I have been looking at Signal app from the sidelines because of interesting divergence from other mainstream applications. I am not an expert in encryption and it would be impossible for me to open up the debate between different schemes of encryption.
I remain steadfastly loyal to Telegram for a superior interactive platform that is unrivalled. Automation, groups, bots and the updated/refreshed UI has tons of features that make it a delight for the power user. It is unique. However, Signal represents a minimalistic UI that is heavily borrowed from WhatsApp. As it is run by a nonprofit without an overarching influence of a corporation, it is safe to recommend it to others.
I stumbled on this quote from 2018 and it set me thinking about how patients are using Facebook’s tools to interact and get together on the platform. However, it is fraught with extreme privacy risks and I don’t recommend it.
“In many ways Facebook is the Exxon of our time, it is this indispensable tool that is a part of everyone’s life that everyone also despises,” the Marlinspike explained.
“It doesn’t matter how many gallons of oil Exxon dumps in the ocean or how egregious Facebook’s policies are.”
At the same time, Marlinspike points out that it won’t be as easy as simply telling people to walk away from a platform that, for many, has become most if not all of their online activity.
I also use Threema (that is used and endorsed by the Swiss government) but has its own challenges- it is paid and the feature set rolls out slowly. Signal has seen a spike of activity and rapid development after it got funding from Brian Acton. I’d also recommend its video calling. I have been using Signal app in my department for remote verification and approval of treatment plans because of ongoing corona pandemic. It supports limited users in the groups (in contrast to thousands on Telegram) and one-to-one video calling alone.
While the encryption is not having a feature set for HIPAA compliance but with no metadata of the social graph and interactions and open source libraries for encryption, should be a good enough reason for the healthcare industry to accept it and take it forward. I would argue it for resource-constrained enterprises (it is free) and other public-private organisations compared to the paid alternatives.