Trying out Signal as a secure cross-platform messaging app...

I and a friend were recently trying out Signal as a secure cross-platform messaging app, something to use for group chats where not everyone is using iMessage. I had heard good things about it and this was largely born out in our trial. And yet…

Given that it is privacy conscious people who likely to be drawn to it, why does Signal insist on notifying other users who have you in their contacts list that you have joined and vice versa?

From their help page Does Signal send my number to my contacts?

Your phone now knows which of your contacts is a Signal user and notifies you if your contact just started using Signal.

While I can appreciate the security built into Signal, this does seem to be something of a misstep in terms of inspiring confidence.

And from the same page;

If someone knows how to send you an SMS, we want them to see that they can send you a Signal message instead.

Surely I, as the end user, should be given that choice? I can turn off notifications when my contacts join Signal but as far as I can see, I cannot stop others being notified about me.

My friend is very privacy conscious and this feature was a step too far for them. For me, it is probably not a deal breaker when push comes to shove, but as a matter of principal it seems strange to not give the user more options and control in this regard. Ho hum.

Stephen James

Minding the gaps

© Stephen James 2021

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