Privacy Insight: Whatsapp Vs Signal Vs Telegram

Earlier the comparison between the apps was based purely on the features they provide but now people are more concerned about their data
Privacy Insight: Whatsapp Vs Signal Vs Telegram
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The most popular social messaging app—WhatsApp, owned by Facebook—has been in the market for more than a decade. However, its latest privacy policy update has created controversies that many people across the globe started switching to other platforms. In this regard, WhatsApp postponed its option to accept its new privacy terms till May 2021.

People today have become more conscious and aware of how their data is being used. Earlier the comparison between the apps was based purely on the features they provide but now people are more concerned about their data. There has been an uproar in the digital world and everyone is looking for better options; Telegram and Signal said to be safe when it comes to data privacy.

Every app has their own ways to use and share users’ data. Here’s what you need to know to make an informed decision.

Are the conversations which I do with a person or in group private?

Whatsapp: By default, uses open source signal protocol for end-end encryption in personal as well as group chats. In simple words it means only sender and receiver can read the messages exchanged.


Anomaly:
a) Whatsapp private group chat links appeared in Google search, giving the room for anyone to join the group, check participants and their phone numbers.

b) If a user is communicating with a business account, these chats are visible to a lot more people in business. These messages of yours might be read and stored by third-party service providers (like Facebook who are offering hosting services to businesses) to generate purchase receipts or for analysis or for future marketing.

As an example, If you book a flight via EaseMyTrip and while booking if you select the option to send details on Whatsapp then third-party service providers like Facebook who are offering hosting services to business might start showing you ads around the same on social networks.

Signal: By default, uses open source signal protocol for end-end encryption in personal as well as group chats. In simple words, it means only sender and receiver can read the messages exchanged.

There are no anomalies as app doesn’t have focus on incentivization so no option of business accounts or related models.

Telegram: By default, the chats are not end-end encrypted and Telegram saves your conversations over their local cloud in encrypted format. This means if Telegram wants, they could read your chats.

One needs to enable an option of ‘secret chats’ to ensure that conversations are end-end encrypted. Telegram uses MTProto protocol to encrypt them.

Anomaly:
a) ‘Secret chats’ option encrypts only one-one chat conversations not the group chats. In simple terms, group chats are not safe.
b) Telegram desktop client doesn’t support end-end encryption on any platform other than macOS.

Based on the above facts, Signal clearly stands out.

If One-One conversations are safe in all the three mobile apps, anything else to worry about?

Whatsapp:
a) Stores phone numbers and other information such as name; user’s phone make, model and mobile company; IP addresses; group details; status; sender as well as receiver details, etc.

This information is enough to figure out who is associated with whom across the globe.

b) Chats backup stored on cloud services like Google Drive, ICloud, etc., are not encrypted. Phone backup is encrypted though.

This means anyone having access to your backup cloud account could read the messages.

Signal:
a) Stores only your phone number. Nothing else.

It has also rolled out ‘sealed sender’feature where for delivering a message, Signal just gets to know the receiver details.

This ensures that Signal has no information whom you are interacting with.

b) No option of cloud backup. All chats are stored on your device only in encrypted format.

Telegram:
a) Stores phone number, user ID and contacts, sender and receiver details, etc.

This information is enough to figure out who is associated with whom across the globe.

b) All conversations are stored on Telegram server in encrypted format.

Telegram could peep into your chats any time.

Conclusion
If privacy is the only concern one has, then Signal is the only app for them.

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