with all the choices I have, I don’t really know what to choose, there is Matrix, Signal, Briar, Jami, and alot of other privacy focused messenger app that I haven’t even heard of.

need to discuss things with people on the internet, mostly people who already knows privacy stuff.

I need to choose one that’s the most popular one to avoid having people making accounts, what’s the most commonly used (private) messenger app?

poVoq
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2M

IMHO the best option would be to self-host a XMPP server and use an app like Conversations (Free on F-droid). You can make a free account on blabber.im to see it in action. Other community run XMPP servers should also be fine.

Self-hosting a Matrix server is also an option, but not as easy or low resource as a XMPP server like Prosody/Snikket or Ejabberd. Using a free Matrix account somewhere is less recommended, but ok as long as you are aware that the network is quite centralized and your identity & meta-data will end up on the matrix.org servers in the UK one way or the other.

As for centralized commercial apps: Threema is probably the best option right now, but it isn’t free (but with open-source clients). Signal is more popular, but hosted in the US on AWS/Google servers and IMHO fake open-source. Signal also requires a phone-number which is a serious privacy issues in most countries.

Last but not least, Telegram might be the lowest friction entry option for your friends, but it has several privacy draw-backs and thus only an option of last resort (still better than WhatsApp though).

Gwynne
creator
52M

I thought I deleted this post… oh well. I think I’ll go with XMPP/Matrix combination. thanks for the recommendation.

poVoq
32M

It was displayed as deleted shortly after posting my reply. Not sure what happened exactly.

With delta chat you already have an account: your email!

It has some hiccups, but overall I love it.

Gwynne
creator
12M

I never heard of it, is it popular?

@Echedenyan
4
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2M

It is very used by cubans due to the low network impact and default encryption not provided nor by the main mail server there.

I also use it with my family and several friends.

Delta Chat devs plan to create a standard for using email infrastructure for IM too. More info in https://delta.chat

@dragonX
42M

My rundown
If you want anonymity:
1- element, with a self hosted server , or just on any open instance. There is a lot of metadata storage involved. If you want to run it through tor. mind the IP leakage as it uses WebRTC for voice and video calls
2-Wire: You need to trust the company behind it as server code is closed source, but in terms of usability, It is unbeatable IMO, they store more metadata on you compared to Signal
4- XMPP: you can self host an xmpp server if you have the know how. I have used it but was disappointed, most apps and software handle encryption very poorly. and both you and your interlocutor need to have accounts on servers running the same protocol add-ons. quite a messy situation.
3- Jami: P2P secure private communication, has some connectivity problems. but worth a try with people curious enough to join you in
4- Briar: basic chat app with strong encryption. could be used in a mesh network, suitable for situation like protests and big gatherings.
4- Threema : never used it, to use it you need to pay a subscription fee
6- wikr : they say its good
5- Session: still in its infancy. no video or phone calls yet. it was audited back in the time when it relied on onion routing, now they have switched to LokiNet. that audit is no more valid. + they rolled back on Perfect Forward secrecy.

Phone number registration:
1- Signal: Best in class in terms of conversation encryption. with a lot of features. I might be biased but I don’t trust the team, especially with the latest server situation.

poVoq
4
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2M

No subscription fee for Threema, it is a one time app purchase (3€ I think).

Would not recommend Wire since they got bought by some US hedgefund or so and transferred all operations into the US AFAIK.

IMHO XMPP is in no way worse than element/matrix when it comes to encryption (using the same client everywhere, not a mix of 3rd party clients that in the case of Matrix often even don’t support encryption at all). But lets agree to disagree on that ;)

@dragonX
2
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2M

In matrix we have element that is the most up-to-date feature rich and E2EE supported on every platform. other community developped apps could catch up to element but are not essential for the success of matrix.
In XMPP we don’t have a cross platform compatible app. which could detract a lot of users. my main concern though are features implemented through add-ons. so users have to investigate each instance to make sure they have access to things like encrypted calls. this is a detremental to XMPP wider adoption.

Gwynne
creator
3
edit-2
2M

holy sh* thank you, I have to keep eyes on session in the future then, I think it might just be the one best chat app later.

I was considering using both xmpp/Matrix, based on what you said, maybe I shouldn’t use xmpp after all. I’ll use matrix without using vc then.

Which matrix server do you recommend?

edit; same, I’m kind of sceptical of signal since a while before, I can’t trust things that need my personal info. It’s centralized and needs your phone number. maybe It’s just because It’s a WhatsApp alternative. still, it could be better if it was decentralized platform. also the desktop app is not that great.

@dragonX
3
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Matrix is the most promising project in my opinion even though privacy was at the beginning an afterthought. we need as a community to keep pressure on the devs to minimize metadata collection.
For a trial you can sign up to the matrix.org server. just keep in mind to switch to another one once you decide to make matrix your daily driver.
Because matrix.org is the biggest instance, it is subject to a lot of attacks, it has been breached once back when E2EE wasn’t active by default.

Gwynne
creator
22M

I’ve had a matrix account there before, I’m asking if there’s an instance I could join because I’m aware that using matrix.org would probably not be the best idea since the whole point of it is to be decentralized, and metadata and identity is collected there.

I found this instance though https://chat.tchncs.de/

for now I’ll use that instead, maybe I’ll run a matrix server in the future for people to use.

Milan (the guy behind tchncs.de) is a really cool guy who is really capable in regards to IT infrastructure. Had some encounters with him back in my Diaspora days. I would deem him quite trustworthy, so personally I think his matrix instance is quite legit.

@Echedenyan
32M

Wire server-side is FLOSS (https://github.com/wireapp/wire-server) but its main company is now in the US and their terms and conditions… well… also take in account the metadata about people you contact which is still saved in plain text in their servers.

@dragonX
22M

thanks for the correction, I use wire through tor, and the thing about wire that draw me to use it is the absence of need for a phone number, and the fact that unlike others the app just works with very few hickups.

@Echedenyan
12M

From some time ago, even in the mobile phone, you have also the option to setup a new Wire account with an email address.

@Danrobi
22M

You’ll find a few here

XMPP is easiest option to run a server and the more secure. There’s many clients, Dino, Gajim, Conversations, Profanity, etc.

A place to discuss privacy and freedom in the digital world.

Privacy has become a very important issue in modern society, with companies and governments constantly abusing their power, more and more people are waking up to the importance of digital privacy.

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