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Signal app to encrypt text, calls, now available for Android

Signal made its way into the Google Play Store Monday bringing encrypted text and calling to Android users in a single free app already available to iPhone users.

Encryption has been available for Androids through the voice app Redphone and the text app TextSecure, but Open Whisper Systems rolled the two together in the Signal app, which for some time has been endorsed and promoted by Edward Snowden. Speaking at the Why Privacy Matters: What Do We Lose When We Lose Our Privacy conference hosted by the Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities at Bard College, Snowden told attendees, “if you have an iPhone, download an app called Signal, [and your communications] are unbreakably encrypted.” With the introduction of Signal into Google Play, that same advice now applies to Android users.

“When enough people do things like this the net value of mass surveillance drops,” Snowden explained to attendees, adding that a government bent on surveillance won't favor a technique that “is not easy and cheap anymore.”

Users who already have TextSecure installed will receive an update to that app, complete with the new name, according to an Open Whisper Systems blog post. “The new version includes all the existing functionality of TextSecure, plus the ability to make and receive private calls with other Signal users,” the blog said.

Those users with RedPhone will be asked to install Signal. The organization will no longer maintain RedPhone as a separate app, the blog explained.

“We cannot hear your conversations or see your messages, and no one else can either,” the post said, noting that the organization's free, open source code can be found on GitHub. “Everything in Signal is always end-to-end encrypted, and painstakingly engineered in order to keep your communication safe.”

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