Signal’s not here to make money from personal data: Messenger’s CEO  

Aruna Harder, CEO of Signal, which saw an influx of people who quit WhatsApp, says the messenger app's policy of collecting no personal data and keeping conversation as safe as they are offline, is what goaded people to make the switch

Signal is an encrypted messaging service developed by Signal Technology Foundation and Signal Messenger LLC

The hullabaloo and fear around WhatsApp’s new privacy policy, ended up prompting a majority of users to switch to Signal, an alternative that was the most downloaded app in India in January.

In an interview with Indian Express, Aruna Harder, the Chief Operating Officer of the messenger says it is Signal’s policy of collecting no personal data and keeping conversation as safe as they are offline, is what goaded people to make the switch.

In a sharp dig at Facebook, WhatsApp’s parent company, Harder said unlike the social media site which builds products not for people, but for their data, Signal operates on the “mission to protect people and help maintain their privacy.”

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Related news: Parl panel to grill Facebook executives over WhatsApp policy changes

“We collect no data, have no ads ever, and are not driven by profit. We are directly tied to what the millions of people who use Signal every day want. Those are the only people we are beholden to, no shareholders or investors. That’s why our policies are very straightforward,” she says.

“Signal is an independent non-profit, and our only mission is to protect people and help maintain their privacy. We are built to act in the public’s interest, to try and make a meaningful contribution to society by building sustainable technology that respects people and does not rely on the monetisation of personal data,” she adds.

Raising concern over the status of personal data and privacy in the country at present, Harder says the exodus of users from WhatsApp to other reliable messenger apps shows that people have always cared about privacy and will not shy away from choosing a safe alternative when the same is threatened.

“Privacy is not a passing trend. People have always cared about privacy, and if anyone should seek proof, the worldwide movement over the past few weeks can add the strongest testimony. When given a realistic, viable option, people will always value and choose to protect their privacy. It is their fundamental right to do so,” she tells IE.

She says the feature of Signal, enabling people to connect with one another without any third party tracking their conversations is what makes it trustworthy.

Related news: WhatsApp’s growth nosedives while Signal, Telegram thrive

“When it comes to India specifically, Signal’s engineers are working hard to ship the features people are requesting. Rather than borrowing any features, we are more focused on listening to what our customers want, and work on it accordingly, so that we can live up to the high standards that people in India have come to expect from us,” she says.

She adds that her team is working on launching wallpapers, which is the most requested feature from India.

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