Signal: Privacy Payments To Counter Surveillance

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(Edited)

The messenger application Signal is making some major strides. Since its introduction, it is showing its mettle in the privacy world.

Unlike most messengers, Signal stores no data on its users. All conversations are private. It even has a built in feature whereby the chats can automatically delete from the phones.

This is unheard of. In fact, it was tested by the courts. They wanted to get the user records and communications. As we know, governments believe they have a right to know everything.

When Signal received these responses, it was always the same:

Signal—the private, end-to-end encrypted messaging app that surged in popularity in recent months—once again reminded criminal investigators that it could not fully comply with a legal request for user records and communications because of what it asserts as a simple, unchanging fact: The records do not exist on Signal’s servers.

It goes on to respond:

“The only information Signal maintains that is responsive to the subpoena’s inquiries about particular user accounts is the time of account creation and the time of the account’s last connection to Signal servers,” wrote ACLU attorneys Brett Kauffman and Jennifer Granick. Kauffman and Granick also addressed some of the US Attorney’s Office’s questions about the physical locations of Signal’s servers and whether the technical processes of account creation and communication for Signal users in California ever leave the state of California itself.

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So basically the company only knows when the account was created and the user last logged in. Outside of that, it has no information. We can see why the governments will find this mind-boggling and not believe it. However, this is something that is beneficial in the tug-o-war over privacy.

This, of course, sets the platform for something much larger.

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Surveillance

Many of us are aware that the reason behind Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) is surveillance and control. The governments of the world are not really interested in a more efficient payment system. In fact, if that was the focus, they could simply add more technology to what is in place.

Instead, CBDCs will allow politicians and bureaucrats to monitor all that takes place, without a court order. They can also stop any transaction they want. We could also see things taken to another level since they could simply program limitations in as they see fit.

None of this is of benefit to the general public. It is, however, a major boost to government control.

At the same time, we also live under surveillance capitalism. It is no secret that technology and financial companies monitor all that takes place on their platforms. We also are aware that all the data that is collected is assembled and sold. The biggest reason for purchase is obviously advertising. Having this data allows for target marketing.

Companies like Facebook and Google are known for this. However, we cannot overlook entities such as Visa and the banking system that engage in the same behavior. While it might not be to the same degree, this is another situation that shows how we have no control over the digital footprint we are creating. Finally, these companies use this to market their own products to us.

It seems that for the all hype about advancements in Artificial Intelligence led to the main use case of trying to sell us more stuff.

Private Payments

Could the establishment of private payment systems help to counter this? It is a concept that Signal appears to be trying to implement.

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It appears that Signal started a beta program testing out mobile payments back in April. This was expanded to a few other countries in September. Nevertheless, it does seem that it is still rather limited.

The system is using Mobilecoin for the transactions. Since Signal is not a cryptocurrency company, they decided not to build things themselves. We can presume this could change in the future but for now this it he path they are following.

For its part, it looks like Mobilecoin is also just getting started. Could the coupling of a privacy messenger with no data tied to a blockchain based token work? We will have to see how this testing goes but it does make some sense.

What will be a challenge, as is always the case, is the on/off ramps. There is the potential to operate in a pseudo-anonymous way on blockchain. However, since all transactions are public, it is easy to follow the path taken. Ultimately, exposure comes from trying to get off the system. When dealing with central exchanges, that is when problems arise.

Nevertheless, what we have here is another layer of protection. If the token can eventually be acquired in a way that does not involve a centralized platform, it could have some potential.

Of course, there is another level that this is built into a system like this. To start, transactions cannot be shut down. This means wallets cannot be closed so purchases are always open. This is a characteristic of decentralized cryptocurrency networks which would be incorporated. We also have the situation where outsiders cannot determine what is purchased.

This would, for example, allow for mobile payments through a private application for cannabis.

Developing Networks Of Privacy

This is something that is likely to morph outward over time. We are seeing more development taking place which gives people tools to build upon. Privacy has not received a great deal of attention thus far outside privacy coins like Monero.

It makes sense that we are going to see development teams concentrating efforts in this area. As the availability of non-KYC platforms appear (DEX), we should see integration far easier. For now, one of the major problems is that people tend to have to interact with some currency that can be tracked. Other layers where privacy is built in would only making things more difficult.

Could Signal be onto something. We will have to see how it pans out. Whatever the results, the fact that we are seeing attention being paid in this area is forward progress. In another couple years, hopefully we will see major advancements.

As the governments of the world look to use technology to clamp down on humanity, we need to counter with the platforms that give privacy back to them.


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Bang, I did it again... I just rehived your post!
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All I can see is progress and growth.

Anything to get privacy is the goal IMO.

Signal has done a great job and I think the government might want to hunt them down.

Although in a country like mine, this will only spur up illegal stuffs.

Fraudsters and corrupt leaders will use it to implement terrible things.

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cool post, so $mob could be good investment? your clickable link does not work

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Sorry about that. Fixed it.

Not sure it is good investment since I dont know how much is being tied into this and how the beta for Signal is going.

So tread carefully.

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Signal is great, I use it every day! Thanks for the heads up on their private payments development - I need to look into this mobilecoin!

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I havent delved into Mobilecoin myself. It was only brought to my attention yesterday and I updated the app. Then I found the Beta.

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For sure success is coming boss

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This might generally be a ping-pong situation that would go on for ages, the counter measures thats going to be made possible by SIGNAL is something that i'll look forward to. Simply everyone is mostly craving privacy in a world where the government is getting sophisticated at watching people.

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Absolutely. The more regulation the government sets down, the better the roadmap for developers. They can take what governments set down and code around it.

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Then it continues in that particular cycle. Eventually, it'll keep slipping off their (government) fingers everytime.

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That is true. We are seeing more opportunities arising where we can get around what the regulators are trying to do.

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Most people actually do not really care about his/her/their own privacy. Just see Facebook. Many people intentionally/voluntarily share almost everything about their lives. Where they currently are, where they will go, etc. The police in my country (in Hungary) even warns the people on the public transport to not to post that you will go on a vacation for days, because bad people can watch it, and they can take advantage of the situation to break into your home/house to steal your things, especially if they see on your shared photos and/or on your text posts that you have valuable things in your home/house.

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That is true. Many do not care. However it is going to keep growing as people find out how bad things are getting.

Sooner later people will wake up.

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Signal is a great app. Their updates are meaningful and frequent. When I started using the interface was ugly, but they evolved a lot each and every single time Whatsapp went out. Great alternative to Telegram (Telegram is not encrypted so that is bad)

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Yes I think they came a long way in a short period of time. I dont use too much on it other than just quick chatting but it could end up being a viable, private alternative to Telegram.

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Yeah because who wants to use FB messenger haha

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There are a lot of them out there.

And FB Messenger is used by a ton of people sadly. We need to start the process of helping people switch away from those types of applications.

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I wonder if signal will turn the transactions into something privacy related as well. For example they could washed the cash through Monero and make the transaction untraceable to an extent.

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It's great to see an option in terms of privacy in communications! We all know there's none of that with commonly used platforms like messenger, imessage and practically all of them currently in use!

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Yeah people are going to wake up sooner or later. The other platforms are taking full advantage of people.

We need options, especially those with privacy.

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It is a genius to not store anything. Running counter to the heart of the data collective heaviness of the big platforms. I have been using Signal for many months now since the Whatsapp story broke. This is a timely reminder of the strictures that society are under now and some ways out of that. Than k you for this

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It is a good one. The features keep expanding over time.

The application should be getting more popular. Probably hard to get stats on it since they dont keep them.

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