• 👁️👄👁️@lemm.ee
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    8 months ago

    Crazy how decentralization improves both, but they are vehemently against that. I trust them in terms of privacy, but their insistence on centralization, blocking third party apps, removing SMS, and refusal to support fdroid, I’m not a fan of the direction they’ve gone recently.

        • witten@lemmy.world
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          8 months ago

          Wait. Signal was an SMS client. It wouldn’t cost them anything for a user to send an SMS message. IIRC, they nixed the SMS feature for security reasons, not cost.

          • 🤘🐺🤘@monero.town
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            8 months ago

            That’s what they told me when gave then feedback through their website.

            There’s no free lunch and corporations aren’t the most trustworthy source of information though so maybe it was about cost.

              • 🤘🐺🤘@monero.town
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                8 months ago

                Some nonprofit organizations are corporations and have pretty shitty practices:

                https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kids_Wish_Network

                The Morman church is another US ‘non-profit organization’ yet somehow hordes billions.

                Trusting blindly without doing research because something is presented as a non-profit is a good way to be taken for a fool and separated from your money.

                When signal made their own cryptocurrency which they entirely premined was a huge red flag. Dropping SMS support was an annoyance that broke the camels back.

        • PlutoniumAcid@lemmy.world
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          8 months ago

          Yeah I think you are right. I too was really mad at Signal for ditching sms, and THEN having the audacity to ask for donations! This article shines a light on the reasons, wow.

          Still, I would only donate if they kept sms in there. Not without sms because now it’s just one more isolated platform and no longer a one-stop solution at it used to be.

          • ScreaminOctopus@sh.itjust.works
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            8 months ago

            The sms cost is for account creation and verification on new devices, being an sms client didn’t cost anything aside from maintaining that portion of the app

        • Kusimulkku@lemm.ee
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          8 months ago

          One reason was worry that people accidentally send SMS when they mean to send a secure message

    • InvaderDJ@lemmy.world
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      8 months ago

      Removing SMS support makes sense. The potential for a user sending something through SMS that they thought was going over Signal is high. Even for the savvier users who would install Signal in the first place.

      • 👁️👄👁️@lemm.ee
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        8 months ago

        It killed adoption, since now it’s just another messaging app. Most of my contacts still use SMS, and will stay on it, so being able to use Signal was a smooth all-in-one experience. Now I have no point in keeping it installed because like 3 of my contacts use it, so it has no use to me, thus killing potential adoption.

        • teolan@lemmy.world
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          8 months ago

          They’ve never had more users.

          And if you had spent 3 minutes looking at r/Signal or the support forum before they disabled SMS you would have seen how many people were confused by the feature.

        • fkn@lemmy.world
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          8 months ago

          Exactly the opposite. Removing sms was the thing that finally made me recommend it to my friends and family. People understand sms replacements. People understand alternate messaging apps. People don’t understand encrypted sms.

          If you have people who love whatsapp, it’s super easy to get them to use signal instead.

        • jaspersgroove@lemm.ee
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          8 months ago

          Perfect, that keeps you off signal and lowers their operating costs.

          Because if you actually needed signal, you’d still be using it. Security and privacy is not about convenience or a “smooth all-in-one experience”. It’s about actual security and privacy. And that is what signal provides.

    • Lime66@lemmy.world
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      8 months ago
      • Signal wants to be as secure as possible
      • F droid has security issues
      • It makes perfect sense to me
    • interceder270@lemmy.world
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      8 months ago

      I mean, of course the company is against what will lose the company money.

      They’re not doing this because they care about privacy, lol.

  • u_tamtam@programming.devOP
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    8 months ago

    A more accurate title could be “Privacy is Priceless, but Centralization is Expensive”: with the era of cheap money coming to an end, grows a lot of uncertainty regarding the future of some large internet services. Signal is no exception and this emphasises the importance of federated alternatives (XMPP, fediverse, …) for the good health of the future internet.

    • Goronmon@lemmy.world
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      8 months ago

      Decentralization is expensive too judging by some of the sentiment I’ve seen around running Mastodon and Lemmy/Kbin instances.

        • pizzaboi@lemm.ee
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          8 months ago

          And why wouldn’t they? 90% of the software people use daily is free (as in beer), so of course being told that’s going to change is going to cause upset. It takes a lot for people to want to pay money for something that, to those who don’t value free (as in freedom) software, is no different than the costless alternative.

      • BaroqueInMind@kbin.social
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        8 months ago

        At some point society needs to figure out how we can subsidize the costs of data storage, remote servers, and provision of internet to people for free.

        • JustEnoughDucks@feddit.nl
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          8 months ago

          The only real way to do that is government subsidized servers, but that will fall in the same category as literally every other government service: right wing political entities try to privatize it and make it as shitty and parasitic as possible.

        • pizzaboi@lemm.ee
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          8 months ago

          You pay for these things with your data. If the government is paying for privacy-respecting storage or safe internet access, then so are you with your taxes. I’d vote for that, but I’d guess the majority of people would not.

        • Venia Silente@lemm.ee
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          8 months ago

          There’s nothing to figure out, if the question is how “society” does it then the answer is literally taxes.

