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Farid Hajji

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  1. 3,592 votes
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    Farid Hajji commented  · 

    @C: "Signal uses Google play services to communicate"

    Signal doesn't need Google Play Services at all. If you run it on a Google-free system like LineageOS (without GApps, microG), Signal simply opens a background connection to its servers, and still gets call notifications and messages in a timely manner.

    From a usability point of view, Signal is perfectly fine without Google Play Services.

  2. 18,202 votes
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    Farid Hajji commented  · 

    You realize that it's not just about raw storage. With more storage comes (usually) more access to it. And since ProtonMail is encrypted, this means that they have to provision more CPU parallel to increasing storage, lest they run into a CPU bottleneck. This costs more (in hardware and electricity) than merely slapping additional high capacity HDDs in the servers.

  3. 3,720 votes
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    We have given this quite a bit of thought, but at the present moment, it is not clear the advantages would outweigh the disadvantages.

    The biggest problem is search. Encrypting all metadata would break metadata search entirely on the web client as there is still no efficient way to handle search of encrypted data within a browser.

    Secondly, metadata encryption’s value from a privacy standpoint is also somewhat dubious. Because we ultimately must deliver the message to the recipient, we must know who the recipient is. At the current time, there still isn’t any proven and viable way to work around this.

    Metadata encryption is an area of continued research for us, and when the opportunity arises and the technology for doing this matures, we will definitely implement it in ProtonMail.

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    Farid Hajji commented  · 

    "Encrypting all metadata would break metadata search entirely on the web client as there is still no efficient way to handle search of encrypted data within a browser."

    To people reading here, they are probably talking about FHE (fully homomorphic encryption) performance. Basically, they would need to search in encrypted data without decrypting it first, because if they could decrypt it, there would be no point in encrypting it in the first place.

    Performing operations (such as searching) on encrypted data without decrypting it first may seem paradoxical, but is indeed possible, if you use something called fully homomorphic encryption (FHE).

    Mid 2017, FHE was still pretty slow, and running search on encrypted data was still way out of reach, especially for mobile devices (think: even a fully charged battery won't be enough to perform the required calculations for even a single search). That's why seach in encrypted data was impractical at this point.

    However, two years later in mid 2019, FHE performance improved significantly and is really starting to become practial. Check out the talk by Daniele Micciancio at EUROCRYPT 2019 a few days ago:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TySXpV86958

    As FHE matures, we may hope to see affordable search in encrypted data in the years to come.

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