13 August 2021
Threema is a Swiss instant messaging application founded in 2012. To download the app, you pay 3 Swiss francs or about 2,70 euros. A business model that allows it to collect very little data: the application allows its users to remain completely anonymous, requiring neither a phone number nor an email address. The application does not even collect metadata.
According to the Swiss daily Le Temps, the app has now 6 million users, of which only 5% live in Switzerland.
The Threema application is based on the principles of privacy-by-design, i.e., the integration of user privacy principles from the tool’s very design. It is an end-to-end encrypted open-source tool.
Wickr Me is Wickr’s B2C instant messaging solution. Unlike Threema, the application is free.
Wickr Me’s slogan is “Privacy for All“. User communications are encrypted from end to end. Wickr recently announced a new feature that allows users to detect when screenshots are taken. The app sends a notification if someone takes a screenshot of a message.
The application does not store metadata.
Created in 2014, Dust (formerly CyberDust) is based on a particular operation: users’ messages are automatically deleted, either within 24 hours or immediately after reading (your choice).
The messages exchanged are encrypted. Once deleted, messages “disappear forever,” depending on the application site.
The application does not appear to monetize the data collected but states that it promotes its products to its users.
Like Wickr Me, Dust warns users when screenshots are taken. If a screenshot attempt is detected on an Android phone, the name of the person who sent the message is removed, eliminating the entire context of the conversation. iPhone users only receive a notification when a screenshot of one of their messages is taken.
Currently, Dust does not present any significant security risks, apart from the lack of transparency linked to the fact that the application code is not available in open source.
The instant messaging application Olvid was created in June 2019. It does not collect any personal data, even during registration, encrypts exchanges, and even metadata.
Olvid offers strong encryption. Contrary to most messaging systems, each conversation establishes a direct link with the recipient(s) without going through a central server. It is notably for this enhanced security that Olvid won the FIC 2020 Startup Award, presented at the International Cybersecurity Forum in 2020.
To learn more about the instant messaging giants’ security (WhatsApp, Facebook, Signal, Telegram, Viber) and their respect for privacy, please read our dedicated articles by clicking here.More on data privacy