Our concern for privacy is now more serious than ever.

2018 saw the dark side of companies tracking us day & night to turn us into products that generate money. Now who is to blame for that is another topic for another blog post. But one way or the other, now every human being is concerned about his/her privacy to a certain extent.

Below are the some the privacy focused apps that have made a name for themselves. I have used some of these apps personally.

  1. Signal

Undoubtedly the number one on the list. Signal has been very popular among privacy enthusiasts & journalists because of its features and commitment. It provides the same easy signup and uses as WhatsApp while also offering the same level of encryption as WhatsApp but doesn’t log data as they(Facebook) do. Hell, even WhatsApp’s co-founder has invested significantly on this app. This app also doubles as your default SMS app. It’s almost the equivalent of iMessage on Android. But you need to remember that the encryption only works when both sender & recipient are on the same app. Apart from that, it also supports voice and video calls, all end-to-end encrypted (you will need to enable it though as it is not enabled by default because of slow transmission speeds). As we are hearing reports of Mark Zuckerberg trying to monetize WhatsApp, this might be a good alternative to switch.

2. Semaphor

This is a lesser known app but it is built by a company which focuses on privacy-first applications. The great thing about this app is that there are no passwords involved. You create your account by using your email ID to where it sends a long verification code. Once that’s done, it provides you with a recovery key which you must store carefully since without that you cannot get back into your account on any other devices. That’s right, there is no password recovery here since the encryption protocols mean that even SpiderOak cannot recover your account for you. Such is the privacy focus! It has beautifully designed apps for every popular platform on earth. The free plan gives you unlimited everything for up to 5 members.

3. Keybase

Imagine Slack + Half Facebook + a strong focus on privacy. Keybase is like a small private social network which major focus on chats rather than anything else. The company says that its servers don’t leak files and it cannot be hacked. This app has become popular among developers all around the world. It also verifies the authenticity of a user by making users follow certain steps to prove their social media and website links. It’s available on all 3 Desktop OS, Android, iOS and even has Chrome/Firefox extension and is totally free to use.

4. Riot

It should be noted that this service is currently in Beta status (as of writing this article). Riot is built on Matrix network which has been known to provide a decentralized & secure communication. Riot is being increasingly used by developers all around the world as it also provides the option to bridge with other popular apps.

5. Threema

A product from Switzerland which in itself should enforce some amount of trust. The best part about this service is it doesn't require phone number or email address as it generates a random ID for every user. Apart from that, this service is 100% GDPR compliant. It should be noted though that there is a one-time payment involved with using this service.

6. Wickr

Wickr is purpose built for enterprise use but individuals can use it too albeit with less features & more restrictions. The entire service is built around encryption & ephemeral messaging. There are also Wickr Pro plans if you enjoy the service and want to upgrade.

If you want complete control over the entire process and have your own hosted messaging service then there are options that do just that! No, I am serious!

  1. Mattermost

This service is no stranger to the corporate world but the good thing is that it can also be used by the average man. And no, there is no shortcomings here and it provides everything that competitors provide. Its also available everywhere. Although, agreed self-hosting requires some technical knowledge but most VPS hosting providers have one-click deployment for Mattermost which definitely eases up things.

2. Rocket.chat

This new service is growing in popularity day by day and one particular thing about this software is its very very beautiful. The entire UI is intuitive and makes you want to use it. It has both self-hosting & managed hosting option. Although there are no one-click app deployment options (as far as what I saw) on VPS providers but their site has detailed instruction on how to get going with ease.

Apart from that the above mentioned Riot also has hosting support on Modular.

What services do you use? Are there any other secure messaging options that I need to know about? Tell me in the comments below.

This article was originally published on Medium. I have updated it & published here.