Signal has a new update, and is one most of its users have been waiting for—an open beta to enable encrypted video calling, the Wired reports. Adding a video calling feature to a chat app that already boasts of a fully end-to-end encrypted chat and voice calling functionality will further endear Signal to more users. It means conveying messages without compromising the information you share with your friends is now a possibility.
Signal is one of the most secure platforms to share information, especially in an environment that is highly compromised. Trusted mostly by journalists and activists, Signal’s new video calling encryption feature is about to boost the app’s popularity among several other users. To all those who take security of their data as priority, things are about to get better as the video calling encryption feature offers something uniquely different from other providers in the market.
The idea behind the new feature, according to Whisper Systems, owner of the chat app, is to improve voice call quality.
“This represents an entirely new calling infrastructure for Signal, and should increase voice call quality as well. We think it’s a big improvement, but we’re rolling it out in stages to collect feedback from people with different devices, networks, and regions in order to ensure there are no surprises when it’s enabled for everyone by default,” the company said in a statement via its official blog on Tuesday.
The company also said users will be able to use CallKit in iOS 10 to answer calls directly from their lock screen. This means calls made via Signal will be treated effectively and the same way as ones received natively on iPhone. The problem with this unfortunately, is that it might lead to vulnerability issues for people who use the chat app because they value their privacy. It raises concerns because it will sync call duration and destination with iCloud. On a brighter note, you can turn off this feature within your phone settings if privacy is of greater importance to you than anything else.
Video Credit: https://whispersystems.org/blog/signal-video-calls-beta/
“As well as being able to answer calls directly from your lock screen, you’ll also see Signal calls in the system’s “Recent Calls” list. This is because iOS treats CallKit calls like any other call, however that also means some information will be synced to iCloud if enabled. This information includes who you called and how long you talked.
“If you decide that’s not for you, you can opt-out of the CallKit features at any time in Settings > Advanced > Use CallKit, while continuing to use the rest of the new calling system.”
Don’t enable CallKit if you value your privacy and want your data to remain secure. Government officials or security agencies could secure access to stored information if they manage to secure an agreement with Apple. They could also use other tools aimed at cracking iCloud, which could compromise your private data. Sometimes last year, The Intercept reported that Apple stores information on iCloud for up to a period of four months.