Anna Wiener reports that Moxie Marlinspike, the founder of the end-to-end encrypted messaging service Signal, is “trying to bring normality to the Internet.” She writes, in part:
Signal’s growth has corresponded to periods in which decisions are questioned or undone—to moments of social and political upheaval. With end-to-end encryption, the content of every communication—a text message, a video chat, a voice call, an emoji reaction—is intelligible only to the sender and the recipient. If an exchange is intercepted, by a hacker or a government agency, the interloper sees a nonsensical snarl of letters and numbers. Signal does not share growth metrics, but in late 2016 Marlinspike told the Times that the number of daily Signal downloads had grown by four hundred per cent since the election of Donald Trump. This summer in the U.S., the service was flooded with an estimated several million new users. In early July, after China imposed a sweeping national-security law, Signal was briefly the most downloaded app in Hong Kong. The Electronic Frontier Foundation includes Signal in its “Surveillance Self-Defense” guide; Edward Snowden, a friend of Marlinspike, has endorsed it for years.
All this has given Signal a halo of subversion, but Marlinspike believes that encrypted-communication tools are necessary not just in times of political tumult.
Read more on The New York Times.