

> I was making a comparison between the meta capture of WhatsApp and Signal.

The central claim is that Signal is better than WhatSapp. Both require a phone number to create an account. So on this point, Signal isn't better.

@jamesmullarkey > Signal will let you video chat with only one person – you can talk to several people at once with WhatsApp.

... or with the Jitsi Meet integration in Riot. Or with Jami, a P2P chat app in which the voice/ video conferencing currently works better than text chat (no group text chat yet).

> WhatsApp touts the ability to share your location with people as not only a feature but sensible and worthwhile.

Signal does this too, at least on Android, with dependencies on GoggleMaps that make it difficult to use with free code navigation apps:

> You should use Signal and encourage everyone you know to use it instead of WhatsApp. Simple as.

Yeah, nah.


I have Signal for Android, iOs and desktop and can find no mention of location sharing on any of those or their website - that git hub link is 4 years old so perhaps they pulled that feature?

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