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Signal won’t replace WhatsApp, people will use both, says a cofounder of one and leader of the other

The encrypted messaging service Signal won’t replace WhatsApp, Brian Acton, the executive chairman of the Signal Foundation and cofounder of WhatsApp, predicted.
Downloads of Signal have skyrocketed since rival WhatsApp announced it would make users share some personal data with parent company Facebook.
Brian Acton, executive chairman of the Signal foundation, saidthere was room for both apps. “I have no desire to do all the things that WhatsApp does,” he told TechCrunch.
He expected people to rely on Signal to talk to family and close friends, while continuing to talk to other people via WhatsApp, he said.
Acton cofounded WhatsApp and then sold it to Facebook for $22 billion in 2014. He left the company in 2017, and cofounded the Signal Foundation, which runs Signal, in 2018.
But Signal won’t replace WhatsApp, the cofounder of both WhatsApp and the Signal Foundation predicted.
The two apps have different purposes Brian Acton told TechCrunch Wednesday. Acton is the executive chairman of the Signal Foundation,which he cofounded after leaving WhatsApp in 2017. Acton cofounded WhatsApp and then sold it to Facebook for $22 billion in 2014.
“I have no desire to do all the things that WhatsApp does,” Acton said,although he didn’t specify which WhatsApp features he does not plan to replicate.
He expected people to rely on Signal to talk to family and close friends, while continuing to talk to other people via WhatsApp, he said.
“My desire is to give people a choice,” Acton told the publication.”It’s not strictly a winner take-all scenario.”Acton has been an outspoken critic of Facebook: in 2018, he urged Facebook users to delete their account .
He left WhatsApp in 2017 “due to differences surrounding the use of customer data and targeted advertising.”
In 2018, he cofounded the Signal Foundation with CEO Moxie Marlinspike, using $50 million of his own money. Signal, first created in 2014, has focused on privacy and has promised to never sell users’ data or display in-app ads.
On January 6, WhatsApp announced it was changing its terms of service to force users to share some personal data, including phone numbers and locations, with Facebook. Users will lose access in February if they don’t agree to the changes.
WhatsApp has since clarified that this only affects users outside the European Union and the UK, and said that the change “does not affect the privacy of your messages with friends or family in any way.” The changes are now driving people to use Signal, Acton told TechCrunch.

“The smallest of events helped trigger the largest of outcomes,” he said. Signal was installed roughly 7.5 million times on the App Store and Google Play between January 6 and January 10, app-analytics firm Sensor Tower told Insider – a 4,200% increase from the previous week.
Fellow encrypted-messaging app Telegram has also seen booming downloads following WhatsApp’s data-sharing announcement. It added more than 25 million new users between Saturday and Tuesday.
“We’re also excited that we are having conversations about online privacy and digital safety and people are turning to Signal as the answer to those questions,” Acton told TechCrunch. And because Signal is funded by user donations rather than adverts or selling data, the small team of below 50 staff are motivated to keep improving the app, Acton said.”The idea is that we want to earn that donation,” he told TechCrunch. “The only way to earn that donation is building an innovative and
delightful product.” Correction: Initially, this article stated that Brian Acton cofounded
Signal in 2018. In fact, he cofounded the Signal Foundation, which now helps develop Signal. The Signal app initially launched in 2014.
www.vsoftsystems.co.za

EXPLAINER – Should you panic about WhatsApp’s new terms – and what’s the deal with Telegram and Signal?

