trash
11
Dessalines
admin
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91Y

You can’t. Signal is based around phone number identifiers (which is probably the worst privacy decision imaginable… in most countries a phone number is enough to get your name and address). It also means that you and I couldn’t even use signal unless you want to divulge that info, making it useless for anyone but IRL contacts.

I’d suggest moving to matrix / element.

@byebyeprivacy
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5
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1Y

deleted by creator

@developred
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8M

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Dessalines
admin
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1Y

Smartphone is besides the point really, you need any phone number to use signal, and if you give me yours, I can pretty easily look up your full name and where you live.

Another side point of this, is that Signal has all these phone number identifiers stored in their DB, and since they’re US based, and a centralized data store, you can consider it compromised. Sure, maybe they don’t have message content, but they have a social connection graph of who contacted who, and when they did it. Pretty easy to build lists of associates and all that from it.

@developred
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@gravity
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7
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1Y

Unless you need to talk to others using Signal, you’re better off using a different service. Something decentralized and doesn’t require unique identification, because these are beneficial from a anonymity stance.

Signal provides no real benefits, from an anonymity POV, I personally use Signal because it supports SMS/MMS protocols, and I can easily get family onto Signal. I trust Signal from a security/cryptography stance, and I am again ok with handing over my phone number (even though I’d prefer not to) because anybody I’m talking to on Signal does already have my phone number anyways. If they removed SMS/MMS I might dip because again, I only use it for IRL people, and because I don’t need two different apps for SMS/MMS and actual E2EE chat just to talk to my family and IRL friends who are too stubborn to download Signal.

Despite this, Signal security/cryptography wise is supposedly one of the best as of right now, I can provide my sources if you wish I am just busy this week.

In some places you can get a prepaid sim card without needing to provide KYC so you can have a number not linked to you technically, I also believe you can import sims from these countries that don’t use KYC, and get them to work but for the most part the number registration is the killing piece from a privacy/anonymity stance as most places do require KYC identification and not everyone is going to import a prepaid sim from across the world.

Now, even if they got rid of requiring a number (even though if they do, I still wouldn’t be surprised if they kept it for registration for “spam protection” or some other stupid reason), I still most likely wouldn’t use Signal for anything but IRL encounters, as it is still centralized. Again, from a security stance, sure, but from a privacy/anonymity stance not the best.

Ephera
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51Y

You could set up an Android VM and install Signal into there, then pair you desktop Signal with that.

Here’s a guide for doing that with WhatsApp (and then bridging WhatsApp to Matrix), but you be able to follow the steps from “Set Up an Android VM” and then just install Signal instead of WhatsApp: https://matrix.org/docs/guides/whatsapp-bridging-mautrix-whatsapp#set-up-an-android-vm

If using a different messenger is an option, I would recommend checking out Session. It’s a Signal fork without the phone number requirement and without centralized server.

@byebyeprivacy
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1Y

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Ephera
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51Y

My best guess is that it helps to combat spam. If you can’t easily create a new account, you’ll avoid getting that account banned.

But yeah, generally I’m not a fan of many of Signal’s design decisions.

@ajz
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21Y

The phone number is only needed for registration, and sort of acts as your “identifier” and password. After that you still need to use the Signal phone app (or alternative) to add contacts because I believe the desktop app still cannot add new contacts ?

You don’t need a smart phone though, see here the introduction text : https://github.com/AsamK/signal-cli

Ephera
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31Y

Do you mean “You don’t need a smart phone” as in “You can also do it with a dumb/burner phone”?

Because it says you still need a phone number where you can receive SMS or calls.

@ajz
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1Y

Yes, I have the impression that to register for the first time with Signal you also can do with just a dumb/burner phone to receive SMS/calls. The URL in the other comment, https://matrix.org/docs/guides/whatsapp-bridging-mautrix-whatsapp/ is for Whatsapp and shows : “You will be asked to verify your phone number, use your number on another device to complete this step.” I guess this works the same for Signal.

@developred
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Future Me
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41Y

Background info: Signal has recently introduced the PIN feature, which was very controversial, there’s also a thread on that topic on lemmy. In their announcing blog post, they indicate that the PIN feature is a preparation (amongst others) to move away from phone numbers as identifiers.

@developred
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@pavot
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@ajz
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21Y

This howto might read more easily than the signal-cli introduction text : https://ctrl.alt.coop/en/post/signal-without-a-smartphone/

@developred
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