Comparing Chat Applications Encryption and Safe Usage

Mobile instant messaging (IM) applications are trendsetters in the business industry nowadays. WhatsApp, Messenger, and Telegram, to name a few IM apps, allow companies, employees, and customers to communicate through text, voice call, and video call, therefore, providing convenience. Thus, they enable a user-friendly interaction between providers and consumers.

However, with such beneficial features that IM apps can provide comes privacy. Users wouldn’t want their personal information to be leaked nor monitored by strangers. Nevertheless, IM providers should protect the identity of their consumers, as it builds trust between themand abides by the prevailing laws and regulations about text messaging compliance.

Given such circumstances, most IM apps adopted and practice end-to-end encryption. The said approach transmits messages between the sender and receiver only without any foreign intervention. Said to be the gold standard for assuring data privacy protection for users, the two parties involved in the communication process can only see the chats they compose and send.

Facebook-owned WhatsApp and Messenger both use end-to-end encryption to secure data. However, for Messenger, users can only send end-to-end encrypted messages by turning on their Secret Conversations.Both IM apps don’t encrypt your conversations’ metadata which means Facebook can see your messages. They also collect user data while their application code isn’t open for public viewing. Yet, WhatsApp and Messenger present transparency reports about the data they gathered from you. 

The Russian-made Telegram doesn’t offer end-to-end encrypted messages for both sender and receiver by default. Users should turn on the Start Secret Chat button if they wish to use the feature. Like the Facebook-run IM apps, the user’s conversation isn’t encrypted as well and therefore, making it visible to the provider. Aside from gathering basic app info from users, consumers can’t expect a transparency report with their server’s application code unavailable.

WeChat, China’s version of WhatsApp and ran by Tencent, due to the Chinese government’s strict regulations, has no end-to-end encryption for both conversations and metadata. The company can see the messages and collect user data at the same time. It also doesn’t provide transparency reports, and the application code isn’t open for public scrutiny.

Despite being the youngest in the competition, Signal’s data security can be unrivaled by its peers. Supervised by the Signal Technology Foundation, this IM app’s transparency and security are topnotch as it offers end-to-end encryption for both the user’s conversations and metadata. As a non-profit organization, it doesn’t collect user info while its application code is open to the public.

Indeed, Signal provides unparalleled privacy and transparency measures, but it doesn’t mean the other apps aren’t good enough in protecting users’ data. Consumers must learn how IM apps work to apply the best practices to defend themselves from foreign interventions. For instance, businesses also invest in mobile messaging archives such as WhatsApp call monitoring and WhatsApp recording to secure information.

To know more, refer to this infographicby TeleMessage.

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