Every day there are more and more messaging and chat clients for Android and iPhone that offer decentralized communications. However, hardly any of them offer what Briar does. In other words: it's open source, it encrypts its communications, it works without an Internet connection, and it has passed a security audit.
Encrypted and safe offline communications
The disclosures made by Snowden or Wikileaks have contributed to the creation of a paranoia climate where Fox Mulder would love to live. Probably most of us are aware that certain institutions spy on us but it's even easier for them if we all carry around a tiny computer in our pocket that can be hacked and tracked.
That's what Briar Beta intends to avoid. It's an app that intends to wipe out any kind of censorship and spying practices by means of a P2P system that uses the Tor network and that encrypts all the communications end-to-end whilst protecting the user's metadata.
An app to chat and send messages without an Internet connection.
For such purpose, it avoids the need to connect to a data network, whether a public WiFi or a 3G/4G connection, as all the data can be sent by means of its own wireless network or Bluetooth. That means that the sender and receiver must necessarily be in a short range. In the case of an Internet connection, all communications are completed using the Tor network.
These are its main features:
- Encrypted peer-to-peer communications by means of chat, messages, and forums.
- Local storage of messages on the phone, not on the cloud.
- Connect straight to nearby contacts without needing an Internet connection.
- Open-source messaging app.
Amongst its security measures we have to point out the fact that to add contacts to our list, we can only resort to the exchange of QR codes by Bluetooth, so we'll have to be in front of each other to do so.
Why should I use Briar?
Downloading the APK of a chat client of this nature (anonymous and decentralized) can help you to avoid any kind of action aimed at surveillance and censorship, such as:
- Metadata surveillance: the application uses the Tor network to avoid spying on behalf of systems capable of knowing whom you're talking with.
- Contents surveillance: all communications are encrypted end-to-end, protecting the contents against possible manipulations.
- Contents filtering: since the communications are decentralized there are no servers to be blocked and contents aren't filtered.
- Content removal orders: each user keeps a copy of his own contents so there's no single point from where it can be removed.
- DNS attacks: there's no such thing as a central server to attack and each user conserves data even when offline.
- Internet downtimes: the application can run on Bluetooth or WiFi even if the Internet is down.