The recent Facebook saga and all the security breaches you’ve read about in recent years should tell you that the online world is not safe. Yet, here we are. It’s 2018 and we’re moving fast and furiously into the 21st century. Instead of a safer online environment, it’s become a digital version of the wild west and we’re being shot at day and night.
As much as I try to lock down my Mac, iPhone, and iPad– I use a VPN, visit only sites with SSL security, run ad blockers and anti-tracker utilities– and stick rather closely to All Things Apple™, I’ve begun to worry about how various governments care for their citizen’s privacy. Even in the good old U.S. of A. your iPhone isn’t safe thanks to various and sundry and often shady elements which claim to be able to unlock it for a price.
Yes, we use Apple’s Messages because it allows standard SMS text messaging, too, but I’ve tried other messaging apps and installed one that works on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. It’s the famous Telegram app.
The Russians hate it. The totalitarian authorities which run Russia have demanded the keys to allow access to Telegram. If Russia hates it, that might be a good sign that Telegram is secure. But I have a list of other options I like.
Open – it’s open source so Telegram has received plenty of scrutiny from geekier users than me all around the world.
Private – Telegram is encrypted and has a built-in self destruct option. I like that.
Free – I don’t understand the business model.
Distributed – Telegram says there servers are spread all around the world. Who pays for those?
Cloud-based – Duh. But that means you can use Telegram on multiple devices.
Speaking of multiple devices, Telegram’s Desktop version for macOS makes it somewhat like Apple’s own Messages app, but it also runs in a browser, on Windows and Linux PCs, and Android devices.
Why not Line or WeChat or WhatsApp or Signal?
Line is used heavily in Asia but not as much in the U.S. or Europe. WeChat is Chinese so that alone is enough to avoid. WhatsApp is owned by Facebook so that one is a no-brainer. There are others. Signal is Edward Snowden’s choice but he lives in Russia. KakaoTalk is cute. Wire gets good reviews. In the end what I wanted was another highly secure messaging app that would work on multiple devices, come with plenty of features, and be hated by totalitarian governments.