[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Is Telegram or Signal acceptable for harm reduction?

From: Jorge P. de Morais Neto
Subject: Is Telegram or Signal acceptable for harm reduction?
Date: Wed, 04 Aug 2021 20:30:45 -0300

Hi.  Sometime ago I submit to a proprietary instant messenger for a work
chat room.  I want to get rid of it ASAP.

As I had it installed and active on my smartphone (for the work room), I
ended up joining three other chat rooms about civil service public
exams.  These three are big, so I have no hope of convincing everyone to
switch to an ethical network.  I then intend to join these rooms from my
wife’s account, on her smartphone, which I would consult weekly for new
chat messages¹.  The other room (the work one) has only seven members
(including me), so I hope to convince them to switch to a better
platform.  If they don’t want to switch, then I’ll ask them to forward
me the rare important messages via an ethical technology like SMS or

Now, what if my six work colleagues accept switching to another chat
network but refuse both XMPP and Matrix because "no one uses that",
accepting only Telegram or Signal?  I do currently have Telegram and
Signal accounts, but I worry about their ethics.

Telegram /does/ have free clients on GNU Guix and PureOS repositories,
which is great, but it is a centralized network, the server code is
hidden, and it doesn’t even have end-to-end encryption!  So is it a real
improvement over the fully proprietary---but allegedly end-to-end
encrypted---status quo?

What about Signal?  Compared to Telegram, it has the big advantage of
end-to-end encryption, but the disadvantage of obstructing the
distribution of modified versions of its client; it is not even
available on F-Droid, Guix or Debian (let alone PureOS).

So, should I insist on a really ethical network---XMPP or maybe
Matrix---despite the big likelihood that they will refuse, or should I
swallow Telegram or Signal?


¹ You may wonder what is the point of refusing to use the proprietary
application on my smartphone, but still using it on my wife’s
smartphone.  It is clearly still not ideal, but it does have significant

1. I would not be discoverable in the network, so people who want to
   reach me (outside those three remaining rooms) would send an email or
   SMS instead.
2. I would be able to delete my account, thus reducing the unethical
   network’s market value.
3. The surveillance AI would be confused with two people using the same
4. I would be less tempted to join other rooms in the unethical network.


- Disinformation flourishes because many people care about injustice
  but very few check the facts.  Ask me about <>
- I am Brazilian.  I hope my English is correct and I welcome feedback.
- Free Software Supporter:
- If an email of mine arrives at your spam box, please notify me.

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]