Messaging app Signal is proud to be end-to-end encrypted, and privacy is their watchword — but its new ephemeral messages aren’t being billed as tools to that end, and nor should they be.
Disappearing text and pictures are the main addition (along with a meatspace verification tool) of the latest version of the app. But while once people thought of expiring pictures à la Snapchat as a way to send racy or sensitive information, the fact is it adds very little to your security, if any at all. Screenshots, a separate camera, copy and paste — it’s easy to give ephemeral messages permanent form.
Instead, Open Whisper Systems bills the feature as a way to prevent digital clutter.
Disappearing messages are a way for you and your friends to keep your message history tidy. They are a collaborative feature for conversations where all participants want to automate minimalist data hygiene…
It’s really a much more sensible way to think of this kind of messaging, and in fact this is the way young people like miliminals generally use it. No one really cares about last week’s conversations. Like Rafiki says, they’re in the past! So grab the new version of the app for iOS or Android and hakuna matata. See, I’m hip.