fin24 – 13 January 2021
Social media app WhatsApp has sparked an outcry among users with its proposed new terms and privacy policy. Ahmore Burger-Smidt, Director and Head of Data Privacy Practice and Dale Adams, Associate Designate at Werksmans Attorneys unpack the terms.
As some users flee to rivals Telegram and Signal, the writers explain how these services differ.
“By tapping Agree, you accept the new terms and privacy policy, which takes effect on February 8, 2021. After this date, you’ll need to accept these updates to continue using WhatsApp. You can also visit the HelpCenter if you would prefer to delete your account and would like more information.”
With these simple words, the Facebook-owned messaging giant, WhatsApp, sparked a public outcry concerning the recent update to its terms and privacy policy. The privacy policy update relates to how it processes the data of users, how businesses can utilise Facebook services to store their (business) chats and who partners with Facebook to offer integration across all Facebook products.
Users criticisms about the app’s changed policies are rife and complaints about social media relating to personal data/information being misused are increasing. Telegram and Signal users are also increasing by the minute. What is the exact situation regarding the changes to WhatsApp and how concerned should people be?
Whatsapp security and privacy
WhatsApp is the largest messaging service in the world with over 2 billion monthly active users. Since its origins in 2009, WhatsApp has prided itself on its commitment to security and privacy with encrypted conversations and other important technologies integrated into the app. This is demonstrated by WhatsApp’s latest privacy policy dated February 2021 which, amongst others, states that –
“Your messages. We do not retain your messages in the ordinary course of providing our Services to you. Instead, your messages are stored on your device and not typically stored on our servers. Once your messages are delivered, they are deleted from our servers.”
In addition, the WhatsApp privacy policy states that WhatsApp and other third parties cannot read the messages of its users due to the built in end-to-end encryption (*E2E*). Also, WhatsApp cannot decrypt the contents of a user’s profile contents, that being messages, calls and photos.
This means that WhatsApp does not store personal information i.e. the content of your messages as such and deletes your messages on their servers immediately.
What WhatsApp has access to is metadata, IP addresses, profile pictures, status updates and user contact information. Whilst metadata does not allow anyone to read a user’s messages, it allows for transparency as to who and when a user messaged someone and for how long.
Telegram security and privacy
Telegram, an entity originally established in Russia with the aim of providing secure messaging, is the second largest messaging service in the world with over 400 million users. Even though Telegram offers encryption on messages and other information, it is not enabled by default – like that of WhatsApp. The only way to use E2E encryption on Telegram is to use its “secret chats” feature. In addition, the “secret chats” feature is only available for “chats” between two users. In theory, therefore, Telegram has access to your messages which are not covered by the veil of “secret chats” and they store this for 12 months. Based on the above high-level comparison of the security features utilised by WhatsApp and Telegram, it could be argued that WhatsApp’s security and privacy is more robust and secure than that of Telegram especially in that E2E encryption is a default feature. So what personal information does Telegram have access to? In the Telegram Privacy Policy it is stated that Telegram processes, amongst others, the following set of personal information –
basic account data such as user mobile number, profile name, profile picture and about information; user email addresses; and user messages in cloud chats such as messages, photos, videos and documents.
The above information goes further than the sets of personal information that WhatsApp has access to, and processes on behalf of its users, and WhatsApp by default provides E2E encryption.
Signal security and privacy
Several experts and users are encouraging people to move to Signal. Signal is an established, US based social messaging platform and is considered the best alternative to both WhatsApp and Telegram from a security and privacy perspective. Like WhatsApp, Signal makes use of the open-source Signal Protocol to implement E2E encryption for communication on Signal. However, while WhatsApp encrypts messages and calls (which is sufficient for most users), Signal goes a step further and encrypts metadata as well.
Furthermore, Signal also makes use of what is called “Sealed Sender”, which allows no one to be ble to know – not even Signal – who is messaging whom. This is but a small part of the Signal functionality. Other security features include, amongst others, passcode or biometrics lock and automatic face blur in messages. Considering personal information, Signal only stores a user’s phone number and nothing else.
The changes to WhatsApp privacy
In essence, the new changes to WhatsApp terms and privacy policy relate to how WhatsApp will share information within the Facebook group of companies and how any shared information will be used. These key updates
relate to –
WhatsApp’s service and how it processes your data;
how businesses can use Facebook hosted services to store and manage their WhatsApp chats; and
how WhatsApp partners with Facebook to offer integrations across Facebook’s product portfolio. It is important to note that the information collected by WhatsApp is not the “chats” of its users, as these are encrypted and therefore cannot be seen by the company. To the contrary, the information relates to personal data such as phone numbers of users (and their contacts, if the contacts make use of WhatsApp), profile names, pictures and diagnostic data.
The updated privacy policy makes it clear on how WhatsApp will share data with the Facebook family of apps for better advertising targeting. The fear is that this gives Facebook even more incentive to monetise user WhatsApp data. Statements have been made by many that the update of WhatsApp privacy policy will now enforce sharing of data from WhatsApp to Facebook and even that WhatsApp will completely invade user privacy.
However, is this really the case?
WhatsApp has added new features to allow people to communicate with businesses – and those businesses could be hosted by Facebook. However, users should be informed if that happens by the specific business. When speaking to a business who has decided to have its messages managed by Facebook, a message should appear – and users should stop engaging with the specific business if they would prefer that information not be managed by Facebook. Businesses making use of the WhatsApp platform will be able to make use of Facebook services to store the business – customer chats.
Going forward, there will be an even greater integration between WhatsApp and Facebook’s other products like Instagram and Messenger, but this means that they will share data like your phone number, transaction data (when available in SA) IP address and information on how you interact with businesses.
What exactly does this sharing of personal information between Facebook companies actually entail? The WhatsApp privacy policy states that this entails, amongst others, –
helping improve infrastructure and delivery systems;
understanding how the WhatsApp or Facebook services are used;
promoting safety, security and integrity across all Facebook company products;
improving services and user experience such as personalising features and contents, helping users to complete purchases and transactions and showing relevant offers and advertisements across the Facebook company products; and providing integrations which enable users to connect WhatsApp with other Facebook company products. For example, allowing users to connect to a Facebook Pay account to pay for things on WhatsApp.
So yes, advertising directed at a user specifically is possible and certain information will be shared to achieve that, but does Telegram differ in any significant way?
That is doubtful.
In less detail, the Telegram privacy policy states that Telegram may share user personal data with their parent company, Telegram Group Inc located in the British Virgin Islands and Telegram FZ-LLC, a group member located in Dubai to help provide, improve and support Telegram services. It has been reported that nearly eight years after its initial launch, Telegram needs to monetise its platform by either advertising or finding a buyer in order to ensure survival. Telegram’s Pavel Durov, stated that the company will begin serving advertisements to cover some of its costs.
Conclusion
Today, WhatsApp supports more than 50 million WhatsApp business app users. In order to help them and the thousands of larger businesses on the WhatsApp business API get discovered, the company is introducing these new features to start a chat with a business on WhatsApp to see what goods and services they offer.
The update to the WhatsApp privacy policy is cosmetic in nature and to a large extent aimed to allow people to communicate with businesses – which businesses are offered through WhatsApp and hosted by Facebook.
Also, when messages are conversed with those business accounts, they might be stored and managed by Facebook at the election of the specific business.
Data privacy laws across the world require clear and transparent communications with data subjects. Are we blaming WhatsApp for updating their communication so that users know what is happening in the background?
Therefore leaving aside Signal, is there really such a difference between WhatsApp and Telegram, so much so to necessitate a move from WhatsApp to Telegram? Or do other messaging platforms have a place?
www.vsoftsystems.co.za

