Signal Technology Foundation
Developing open source privacy technology that protects free expression.
Long before we knew that it would be called Signal, we knew what we wanted it to be. Instead of teaching the rest of the world cryptography, we wanted to see if we could develop cryptography that worked for the rest of the world. At the time, the industry consensus was largely that encryption and cryptography would remain unusable, but we started Signal with the idea that private communication could be simple.
Since then, we’ve made some progress. We’ve built a service used by millions, and software used by billions. The stories that make it back to us and keep us going are the stories of people discovering each other in moments where they found they could speak freely over Signal, of people falling in love over Signal, of people organizing ambitious plans over Signal. When we ask friends who at their workplace is on Signal and they respond “every C-level executive, and the kitchen staff.” When we receive a subpoena for user data and have nothing to send back but a blank sheet of paper. When we catch that glimpse of “Signal blue” on a metro commuter’s phone and smile.
However, we’ve always wanted to do much more, and our limitations have often been challenging. Over the lifetime of the project, there have only been an average of 2.3 full-time software developers, and the entire Signal team has never been more than 7 people. With three client platforms to develop, a service to build and run, a growing list of integrations to assist with, and millions of users to support, that has often left us wanting.
Even so, Signal has never taken VC funding or sought investment, because we felt that putting profit first would be incompatible with building a sustainable project that put users first. As a consequence, Signal has sometimes suffered from our lack of resources or capacity in the short term, but we’ve always felt those values would lead to the best possible experience in the long term. The Signal Foundation completes our vision of Signal operating as part of a full 501(c)(3).