When Allo and Duo were announced at Google I/O, one of their pillar features was their requirement for a phone number to activate. And as most of you have noticed, this has been very controversial among users: some like the simplicity of the approach, others loathe its limitations: no multi-device support, no web/desktop clients, and a requirement for workarounds to install on tablets, especially WiFi-only ones.
With Duo's release this week, these limitations were put under the spotlight, and while some users like me were convinced by the no-fuss approach of a phone number as a means of identification, others are still moaning the lack of a tie to a Google account. Read More
WhatsApp is hugely popular in Brazil where mobile subscribers pay high rates for cellular calls and messaging. WhatsApp isn't getting as much use today as a Brazilian judge has ordered the country's five wireless providers to block access to the service. Unlike past blackouts, this one does not include an end date—it's intended to continue until WhatsApp complies with a court order to turn over information. However, it says the requested information doesn't exist. Read More
Wire is one in a growing number of messaging services that promise to keep their users' correspondence private. In this case, the service offers encrypted text, voice, and video calls. And now it's open source. Read More
Google will be launching its new Allo chat application in the coming weeks, and with it comes true end-to-end encryption. Open Whisper Systems has announced that its own Signal Protocol is powering the encryption in Allo. It's not on by default, which has sent some privacy purists into a fit, but this is still a very good thing. Read More
Staying private online is easier said than done, but a few services are popping up that promise to shield your conversations from prying eyes. The Signal messaging app, previously known as TextSecure, comes to mind. But the WhatsApp team has been working on securing its messages using some of the same code, and now, after testing things out last month, the service is ready to roll out end-to-end encryption to all users. Read More
Since Game of Thrones seems to revel in jerking us around and House of Cards is now disturbingly close to believable, USA's cyberpunk drama Mr. Robot is Android Police's pick for cable TV binge-watching. While it's not so deep in its own hacker lore that it's incomprehensible to the layman, it's surprisingly accurate in its realistic and often low-tech methods of showing hacking and counter-hacking techniques. One of those techniques is using ProtonMail, an encrypted email service that makes FBI analysts shake their fists like cartoon villains.
Considering that ProtonMail claims over a million users for its secure email system, it's kind of amazing that it took them this long to create an Android mail client. Read More
You might have heard that Amazon disabled the option for software encryption in the latest version of its Android-based Fire OS for the Kindle Fire series of tablets. (This isn't new - Fire OS 5 has been rolling out to various tablets since last year.) And if you read news that isn't Android Police, you probably also know that it's not the biggest story involving encryption right now. After consumer backlash following the Apple-FBI encryption case, Engadget reports that Amazon says it will return software encryption in the next major update.
Customers might have had something to say about the loss of encryption capabilities even without the highly public spat between Apple and the FBI over the San Bernardino iPhone case. Read More