Telegram recently introduced an auto-delete feature and many other IM / chat messengers followed. What does it mean? People do not want their data to be kept on the servers for long. They want minimal data retention. Also, people have started to care about the location of data storage. Jurisdiction was never an issue until recently. This new trend has created some gaps. These gaps are issues that tech firms from across the globe have to look into to be able to address them with a cloud service or an Application that just works precisely right.
If you are worried about data retention, location or storage with an IM service along with other privacy issues like requirement of a cellphone number etc. I am sure you are going to pick, Switzerland as a jurisdiction, as it has always been a privacy heaven and favorite among data hoarders.
What if you found a secure, encrypted, ephemeral chat service with servers exclusively in Switzerland run by a privacy focused company from Switzerland? Further, if the company did not require your phone number for Sign up. I know at first, it was too good to be true to me as well. TeleGuard by Swisscows is one such data-secure messenger. Swisscows is one such Swiss company with data servers exclusively in Switzerland that craves to offer privacy and family friendly solutions for all with their web search, VPN and other offerings.
We have now developed an alternative messenger chat under the name TeleGuard, which does not save your chats and does not pass on any data. The chats are encrypted end-to-end. All data is automatically deleted in a 24-hour cycle so that no data remains in the system.
TeleGuard is everything an individual wants for an IM/chat messenger for their smartphones. Smartphones are a powerful medium not only to access Internet but also to communicate. Hence they targeted most by malicious advertizes and application publishers for new gold i.e. your personal data. In order to fix things a little in privacy invading world, Swisscows came up with smartphones first privacy encrypted messengers for communication. It uses proven and widely used SALSA 20 encryption algorithm to encrypt your text and calls. It makes your data and call end-to-end encrypted. Such that not even the service provider can read or listen to your private conversations.
- Practical, modern messenger with full functionality for iOS and Android
- Independent company under Swiss data protection law and GDPR-compliant
- Complex encryption system for all transmitted data
- All servers are located in data centers in Switzerland
- No storage of user data on the servers
- No connection to a telephone number and no collection of user identification data
- Free of cost
If you have privacy and minimal data retention, TeleGuard is just a blessing for you. TeleGuard has HTTPS, end-to-end encryption, deletion of messages on the server after reading. Moreover as per the information on website, no user data, including the IP address etc., is recorded or saved. It is a complete package for an ephemeral, encrypted chat messenger. Because of these characteristics, account deletion on this service or messenger is simply uninstalling the application. Only the assigned anonymous TeleGuard ID remains on the server and that is about it. No further data will be saved. There is just no disappointment in any dimension of this Application and service.
One of the most interesting thing about TeleGuard is that it does not require your cellphone number. Instead it replaces your cellphone number with an anonymous ID called TeleGuard ID, it is like your Threema or Telegram ID only. It is used to add and communicate with your personal and business contacts. Other than exchanging TeleGuard IDs to add contacts you can also use QR Codes to scan each other to add one another. Your smartphone’s contact list and phone numbers are not used any where in the process.
As of yet, it is available on Android and iOS platforms with OS version 5.0.3+ and at least iOS 12.0+ respectively. As per their website, a web / desktop version is currently being developed. It is expected to be available in 2021. Honestly, I am looking forward to support for GNU/Linux but given that TeleGuard is financed by donations and maintained by Swisscows with limited resources. It is only unfair to demand it when even Threema did not release any desktop clients till date.
To conclude, it is a robust messenger that comes with most privacy features that you would require in modern day for communications on your smartphones. It may not be a direct replacement of your conventional IM messengers but it can surely offer you a good model or example for other companies to offer a secondary product with better privacy and no data retention by default.
That being so, it is too early to say any thing with confidence about it. The license of the product is not open, there is just no code to audit and study. It has not been widely tested and tried so far to talk about performance. Also, lack of a web or desktop version makes it a bad choice for a a good lot of people.
Lastly, no doubt, on paper, it looks like everything you want. Swisscows is committed to protecting your privacy. Jurisdiction has one of the strongest privacy laws in the world. Surely try it out with your friends and family as a secondary messenger for personal communications, chats and gossips and let us know about your thoughts in the comments below.
You are welcome to support Swisscow’s web search, TeleGuard as well: https://swisscows.com/donation.