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It’s no secret – the NSA is watching us all. For those of you who maybe aren’t up to anything nefarious, but still want your constitutional right to privacy, developer Open Whisper Systems has developed an app for you. Priding themselves on the ability to create and deliver secure and advanced communication tools for the regular Joe Schmoe, Open Whisper Systems created Signal, a free, international app that allows users to perform encrypted calls and messages on iPhone and Android.

Employing advanced security software, Signal enables you to use your existing phone number to communicate with existing contacts on the app. Without requiring a password, Signal is ridiculously user friendly, leveraging privacy-preserving contact identification to keep the identities of you and your contacts covert. Powering Signal is ZRTP, a protocol that is renowned for its secure voice communication capabilities.

To push through the anti-establishment mentality behind it, Signal institutes free and open source software, meaning that anyone can audit and correct the code which powers the app in order to tweak and make improvements on performance. The app was specifically created to be used on smartphones and mobile devices, with a specialized jitter buffer that’s tuned to the characteristics of a mobile network to host the most reliable encrypted messages. Push notifications help keep the app highly responsive while preserving your device’s battery life.

By avoiding the annoying alternate numbers and usernames you have to create for most other third-party messaging apps, Signal is not only the most forthright and simplistic messaging app around, its promise of secure encryption is the big red cherry on top. Signal supports pretty much anything you’d want to send someone through a regular SMS or MMS message with no fees attached, and allows you to call anyone in the world without roaming or long-distance charges.

For those looking for an alternative to apps like WhatsApp, Signal provides a more comprehensive option. And for those who are tired of having their privacy infringed upon by sneaky little spies, Signal is a must. Just ask Edward Snowden – he swears by it.

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