Home GoAndroid Signal Updates Android App & Circumvents Censorship

Signal Updates Android App & Circumvents Censorship

Dec 23, 2016

When it comes to privacy and privacy advocates, Signal wants to be one of the most used apps out there for Android users. If you did not know about Signal, it is one of the most encrypted messaging apps out there and comes from Open Whisper Systems. In an attempt to become more main stream and gain more positive reviews from privacy advocates, the company ended up finding a way to circumvent state-sponsored censorship. Of course, we are not talking about censorship with the United States; we are talking about censorship in both the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.

Signal for Android Updates & Adds New Features

When it comes to Signal, the app added two new features in the latest Android update. One feature being that the app found a way to get around the state-sponsored censorship that is happening in both Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. The issue was that these countries were blocking the app from working all together, which would be in an effort to stop people from encrypting their data and communication.

The response to places like the United Arab Emirates and Egypt blocking the app was to simply build in a domain front. This would mean that the app is now disguised as another service all together. When someone sends Signal a message it will simply look like the traffic and regular HTTPS requests, and not look like the encrypted app service at all. This is a way to get around the censorship because no one knows that the app is working or active, and it is a good work around to the international censorship going on. This new update is only for Android right now, and it likely is not going to make those countries very happy. Open Whisper Systems said in a blog that when you go around disabling Signal, it really  makes it look like you are trying to disable the Internet all together, and the company is having none of that.

Some other updates are hitting the Signal Android app now too, including some more fun emojis and you can add stickers or doodles to your photos. This will make Signal a lot like Snapchat and Facebook, and it is a fun minor update when you think about the biggest new update hitting the Signal app. You also will be getting support for the video thumbnails and you can use down sampled GIFs for your MMS messages. Of course, there is also glitch and bug fixes with the Signal Android app update as well.

When it comes to Signal, it really is one of the biggest messaging apps out there that supports and uses encryption. In fact, American hero, Edward Snowden, has regularly been using Signal and is a big supporter of the app. Snowden has sent out Tweets about his love for the Signal app more than once. The app has many different privacy protections within it and comes from open source roots, and it is a great encryption app no matter how knowledgeable you are in the whole thing. One reason why it is good for beginners is that the app itself looks similar to your regular  Message app on your device, and it does not look weird or complicated when compared to other encryption messaging apps. You might have heard of Open Whisper Systems before because they are also part of Allo and WhatsApp, and the developers are all about privacy and making things more secret from people or entities like the government.

The most interesting part about Signal is that there has been a lot of growth and interest in the app since the election. Whether that was people worried about Hillary Clinton or people worried because Donald Trump has expressed displeasure for both Edward Snowden and mobile privacy, it is hard to tell. If you have heard Trump’s comments about Snowden before then it might have something to do with his beliefs Snowden should be executed. Trump also has come out against Apple when the company was fighting with the government about breaking into an iPhone of a terrorist. Then again, we also have seen what Wikileaks released about Clinton and the people in her campaign, so people just might not want their personal information or messages out there like Clinton was dealing with.

So, regardless of your political leanings, Signal is an app that Snowden has approved and personally uses, and that seems good enough for most privacy advocates out there who are looking for an encrypted messaging app. You can download the new version of Signal for Android now from Google Play or you can wait for the over-the-air update to hit your Android device.