Business Today
Loading...

Iran blocks Signal after WhatsApp users migrate to open source messaging app

Just like the citizens of other countries, Iranians too downloaded Signal after privacy concerns with Facebook and WhatsApp surfaced.

twitter-logoAnkita Chakravarti | January 27, 2021 | Updated 13:40 IST

Highlights

  • The Iran†government has blocked the popular messaging app Signal after users flocked to the platform.
  • Users across the world migrated to Signal and Telegram over WhatsAppís new terms of service.
  • The open-source messaging app promises more security and privacy than its rival, WhatsApp.

The Iran government has blocked the popular messaging app Signal after users flocked to the platform. Just like the citizens of other countries, Iranians too downloaded Signal after privacy concerns with Facebook and WhatsApp surfaced. Users across the world migrated to Signal and Telegram over WhatsApp's new terms of service.

As per AlJazeera, users in Iran faced issues in accessing the Signal messaging app. The open-source messaging app promises more security and privacy than its rival, WhatsApp. However, the Iran government went ahead and blocked the app.

Reacting to the ban, Signal tweeted, "Ever since Signal simultaneously hit #1 on the Play Store and #1 on the government's block list, we've been working around censorship. Unable to stop registration, the IR sensors are now dropping all Signal traffic. Iranian people deserve privacy. We haven't given up."

On January 14, the government had ordered the removal of Signal from Cafe Bazaar, the Iranian alternative of Google Play Store and Myket, another popular app store in Iran. The report states that whenever users tried to download or update the Signal app on the App Store, they were greeted with a message that read,"We thank you for understanding our limitations."

However, this is not the first time Signal has faced issues in Iran. Earlier in 2016, the app was blocked by the Iran government. But the matter did not come into notice as Signal did not have the kind of user base it had now. The messaging app was unblocked after some time without a government providing a reason behind that.

A security researcher had alleged Signal was used during protests to maintain secure communication. Mahsa Alimardani, an internet researcher with British human rights organization ARTICLE19 told Aljazeera, "Signal has always been advertised as the go-to application for dissidents or activists to stay secure from any state authority, especially the United States and its vast surveillance capabilities."

"Before this migration by users disaffected by WhatsApp's new privacy changes, Signal was already a day-to-day tool of civil society and activities," she added.
Amid so much hullabaloo about WhatsApp privacy policies, the Facebook-owned messaging app and Instagram are the only social media apps that remain unblocked in Iran. This has led to speculations that WhatsApp shares users' data with the Iran government. However, security researcher Alimardani has squashed the rumors.

"There is no factual basis for this rumor as it's very unlikely Iranian authorities have the capability to go up against Facebook's security capabilities, or for Facebook to collaborate with Iran to share data," she said.

  • Print
  • COMMENT
BT-Story-Page-B.gif
A    A   A
close