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Secure Messaging for Jolla: TextSecure, Threema, Bleep, etc

asked 2014-12-09 10:37:43 +0200

sunnystar gravatar image

updated 2015-07-26 13:49:56 +0200

Since Jolla and Sailfish OS focus on privacy and security, I was wondering if that approach goes beyond the device and also covers messaging? Ideally we would have a secure and decentralized solution. However, I do not know of such a solution elsewhere yet - and some kind of homebrew would be Jolla-2-Jolla messaging only. The first step would be to identify THE platform independent, open and secure messaging technology. While TextSecure has great cryptography, it relies on Google Cloud Push and is Android-only at the moment (I believe). Other technologies are decentralized (Bleep), but not open and auditable. Does DarkMail help here?

What is Jolla's plan to address this? Is secure messaging on the agenda?

It will take a while though... In the meanwhile it would be great to support at least one of the popular applications natively on Sailfish. This would in most cases require to contact the vendor and partner up with them. And if they refer to the dev costs and the small user base on Jolla, then I'm sure that a crowdfunding campaign would be happy backed by lots of sailors (incl me). For examples:

  1. Jolla addresses the topic of secure messaging as it is important to Sailors.
  2. Jolla evaluates the technologies. Also with regards of easy of implementation.
  3. Jolla gets in touch with the vendors (e.g. Threema, BitTorrent, ...) and checks out if they would be open.
  4. Jolla puts the promising candidates up for vote on Together.
  5. Jolla starts a crowdfunding campaign with the winners of the poll.
  6. Sailors back the project (hopefully!) and we have an implementation in 1 year.


Some ideas around available messaging platforms I know of: To be able to communicate with people on Android, etc. it would be great to use a protocol which is available today and present on other platforms. I was thinking of TextSecure as it is considered cryptographically robust and it is open source - it uses on Google Cloud Push, but can also work in Pull mode (getting messages every 15 minutes is sufficient for me). Threema is a great solution from Switzerland with lots of users among the privacy aware crowd. Bleep is from the BitTorrent guys, but probably not yet open sourced. WhatsApp has - against all expectations - started to adopt the TextSecure protocol to allow end to end encryption between users (audits need to prove secure implementation). As of today, I feel that there is lots of things in the clouds for my Jolla, but no app in the making. Are there any projects targeting this niche on Jolla?

UPDATE [26-07-2015]: Telegram to the rescue?

I believe that a Threema-port to Sailfish is pretty utopic since they're not even supporting WindowsPhone. Also the developments around TextSecure don't seem to aim at moving away from using the Google Cloud Messaging (GCM) system in the near future, which funnels lots of data through Google's Play Service bound to the Google-ID; and is not a privacy advocate's favorite. So despite all the praise for the great encryption ideas that went into TextSecure, this approach lets down people who are caring for privacy and want to avoid Google's cloud.

With Sailorgram (also see here) I've discovered a pretty good native secure IM client for Jolla. As mentioned further down in the comments, Telegram has for its Secret Chats the highest rating on EFF's messaging score card. There are Telegram clients for your desktop computer as well, even for Linux-based systems. But check also out Cutegram for your Desktop-OS. If you would like to run Telegram as Android-App (on Jolla or on your Android), check out the F-Droid version of Telegram which has been sanitized from Google Play Service and other problematic elements. I like the flexibility of Telegram allowing me to choose between Cloud-Chats and Secret-Chats. SailorGram is supporting Secret Chats!

Brief remark on encryption "quality". I don't want to start a burning discussion on the quality of Telegrams MTProto encryption technology. However, for those who are interested or maybe even confused, I recommend reading this article.

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I'd be happy if Jolla would finally add OTR support to the XMPP client.

null ( 2014-12-26 16:00:47 +0200 )edit

Little chances for Threema, as Jolla hasn't managed after more than a year to initiate a commercial App platform ... I'm using Threema as Android App on Jolla

Manankanchu ( 2015-04-04 13:26:12 +0200 )edit

9 Answers

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answered 2014-12-09 11:40:13 +0200

martind gravatar image

You are completely right. I miss all the things you mentioned, too. Especially I'd like to know if Jolla plans to implement GPG.

There is a thread about "Sailfish RedPhone and TextSecure apps":

I think someone wants to write a native client, however I don't find the thread at the moment.

