Signal’s New Usernames Will Let You Can Keep Your Phone Number Private

Image for article titled Signal's New Usernames Will Let You Keep Your Phone Number Private
Photo:
Brent
Lewin/Bloomberg
(Getty
Images)

For
those
who
care
about
digital
privacy,
few
apps
are
more
beloved
than


Signal
.
For
years,
the
end-to-end
encrypted
messenger
has
offered
some
of
the
best
privacy
protections
on
the
web.


Strong
encryption
,
zero
subscription
fees,
and
virtually


no
data
collection
?
What’s
not
to
like?

That
said,
there’s
always
been
one
little
flaw
with
the
messenger’s
privacy
protections:
Unless


you
get
pretty
creative
,
Signal
forces
you
to
reveal
your
real
phone
number
when
you
call
or
text
someone.
This
means
that
whoever
you’re
communicating
with
has
your
real
contact
information—something
that
can
be
frustrating
if
you’re
someone
who’d
prefer
to
keep
that
information
private.

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Now,
however,
Signal
is
rectifying
this
issue
with
the
introduction
of
usernames.
In
lieu
of
sharing
your
phone
number
with
someone,
you’ll
be
able
to
share
a
personalized
handle,
instead.
On
Tuesday,
the
company
published


a
blog

in
which
it
announced
the
change.
The
post
says:

If
you
don’t
want
to
hand
out
your
phone
number
to
chat
with
someone
on
Signal,
you
can
now
create
a
unique
username
that
you
can
use
instead
(you
will
still
need
a
phone
number
to
sign
up
for
Signal).
Note
that

a
username
is
not
the
profile
name
that’s
displayed
in
chats,
it’s
not
a
permanent
handle,
and
not
visible
to
the
people
you
are
chatting
with
in
Signal.

A
username
is
simply
a
way
to
initiate
contact
on
Signal
without
sharing
your
phone
number.

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The
new
feature
will
be
instituted
by
default,
meaning
that
your
contacts
won’t
see
your
number
anymore
unless
they’ve
previously
saved
it
into
their
contacts.
This
is
pretty
great.
Signal
was
already
a
beloved
app
in
tech
circles
but
this
simple
change
will
make
its
service
that
much
better.
Use
it
now.

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