I just today set up a matrix (synapse) server for my friends and family and am working with a few friends to do the same so we can federate. the vast majority of those I care about are either queer or PoC, and I don’t even fully trust that signal won’t get an NSL in the next 4 years and be coerced to backdoor, so decentralised is the way to go.
If you’re worried about centralization, you might as well just use tox with them. It’s p2p, doesn’t get more decentralized than that.
Thus painting a target on more people’s backs for Trump’s version of mass surveillance and preempive response to suspicious activity. His Precrime Unit is said to be very interested in people using encrypted calls or messaging. This started when NSA, CIA, DIA, DHS, and FBI all told him it was instrumental to several terrorist attacks. Has to be true if from five, different sources.
Yes, which is why it’s important that my mom talks to me using Signal. The idea is that encryption should be so ubiquitous that you can’t assume anything about people who use it. Five years ago full disk encryption (FDE) was something to be curious about if a layman used it. Now, thanks in no small part to Apple, everyone uses it on both their smartphones and laptops. That’s excellent and that’s the end goal of “Use Signal. Use Tor.”
This is one of those nice times in history when corporations' and little people’s interests align against the government. Facebook isn’t using the Signal protocol on WhatsApp and Messenger for nothing.
That’s not quite true. People using Apple blend into the crowd because tons of harmless people have them. Whereas, Signal says you’re one of a small percentage putting in extra effort for secrecy. Your Mom using it with you is possibly meaningless if the masses don’t adopt it. Masses rarely adopt anything truly secure. So, that possibility will likely fail as it has for decades straight.
Note: Your claim also assumes Apple hasnt been subverted. We Americans have no way of confirming that in a pseudo-police state where FISA or FBI might compell backdoors in secret. See Lavabit court docs or Sentry Eagle leaks for how screwed up that can be.
Your Mom using it with you is possibly meaningless if the masses don’t adopt it.
This is circular reasoning; the masses shouldn’t use Signal because the masses don’t use Signal.
Although you do have a point. I wonder if Signal could do something to make it less obvious that it’s being used, since their server is hosted on AWS, maybe they could use domain fronting to make Signal messages look like ordinary TLS requests to Amazon. Would probably still be detectable from the size of requests and responses though, but those could be padded. edit: Signal would also have to accept the CA-signed certificate for amazon.com, rather than Whisper Systems' self-signed one, so this probably not a good idea.
It’s certainly not. The masses consistently reject doing extra work or stepping away from fads to use secure messaging. This includes Signal with its tiny uptake vs surveillance engines like Facebook Messenger. What someone’s Mom does is an anecdote that in no way counters the empirical evidence that vast majority will not do what you hope. People using encryption will continue to stand out unless oligopolies behind most popular OS’s and apps make it all encrypted by default in decentralized, inspectable fashion so they can’t be subverted by host country.
Apple is an example of a trend-setting company with huge market share that did increase the deployment of encryption so it looks normal. However, they’re keeping the keys themselves in a mix of environments of unknown security in a country that might compel them being shared. One set is stored in a HSM that probably comes from a defense contractor with custom software controlled by Apple. Situation is overall great improvement against passive eavesdroppers and black hats but unknown against high-strength attackers (esp domestic).
“maybe they could use domain fronting to make Signal messages look like ordinary TLS requests to Amazon”
I consistently encourage use of spoofed HTTPS/TLS connections to hide covert communication. Blends in with the crowd. Good thing to explore in any form. High-assurance, secure messaging from military and TCSEC Red Book both advocated fixed-size, fixed-rate transmission to eliminate covert channels at transport layer. Likewise, we must use padding and timing when spoofing TLS. The thing that concerns me is we might have to give up one’s security to get others deniability or run a hybrid with further performance penalty. If you just want anonymity & baseline privacy, then you can go without the fixed-rate, fixed-speed requirement as black hats and regular criminals rarely do attacks with covert channels. If against high-strength attackers, must do both or just avoid computers. :)