      • u_tamtam@programming.devOP
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        8 months ago

        Yup, it has a cost, but there’s perhaps a one or two orders of magnitude cost difference between hosting instant messaging + calls with something like XMPP, and hosting mastodon/Lemmy/Kbin (or why I do the former but not the later, and why I’m ok to pay for the service, esp. considering that my instance’s business model isn’t, unlike Reddit, to re-sell influence and data).

        • Goronmon@lemmy.world
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          8 months ago

          How does does decentralization avoid the costs that Signal laid out in the blog posts?

          • u_tamtam@programming.devOP
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            8 months ago

            I laid it out elsewhere in this thread, but in short, costs grow non-linearly with scale: you can run thousands of users on a RPi, but a million users requires whole datacenters. Decentralization not only helps with not requiring “whole datacenters” in the first place, they also enable maximization of resources: if you have a NAS at home, or a RPi hanging around, a router idling somewhere, or an abandoned smartphone in a drawer, you can probably host enough accounts for all the people that you’ve ever met in your life. And there are hundred of thousands of such underused devices everywhere, which, put together, would be sufficient to host the whole world multiple times around.

            The other issue is sustainability: with this centralization comes single point of failure. It’s no big deal witnessing the disappearance of one or few providers of a federated network. Accounts and data can be migrated easily. For most users, it’s invisible. Now compare this to Signal running into financial issues: you are contemplating million of users losing access to their account and their data, and having to re-bootstrap their whole social graph elsewhere. This is another level of “cost”, or price to pay, for centralization.

            • Goronmon@lemmy.world
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              8 months ago

              Who is maintaining all these “unused” devices that you will want working pretty consistently? Who is responsible for replacing hardware when it dies? Who is looking into it when someone stops receiving messages? What happens when the person hosting thousands of users just stops wanting to do it? Who migrates these accounts?

              Frankly, your argument sounds more like wishful thinking than anything practical. You’ve basically described the plan as “Magically some devices in someone’s basement will suddenly start running a messaging service, maintenance free, from now until the end of time”.

              • u_tamtam@programming.devOP
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                8 months ago

                This isn’t wishful thinking, this is in defense of a model where our digital needs would be distributed at a level lower than that of the tech majors, which was commonplace before everything on the internet was so consolidated.
                I’m not saying that everyone should self-host, I’m saying that federated services could be hosted at family&friends/regional/national levels, simultaneously, and deliver a resilient service at a negligible cost. Hardware, which is very much a problem for Signal & al right now, wouldn’t be in a distributed model, and could be donated and repurposed easily. My example was perhaps a bit too extreme, but I think you get the gist of what I’m saying.

    • Avid Amoeba@lemmy.ca
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      8 months ago

      Decentralisation would just spread the costs over more individuals. Those individuals would have to collect contributions from their respective communities. The total amount people who would have to chip in to make the system sustainable won’t change dramatically. Decentralisation isn’t some magic wand that makes infrastructure and labor costs disappear into thin air.

      • u_tamtam@programming.devOP
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        8 months ago

        Decentralisation would just spread the costs

        …the costs and the risks: let’s jump forward a few years into financing issues, at what point does Signal become a liability and start operating against their stated mission, if the alternative is that they cannot survive? We are witnessing enough contemporary examples of enshittification to know that it’s a real possibility, and that all centralized providers, but in particular the ones not charging for service, are at risk.

        Some would even argue that this has already started in the case of Signal with their crypto payments and blocking of 3rd party clients which are clearly user-hostile.

        Those individuals would have to collect contributions from their respective communities.

        Perhaps, or perhaps not. Running costs get exponential with scale. You can host 1000 users on a shoebox computer/raspberry pi, but delivering a service for millions requires datacenter-level infrastructure and tons of engineering know-how.
        Most people into self hosting or having a NAS at home can already accommodate their families, friends and more, which means millions of potential users, without the problem of trust from a single organization

    • comfydecal@infosec.pub
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      8 months ago

      Have any suggestions for “normies” on iPhone and Android that aren’t Signal?

  • Poutinetown@lemmy.ca
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    8 months ago

    The cost of these registration services for verifying phone numbers when people first install Signal, or when they re-register on a new device, currently averages around $6 million dollars per year.

    That’s pretty crazy. Wonder which third party providers they are using. Maybe the identity verification methods we have today is due for some significant changes?

    • verysoft@kbin.social
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      8 months ago

      Yeah, I wasn’t expecting that to be the bulk of their spending. Maybe they should remove the need for phone numbers now they removed SMS.

      • Poutinetown@lemmy.ca
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        8 months ago

        SMS is dead, so they will need to move on eventually. Most carriers are moving towards high data plans now. I mainly use it for verification, although I’d rather use more secure methods.

        • u_tamtam@programming.devOP
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          8 months ago

          Well, if SMS is dead then RCS is what we get instead, and there’s no difference to us (and probably higher costs for Signal & al.)

          And there are wayyyy too many things that depend on SMS for it to be dead any time soon, too :)

          • smileyhead
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            8 months ago

            Also Signal cannot add RCS support, because Google Jibe servers won’t allow other app than Google Messages… And you must use them because native RCS support for Android is halted for years… And you cannot install some module with RCS support yourself because of anti-Unix monolitic Android userspace architecture…

            Man, there are so many things done wrong.