The free encrypted calling and texting app Signal has become the favorite of the privacy community since its first appearance in Apple's App Store last year buoyed, no doubt, by the endorsement of Edward Snowden who appears to use the app on a daily basis.
Earlier this week, Open Whisper Systems announced that the creator of Signal is now bringing the same form of encryption to Android via Google's Play store.
Open Whisper Systems previously launched an encrypted voice app call Redphone and an encrypted texting program called TextSecure for Android in 2010. Now the two have been combined into one simple app, as they are on iPhone. Those who had the Redphone and TextSecure apps will now receive the Signal app in a coming update.
“It's easier to get people to install one app than two. We're taking some existing things and merging them together to make the experience a little nicer. The hard part is developing a product that people are actually going to use and want to use,” said Moxie Marlinspike, founder of Open Whisper Systems.
The security of these consumer encryption programs and others such as WhatsApp have been widely applauded by cryptographers who have audited them. “After reading Moxie's RedPhone code the first time, I literally discovered a line of drool running down my face. It's really nice,” said Matthew Green, a Johns Hopkin professor, in a 2013 blog post.
However, this popularity is probably not shared among law enforcement agencies. Prime Minister David Cameron threatened to ban WhatsApp this summer due to its use of TextSecure and FBI director James Comey has warned Congress of the dangers of consumer encryption programs.