[smc-discuss] WhatsApp and mental torture in school communities

Pirate Praveen praveen at onenetbeyond.org
Sat Jun 6 09:19:25 PDT 2020

On Sat, Jun 6, 2020 at 9:39 pm, Nandakumar Edamana 
<nandakumar at nandakumar.co.in> wrote:
> On 06/06/20 6:15 pm, Pirate Praveen wrote:
>>  On Sat, Jun 6, 2020 at 6:00 pm, Pirate Praveen
>>  <praveen at onenetbeyond.org> wrote:
>>>  I don't think Signal is a good fit as we still depend on Open 
>>> Whisper
>>>  Systems for the service, I agree it is better than WhatsApp, but 
>>> not
>>>  good enough when we have even better options like Matrix.
>>  Look at the recent examples of Trump's policies of banning Adobe 
>> from
>>  providing service in Venezuela [1] and banning Google from providing
>>  Android to Huawei [2]. If tomorrow Trump does the same to Open 
>> Whisper
>>  Systems and India, we will be in the same situation (even though I
>>  don't doubt the credentials of people behind Signal, it is 
>> vulnerable
>>  to US govt policies). So it is important we have the freedoms to run
>>  our own servers for Free Software to be really meaningful in 
>> practice
>>  when it comes to client software depending on another software run 
>> on
>>  a server.
>>  [1]
>> https://www.theverge.com/2019/10/7/20904030/adobe-venezuela-photoshop-behance-us-sanctions
>>  [2]
>> https://www.zdnet.com/article/google-suspends-android-support-for-huawei-what-it-means-for-your-smartphone-tablet/
> What you said is true and important. But I don't think it's an issue 
> in
> this scenario. Schools now use WhatsApp to share short-life stuff, not
> for archival. WhatsApp or Signal or whatever else, ban by US will 
> never
> be a problem for them. They'll just start using another app.

I don't think waiting till something that personally affects us is a 
good strategy. Many times, things become too late. If you don't learn 
from history, you will be forced to repeat it. Like you are already 
arguing, for exact replacement for a service that they started using 
barely for a week, the more you stick with a service, the harder it 
will be to switch.

> What I think now needs is a drop-in alternative for WhatsApp or nobody
> would be ready to try. Govt hosting a Signal instance is one solution,
> and the other I suggested is using the official Signal for the time
> being. Does your recommendations qualify the "drop-in alternative for
> WhatsApp" criteria? I'm asking this because I've little knowledge in
> mobile chat apps.

The use of WhatsApp is to send messages in groups, group for each class 
where parents and students are there. Why do we need exact replacement 
of WhatsApp?

Was GNU/Linux and exact replacement for Windows when we switched to 
GNU/Linux in schools? Do you think WhatsApp to a matrix client will be 
a harder switch than GNU/Linux to Windows? In Kerala, switch to 
GNU/Linux happened not because teachers thought it would be easier, but 
they were convinced by the philosophy and they were willing to take the 
effort to fix all the problems. If you are trying to sell convenience, 
we already lost the battle.

> BTW, from what I've learned, Telegram has an extremely bad reputation
> when it comes to security and privacy, despite being libre at the
> client-side. Is there any reason for anyone to prefer Telegram over 
> Signal?

People use it as a file sharing app, I think they allow upto 2GB files 
to be shared. Also it can be bridged to Matrix so you are not forced to 
use Telegram to participate in telegram groups.

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