Signal is having a moment.
The pandemic drove unprecedented sign-ups on the encrypted messaging app, as people started communicating more online. Then, nationwide protests over police brutality prompted another round of records. Signal saw about one million downloads world-wide in May, according to analytics firm App Annie.
Protesters have flocked to the app. Even though people who organize and participate in protests are protected by the First Amendment, they often seek secure communication, out of caution. And if they do get into legal trouble, Signal is designed to limit the information the messaging service can give to the authorities.
That is what initially attracted privacy die-hards to Signal. In a 2015 talk, the app’s creator, Moxie Marlinspike, declared, “Privacy is at an all-time low, and surveillance is at an all-time high.” Signal was intended as the antidote.
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