Signal is a free, easy to use app, for Android or iPhones, that replaces the default texting app. When sending to other users with Signal installed, it’ll perform end to end encryption, meaning the cell carrier and anyone else can not read the message as it passes through the system. If sending to people without the app, it just acts like a normal insecure text.
Signal also supports encrypted voice calls.
Encryption of calls and of texts requires data or wifi connectivity, as communication is routed through the internet rather than through normal voice and text channels.
Of course, no software can replace security culture of a firewall between the aboveground and any hypothetical belowground. But it helps to normalize privacy as a default and makes it harder for corporate or government security forces to monitor everything people do. Documents released by Edward Snowden suggest that encryption methods such as those used by Signal (and by Enigmail for email) have thwarted the NSA in monitoring communications.
Install Signal today and give it a try: Android or iPhone.
We posted in the past about TextSecure for encrypting texts, and you may have heard about Redphone for voice calls. Signal is an evolution and combination of those two precursor apps.
Adam Federman wrote last summer about FBI harassment of Deep Green Resistance members, and now follows up on an incident last week, in which three DGR members were held for hours trying to get into Canada, turned back, and then held for several more hours before finally being allowed back into the US. Border crossing agents interrogated the DGR members, and took their computers out of sight for hours – presumably searching them for any useful data, and possibly installing malware to permanently compromise them.
Following on the rash of FBI contacts, this seems more than coincidental. Though annoying, it’s mostly harmless, at least for now. It’s important to remain aware of the risks of targeting by federal and state officials in various roles, to be ready for legal defense if necessary, and to prepare carefully for situations such as border crossings where activists are particularly vulnerable. This incident validates the need for a firewall between aboveground activists and any hypothetical underground: those of us who make ourselves public in our opposition to power will be targeted and scrutinized. Only those who stay off the radar can carry out illegal actions with a reasonable level of safety.
Read about the latest incident: Deep Green Resistance activists interrogated at US-Canada border
Here are some role play slides for practicing language we suggest you use in police interaction. These are fun to try out with a friend. Enjoy!
And a flowchart of legal scenarios: