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More data protection than WhatsApp? The messenger Signal and Telegram in comparison

2021-07-24T12:37:55.004Z

Many users are currently switching to the Signal or Telegram messenger services. Privacy advocates have a tip ready for users.



Many users are currently switching to the Signal or Telegram messenger services.

Privacy advocates have a tip ready for users.

Munich - The WhatsApp news service has around two billion users, around a quarter of the world's total population.

The messenger service recently updated its terms of use, and numerous users switched to Signal or Telegram.

Even rumors about a secret change in the group settings on WhatsApp made the rounds - and it was just misinformation.

Telegram and Signal are considered more secure when it comes to data protection.

Nevertheless, these messenger services also have numerous access rights on the smartphone.

Data protection at Signal, Telegram and WhatsApp

WhatsApp belongs to the parent company Facebook, which is known as the data octopus.

"If you don't have to pay anything for the product, you are the product," says the Netflix documentary "The Social Dilemma".

At the beginning of the year, the WhatsApp news service announced that it would also share the data with Facebook in the future.

Data protection activists asked the Irish data protection authority responsible for Facebook in Europe to examine this approach immediately.

"As part of the Facebook company, WhatsApp receives information from other Facebook companies and also shares information with other Facebook companies."

Terms of use WhatsApp

According to the

Business Insider

portal, WhatsApp knows a

lot about its users even if they are not using the app or have deleted it.

It is enough for friends, acquaintances or colleagues to use the app.

Telegram and Signal as alternatives to WhatsApp

Telegram is considered a better alternative to WhatsApp.

But privacy advocates are not enthusiastic.

Because this messenger service also stores copies of the chats on its servers.

End-to-end encryption only applies to so-called secret chats and is not set by default.

The source code is only partially visible.

Users simply have to believe the company when it promises that chats are encrypted on the servers.

Data protectionists also criticize the opaque company network behind Telegram.

Unlike WhatsApp, Signal is a non-profit foundation which, according to its own information, is not interested in user data.

Signal's message histories remain on the phone, not on the company's servers.

The company is so transparent that it makes its source code available on the GitHub platform.

The messages are end-to-end encrypted and can therefore not be viewed by the company itself.

This is called the zero knowledge principle.

Many privacy experts recommend the intelligence service, including whistleblower and privacy activist Edward Snowden.

Signal and telegram request this data

In order for the apps to work, Signal and Telegram also request certain data and access authorizations.

According to the "Inside Digital" portal, Telegram obtains the following authorizations for access to the smartphone:

  • Telegram can record sound through the smartphone's microphones.

    Technically, this works at any time, even when users are not currently using the app.

  • Telegram can use the smartphone's camera even without user confirmation

  • During phone calls, Telegram can read the phone numbers of the people called.

  • The messenger obtains the consent to be able to dial phone numbers without user intervention - this can theoretically lead to costs.

  • Telegram can read, change and even delete data from the shared memory.

  • Telegram knows the location of the person at all times.

According to the Inside Digital report, Signal has the following permissions:

  • Signal can use the smartphone's camera and take pictures and videos at any time and without the consent of the user.

  • Signal can add or change calendar appointments and send emails without the consent of the user.

  • The messenger can read, send and delete SMS.

  • Signal can record sound via the smartphone's microphones at any time, even when the app is not being used.

  • Signal knows when and with whom users are calling and can dial phone numbers without the consent of the user - which can lead to unforeseen costs.

  • The messenger can view all calendar appointments and save appointments.

There is an option to deny the messaging services access to the camera by default. This means that the apps have to ask every time they want to use the camera function. This at least ensures that users know how to use it. In general, users should be aware of their data not only with messenger services, but also in social media, because: "The Internet never forgets."

Source: merkur

All life articles on 2021-07-24

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