#xmpp #omemo #conversations #psi #gajim #zom #chatsecure #dino #jsxc #federation #encryption
Why it took us more than two years to enable End-to-End encryption by default: The first in a series of essays leading up to the release of Conversations 2.0
The other big hurdle we had to overcome was the adoption rate in clients. If you send OMEMO encrypted messages by default you should have a reasonable expectation that your contact will be able to decrypt the message. Reasonable expectation doesn’t mean that every single client out there has to support it—In an ecosystem with hundreds of small, badly maintained clients that’s just not feasible—but the major clients should at least have a plugin available.
In March 2018 we finally reached the point where every plattform has one or more clients with OMEMO support. Conversations and Zom on Android, ChatSecure on iOS, Psi and Gajim on the desktop. The up and coming desktop client Dino—despite not having had an initial release—already has support for OMEMO as well. And even the webclient JSXC has a plugin available.
Considering the complexity of OMEMO and the fact that most of these clients are developed by people in their spare time, this is actually quite an impressive adoption rate.
Moxie Marlinspike, in his 2016 propaganda piece ignorantly bashing XMPP, had one valid point: Enabling end-to-end encryption in a homogenous environment is easier than introducing it in a heterogenous one like Jabber. Nobody is denying that. However, if something is hard to achieve there are two possible approaches: Either try your best and don’t give up, or put your head in the sand and create yet another walled garden that is no different from other proprietary solutions.
Admittedly it has taken us a while to get to a point where we can enable end-to-end encryption by default, but it was worth the effort in that we ended up with something that is different from WhatsApp in more than just marketing.
IRC is a communication mode (technically a communication protocol) used by many Free Software projects for communication and collaboration. It is serving these projects well even 30 years after its inception. Though I'm pretty much okay with IRC I had a problem of not able to use IRC from the mobile phones. Main problem is the inconsistent network connection, where IRC needs always to be connected. This is where I came across Biboumi.He then explains in detail how to configure Ejabberd with Biboumi and how to actually use Biboumi from the XMPP client, e.g. Conversations. Worth a read!
Biboumi by itself does not have anything to do with mobile phones, its just a gateway which will allow you to connect with IRC channel as if it is a XMPP MUC room from any XMPP client. Benefit of this is it allows to enjoy some of XMPP feature in your IRC channel (not all but those which can be mapped).
Q: What motivated you to develop Conversations?#conversations #freesoftware #xmpp #android #interview #pgp #otr #omemo #forwardsecrecy #xda
A: I am using Jabber/XMPP for many many years. Even back in 2009 I was able to use Jabber on my Nokia e71. Sometime around the year 2012 I switched to an Android phone, so I suddenly was unable to use Jabber. [...]
Q: Can you give three reasons why Conversations protects your privacy better than Whatsapp or Threema?
A: I don’t have to give my private phone number to strangers if I want to chat with them. I could have a private and a business account. I can disable the business account after my shift, to prevent my boss from annoying me during my free time. WhatsApp allows everybody to analyze my app usage patterns any time. (My boss could stalk me to investigate if I am using WhatsApp during my working hours or if I am using WhatsApp at night instead of sleeping and coming well rested to the office.) This is different with Conversations; Conversations also doesn’t upload my entire address book to Facebook.
Q: Is it allowed to compile Conversations on your own from your Github and use it for private use?
A: Of course. Not only private, also for business and everything else you want. It is also allowed to modify the code to meet individual requirements.
Google Search -> DuckDuckGo (free)I understand, that they advertise their own service here. And while I do believe, that DuckDuckGo does not cheat and keeps your searches private, as a user, one cannot prove it. In any case, one just replaces one centralised search machine with another one. Better use a decentralised service, such as meta search engine Searx.
Let's start off with the easiest one! Switching to DuckDuckGo not only keeps your searches private but also gives you extra advantages such as our bang shortcuts, handy Instant Answers, and knowing you're not trapped in a filter bubble.
Android -> iOS (paid)This is certainly the worst recommendation in their list. I had to check the date of the article, when I read this. Aprils Fool's Day? I'm certainly not a fan of Android and I'm not an Android user anymore, but going for a much more restrictive jail is just stupid. Android has at least relatively free versions, e.g. Replicant. iOS, in contrast, is a carcel with beautifully painted walls. Very high walls with perfectly styled barbed wire on top. Even the most proprietary variants of Android let you at least install free software from F-Droid.org.
The most popular alternative to Android is of course iOS, which offers easy device encryption and encrypted messaging via iMessage by default. We also have tips to increase privacy protection on your iPhone or iPad.
Google Allo -> Signal (free)Again, they recommend to leave one centralised service for another one. And one, that even wants your phone number, otherwise you can't use it. And one, that does not yet have a decent client for Linux. There are messengers around that are federated or completely decentralised, that do not force you give them your phone number, and that have native clients for all major operating systems. My recommendation is XMPP. If you are on Linux, use e.g. Gajim, on Android the best app is probably Conversations, for iOS there is ChatSecure and so on. Alternatives to XMPP are Ring, Matrix and more recently Wire.
There are several services offering private messaging but, as we've mentioned before, Signal gets our recommendation. It offers free, end-to-end encryption for both messages and private calls. It's also recommended by Edward Snowden and renowned security expert Bruce Schneier, among others.
Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.One should also not give up libre software, which is essential in many ways, to purchase a little perceived safety or privacy through non-free or centralised services.
WhatsApp - and pretty soon Signal as well - are the prime example of an industry turning End-to-End Encryption into a hollow marketing phrase that doesn’t mean anything.
Use either Conversations for Android (f-droid or Play) or Gajim for Windows or Linux [...]
Ensure that everyone in your group has added everyone else in the group to their roster [...]
Create the group in the android Conversations app, not in Gajim [...]