×

Worried Internet Users Flock to Encryption App After Donald Trump Election

The election of Donald Trump has some internet users worried about their privacy and safety, resulting in a significant uptick in demand for the encrypted messaging app Signal, according to new data from app measurement specialist App Annie. Interest was already elevated in recent months, thanks to countless reports about hacked emails.

Signal is an app that allows mobile phone users to securely exchange encrypted messages without keeping any copies of those messages on a central server. The app has been developed as a non-profit effort by a number of privacy activists, and has in the past been promoted by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Signal got a significant boost in attention after hackers attacked the DNC, and broke into the email account of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. Campaign staffers reportedly switched to using Signal to communicate safely. The app has been downloaded more than 800,000 times from the Apple App Store and Google Play over the past 2.5 months, with a quarter of the downloads originating from the U.S., according to App Annie.

That may still be small numbers compared to some of the more popular messengers. But it’s worth noting that Signal has seen a significant increase in downloads ever since election day. The app was ranked 98th within the U.S. App Store’s social networking category on Election Day, according to App Annie.  The day after the election, it was ranked 45th; on Thursday, it reached spot number 34.

Android users are also increasingly turning to Signal. On Google Play, Signal was the 65th most popular communications app in the U.S. on Election Day. On Thursday, it had become the 33th most popular communications app.

The growth in Signal app downloads coincides with a growing interest in other privacy and security apps. “We’re seeing in general an uptick of users being more mindful of their digital footprint and mobile security with apps like Signal and the various VPN apps that exist on the market like Hotspot Shield and Opera VPN,” said Amir Ghodrati, director of market insights at App Annie. “The one thing to keep in mind is that for users to receive the maximum benefit of Signal, their contacts have to be leveraging the app as well.”

Trump has yet to formulate a detailed tech policy for his upcoming administration, but past statements about encryption and surveillance have privacy advocates alarmed. When the FBI tried to compel Apple earlier this year to unlock a suspect’s iPhone, Trump called for a boycott of Apple until the company would give in. Trump also said during his campaign that he’d want to put mosques under surveillance, and institute a national registry of Muslims residing in the U.S.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • westworld awakening art

    HBO Launches 'Westworld Awakening' VR Game With Survios

    Ever wanted to enter the world of “Westworld?” Now you can — except it won’t exactly be like you might have imagined it. Instead of being one of those guests living out their fantasies, you will be a host, slowly coming to grips with your life being an elaborate illusion. “Westworld Awakening” has been produced [...]

  • Spotify Announces Upgrades to Family Plan,

    Spotify Announces Upgrades to Family Plan, at No Charge in U.S. and U.K.

    Just days after reports emerged that Spotify is aiming to increase the price of its family plan in its home market of Scandinavia, the streaming giant announced an upgrade to the plan — with no price increase in the U.S. and U.K., where it remains at $14.99 and £15, respectively. A rep for the company [...]

  • Mike Vaughan

    Former Venmo COO Mike Vaughan Joins Stem's Board

    Los Angeles-based music distribution and payments startup Stem has appointed former Venmo executive Mike Vaughan to its board of directors. Vaughan was chief operating officer of Venmo from 2011 until earlier this year, and is now executive in residence at Oak HC/FT. “The music industry can benefit tremendously from innovation in the way money flows [...]

  • Streamy Awards

    Streamy Awards 2019 Return to YouTube for Exclusive Live-Stream

    The 9th Annual Streamy Awards will again be available to stream live on YouTube exclusively. The 2019 awards ceremony will take place at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills on Friday, Dec. 13 and will stream live globally on YouTube via youtube.com/streamys. Videos from the 2018 Streamy Awards received over 6.9 million views on YouTube. [...]

  • Stefan Heinrich Henriquez - Cameo

    Celeb Video-Shoutout Startup Cameo Hires Ex-TikTok Exec Stefan Heinrich Henriquez

    Cameo, a startup that lets consumers purchase video shoutouts from celebrities, tapped Stefan Heinrich Henriquez as chief marketing officer and general manager of international. Heinrich, most recently head of marketing for short-form video app TikTok, will lead the company’s global growth and branding and play a key role in Cameo’s continued global expansion. He’s based [...]

  • Curiosity Stream Altice

    Altice USA Pacts With John Hendricks' CuriosityStream Service

    Altice USA has set a deal with John Hendricks’ CuriosityStream to expand distribution of the science- and history-focused subscription streaming service. The deal will make CuriosityStream available to all Altice USA’s 4.9 million customers across 21 states, including a big cluster serving New York and Connecticut. Altice also plans to add the CuriosityStream app to [...]

  • No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No

    Lionsgate Play Launching in India With Vodafone Idea

    Premium entertainment service, Lionsgate Play is launching in India through a partnership between telecoms operator Vodafone Idea and Starzplay, the subscription platform from Lionsgate subsidiary Starz. Lionsgate Play offers curated Hollywood content for the Indian consumers, with much of the content available in multiple Indian languages. It currently includes more than 7,500 television episodes and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content