Signal Tests Usernames to Eliminate Phone Number Swaps

by Mayniaga

The public testing of this feature began with a new beta build available on Signal's community forums.

Signal's VP of Engineering, Jim O'Leary, mentioned that after rigorous internal testing, they are now seeking the assistance of their community to conduct further testing before a public launch.

This same number had to be shared to communicate with others on the platform, which raised concerns about privacy and security risks.

This development is significant because Signal, known for its end-to-end encryption, has traditionally required users to sign up using their phone numbers.

The goal is to allow users to use Signal without revealing their phone numbers. Instead, users can share their usernames, enabling others to connect with them on Signal without having access to their phone numbers.

In response to these issues, Signal has been working on introducing usernames since 2019.

The Signal Foundation initially indicated that the username feature would be launched in the first half of the year.

However, adding usernames while maintaining Signal's strict privacy principles has proven to be a challenge.

Users may also share their usernames as a unique QR code. In addition, users will have the option to disable "phone number discovery," making their username the primary contact point for messaging within Signal.

This testing phase is available to Android, iOS, and desktop users. Usernames will be paired with a set of unique digits and will not be publicly visible on profiles.

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