Instant Messaging

Real-time Text Transmission via Web, short: IM

Messaging more popular than E‑Mail

As different as people are their communication preferences …

  • one likes to write a lot and keeps the correspondence for years
  • the other is lazy about writing, but loves chatting with friends

So for some the good old e-mail is the favourite medium, for others the telephone and those who can rarely meet friends/relatives in person (e.g. due to long distance) may use video calls (became affordable through mobile messengers).

Instant Messaging (IM) was invented in 1996 and initially only used stationary on PCs. In the 2010s, IM was replaced by mobile messengers.
I never used it back then. For me, e-mail was the most popular means of communication. This was also because e-mail clients are similar to the FidoNet editors I used to communicate with before the invention of the WWW. Even back then, the message editor GoldEd was more convenient than today's e-mail clients.

Ordinary E-Mails are not secure

Due to the Global surveillance disclosures at the beginning of 2013, we know: all unencrypted transmitted emails are read and evaluated.
Very few mail servers are configured to transmit emails only if the recipient's mail server also uses transport encryption.
Many security-conscious people use a data-saving messenger app as an alternative, although there is actually no need for chat and video telephony.
Since messages are stored on the server in encrypted form until they are viewed by the recipient, a messenger can also serve as a substitute for e-mail, SMS, MMS and answering machine. Messages can be stored and transmitted as audio files. The latter is very popular nowadays, especially among young people.

Careful Selection of the Instant Messaging Service

You don't just want to send irrelevant stuff with your messenger. You quickly get used to the comfortable, fast communication and simple operation of this one app. The plan to write “only unimportant things via messenger A” and use “only messenger B for confidential things” will not really work. Sooner rather than later, people will accidentally use “the wrong app” for confidential information. It becomes annoying to decide whether something is too private for one messenger or the other. It's like business mobile phones: although the employer can see everything if he wants to, a lot of private calls are made.

Over time, the messaging service becomes “indispensable” and you trust it with everything: You send and receive confidential documents, photos or videos.
In the address book you not only have telephone numbers, but also very private things about the contacts. All this must not fall into the hands of strangers!

Human Right to Privacy

It's not just your own privacy that will be lost when you use (a)social networks! All contact data stored on the smartphone is collected by Facebook, Whatsapp & Co. It even states so in their terms and conditions! Most users simply nod these off unread – at business use, this is a gross violation of the EU GDPR!
If used privately, it is gross disrespect for the privacy of your fellow human beings, who themselves avoid the (a)social networks!

  • do WhatsApp users have no qualms about their friends' personal data being commercially exploited by Facebook?
  • why don't users of WA, FB and similar data octopuses realise that they are betraying their friends?!

Text in Deutsch

Keyword list: 2013, Chat, E-Mail, FidoNet, Human Right to Privacy, IT, Instant Messaging, MMS, Mobile Phones, Privacy, SMS, Server, Service, Smartphone, Telephony, WWW, Who, why

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