November 26, 2020

Online Privacy: “Which Messaging Technologies Are Truly Safe and Secure?” (New Report)

A new report released today by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

From the EFF:

In the face of widespread Internet data collection and surveillance, we need a secure and practical means of talking to each other from our phones and computers. Many companies offer “secure messaging” products – but how can users know if these systems actually secure? The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) released its Secure Messaging Scorecard today, evaluating dozens of messaging technologies on a range of security best practices.

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The scorecard includes more than three dozen tools, including chat clients, text messaging apps, email applications, and technologies for voice and video calls. EFF examined them on seven factors, like whether the message is encrypted both in-transit and at the provider level, and if the code is audited and open to independent review.

Six of these tools scored all seven stars, including ChatSecure, CryptoCat, Signal/Redphone, Silent Phone, Silent Text, and TextSecure. Apple’s iMessage and FaceTime products stood out as the best of the mass-market options, although neither currently provides complete protection against sophisticated, targeted forms of surveillance.

Many options—including Google, Facebook, and Apple’s email products, Yahoo’s web and mobile chat, Secret, and WhatsApp—lack the end-to-end encryption that is necessary to protect against disclosure by the service provider. Several major messaging platforms, like QQ, Mxit, and the desktop version of Yahoo Messenger, have no encryption at all.

Direct to Complete Report

Direct to Report Methodology

See Also: Privacy Tools: The Best Encrypted Messaging Programs (via ProPublica)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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