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I voted Awareness and Technical, but the latter doesn’t apply to encryption, IMO. TBH I haven’t used the latest versions of Kontalk because I lost my phone in early August and haven’t installed it on my replacement Fairphone. What I do remember are the issues with verifying contacts every now and then. It didn’t seem flawless, and my opinion about verify-before-you-chat has also changed in the last few months.
To understand my reasons, I’ll briefly explain my current usage pattern: I mainly use Whatsapp for communicating with young people of my parish. We have a WA group and I post news about meetups and masses. Whatsapp is low-barrier because it is already there on young people’s phones.
In order to comply with WA’s ToS I’m using Xprivacy Pro to whitelist only the contacts that are fine with having their phone numbers uploaded to WA’s servers. The other contacts are not visible to WA.
Regarding verify-before-you-chat: Not good for group messages and mass subscriptions to a group (The group I’m talking about has 35 members and not everyone even has the other’s phone numbers. They gave their phone numbers to me and I added them to the group in one go.) While I don’t like WA’s approach for making everyone believe that chats are top-secure, it’s wrong to assume that everyone is a spy and that everyone is spying on everyone.
I’d rather like to see a soft-awareness-rising environment for Kontalk: People can chat with encryption at once, but they have a little
warning (“Find out more!”) displayed next to their avatar, when they haven’t been verified. In general a warning always seems a little bit like a punishment (“I’m wrong for not verifying my contacts.”) whereas I think that young people don’t want to be told that they are wrong. They do want to learn, however.
IMO veryifing encryption should be an option for situations where people really are in need of a secure connection. For everyday chats it’s ok, IMO, when contacts are not verified.
The second point: There is no iPhone client and Austrians love their iPhones. So that would leave out about half of the teens, maybe more, because young people love their iPhones even more.
- Don’t make it look like a punishment if people don’t want to verify a contact.
- Make Kontalk’s ToS a USP. (Kontalk’s non-corporation structure too, for that matter! )
- Have an iPhone client.