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@martind Yeah, I would also highly appreciate a statement of any kind, e.g. "other things are more important now, we look into it in 2016". This would not make me happy, but I would at least know where we are standing with privacy on our Jolla.

sunnystar ( 2014-12-23 16:52:21 +0200 )edit

I'm on it to develop a native TextSecure client. But it will take some time because I need first a working push system - where I will first work on. And I have to learn QML/C++/QT/Silica. Anyway there are other challenges too. I wrote already and email to Moxie Marlinspike and hope to an answer, because we need him or better Open WhisperSystems will support the native client/server like the do it with cyanogenmod to exchange messages with the original TextSecure client, with the built in TextSecure of cyanogenmod and in future with Signal users under iOS. Anyway, I'm on the way, but if there will be no support from Open WhisperSystems in the future then it would be only possible to exchange messages between Sailfish users. I had planned to spend between 4-5h daily in development, but at the moment I have a lot of other things to do and how the native TextSecure client will not pay my bills it will go at the moment a little bit slower then planned. Sorry. So I think the first Alpha of a native TextSecure client will not be there before the Jolla Tablet arrives. I hope before new year everything will go back to normal and I can recover some of the hours I lost.

DiosDelRayo ( 2014-12-23 17:25:37 +0200 )edit

@DiosDelRayo This sounds very promising! Have you set up a project page or anything so that other devs can join you? I'm not a dev myself though, can only contribute food and beverages. :-) I've been researching secure messaging for Jolla a lot, but have never come across your project. Maybe you want to set up a post here on Together to make sure people know that there is hope, and Jolla knows who to get in touch with.

sunnystar ( 2014-12-23 17:36:23 +0200 )edit

@sunnystar I have set up only apache, a wiki and and githup. The Project is called Aldis Lamp, but the Website is still empty and also the wiki. Under the wiki I will put the efforts of analyzing the TextSecure source, and all development related stuff. So please be patient (I know - it's also hard for me). I don't won't to spread to much about it around while I still have nothing to show. I have never developed C++/QT. Last years I used only Objective-C, Python and PHP. So I need to give me a crash course while I'm thinking, planing and developing already. I have already my books on the table, I bought already one extra Jolla for development only time is missing at this right moment. So I take it serious.

DiosDelRayo ( 2014-12-23 19:33:54 +0200 )edit

answered 2015-07-27 22:48:26 +0200

alexxy gravatar image

There also ToX client for Jolla colled Cyanide.

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answered 2014-12-09 11:18:25 +0200

updated 2014-12-09 11:21:26 +0200

Unfortunately currently only Android Applications are available. Below topics / requests already discuss on messaging apps. Please check search for existing topics before creating new ones. Also, if you vote topics and are on popular requests, then there is greater chance of getting developer attention.

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answered 2014-12-09 11:21:06 +0200

On PGP support again, there are multiple topics already.

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answered 2015-04-02 20:55:30 +0200

timorlee gravatar image

There appears to now be a google-free textsecure Fork. Sadly no android .apk just yet. See for more info!

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Sailors who can read german may have a look here...

M.Bln. ( 2015-04-03 01:35:18 +0200 )edit

.apk now available! sms function in alien davlik. Anybody have a solution for that?

timorlee ( 2015-04-07 03:07:37 +0200 )edit

answered 2015-04-03 08:10:45 +0200

Mika77 gravatar image

I would love a native and complete client for Telegram in Jolla Store. Telegram secret chats has 7/7 puntuation on EFF: Also it' s a quite popular alternative to Whatsapp in my country (Spain). Another good thing is that Telegram doesnt rely on Google push service like Textsecure and you can find 100% open source clients on F-Droid ( Textsecure/Chatsecure owners doesn't want their apps to be distributed on F-Droid )

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Have you tried out jollagram from openrepos?

silta ( 2015-04-03 12:15:35 +0200 )edit

Yes, but it hardly works for now. It lacks a lot of features, often disconnects and it's impossible to reconnect unless I reinstall, it's not on harbour... For now is not an option for me. Ubuntu Touch Telegram app is developed by Ubuntu devs and it's preinstalled on their devices.

Mika77 ( 2015-04-03 14:29:00 +0200 )edit

answered 2015-08-03 21:55:56 +0200

jollcob gravatar image

TextSecure is now @ Harbour!

Its a patched Android apk freed from google.

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answered 2014-12-26 15:50:44 +0200

ruga gravatar image

I completely agree on the need of secure messaging for Jolla, and I would also pay for it. I would love to have a p2p solution, however not jolla-2-jolla (I am the only one among my friends to have a Jolla :D).

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answered 2015-04-04 10:22:27 +0200

satansbraten gravatar image

here too, a jolla-2-jolla only app is not what is helping here much at the moment, where sailfish OS is not widespread enough (yet!). But as far as i understand the topic - and i am brand new to the community - it should be possible to use threema, or wickr (e.g.) on the jolla tablet as well, as they are android apps? Or are there any restrictions to that "android-compatibility"? thanks for clarification!

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Asked: 2014-12-09 10:37:43 +0200

Seen: 5,402 times

Last updated: Aug 03 '15