Lockdown: Motsoaledi suspends applications for IDs, passports and marriage services

Cogta Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi updated South Africans on the new Covid-19 restrictions,
regulations and their enforcement on Tuesday.

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has suspended certain critical services, including applications for new IDs, passports and all marriage services.
Motsoaledi said between March and December 2020, 532 staff members tested positive for Covid-19.

In the first eight days of January 2021, about 116 employees tested positive and in the first 10 days of this year, the department lost seven.

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has temporarily suspended certain critical services, including applications for new IDs and passports.

Only matriculants may apply for an ID, while passport applications will only be accepted from those who are allowed to travel under the amended
regulations.

Motsoaledi said the suspension was forced by the increasing number of Department of Home Affairs employees who have tested positive for Covid-19.

“From 1 Jan 2021, our statistics are alarming. Out of the 412 offices, 266 offices had to close at some point since the lockdown began in March
2020 because [of] staff members testing positive. Some offices even closed more than once.

“This [has] led to a situation where out of the 5 734 employees, 4 502 were affected one way or the other. Either they were infected, or they
were contacts of those who were infected or came from families where somebody was infected.”

He added whenever a staff member tested positive, those who were in contact with him or her, including clients, have to be traced and the
office closed for decontamination.

“Between March and December 2020, a total of 532 staff members tested positive, mostly from Gauteng, Eastern Cape, Western Cape and
KwaZulu-Natal. In the first eight days of January 2021, we already had 116 staff members who tested positive and mostly from the same provinces.

“In the first 10 days of this year, we have already lost seven front office employees. All this is happening when the issuing of death
certificates is increasing exponentially.

“All indications are that at the end of January, we will have had even more death registrations than we had in December 2020,” said Motsoaledi.

Of those who visited home affairs offices daily, 29% are people who collect smart IDs, 16% apply for smart IDs, 11% for the issuing of
birth, marriage and death certificates and 10% are there to apply for temporary IDs.

“The department has decided to temporarily suspend certain services. This is unfortunate, but we are forced by circumstances. In choosing
which services to suspend temporarily, we were guided by some form of statistics.

“The department has suspended application for smart IDs except for matriculants, application for passports, except for those permitted to
travel, [and] marriage services will be suspended until further notice,” he added.

Motsoaledi pleaded with people to only collect IDs if they were specifically invited by an SMS.

SA just extended all visas again, which now makes for a year of extra time

• The latest visa extension brings the total amount of leeway afforded to foreigners since the beginning of the outbreak to more than 12 months.
• Foreigners who have been unable to leave South Africa due to lockdown measures will now have their visas automatically extended to 31 March 2021.
• This sets aside government’s “declaration of undesirability” clause which, under normal circumstances, would punish foreigners who have overstayed with expired visas.
Foreigners who have been stuck in South Africa due to the lockdown restrictions first implemented in March 2020 will benefit from yet another visa extension. Adjustments to Alert Level 3 regulations, gazetted on Monday 11 January 2021, have granted a further three-month grace period to foreigner’s holding expired visas.
This extension, the third of its kind granted since international travel restrictions were initially introduced to limit imported Covid-19 infections, will keep expired visas valid until 31 March 2021. The previous extension was due to lapse at the end of January.
In addition to including visas which expired since March 2020, the extension also applies to any foreigner who has travelled to South Africa in the last ten months and is still unable to return to their country of origin before April.
This waives government’s “declaration of undesirability” clause, which would usually ban foreigners, who have overstayed in South Africa with an expired visa, from re-entering the country for up to five years.
“A foreign tourist who arrived in the Republic prior to the commencement of this regulation. will have his or her visa automatically extended to 31 March 2021,” states the latest government gazette.
The latest extension takes the total amount of leeway afforded to stranded foreigners to just over a year.
The reprieve does not, however, permit foreigners to deviate from their visa’s terms and conditions. For example, those without a general work visa are still forbidden from entering into any employment agreement on South African soil. Contravening the visa’s terms and conditions, except for the period of validity which has been consistently extended, may still result in foreigners being deemed “undesirable”.
In the example of a foreigner being employed without a valid work visa, it’s the employer who will face a fine or imprisonment.
Amendments to the visa regulations coincide with the closure of South Africa’s land borders, following crippling congestion and fears of backlogged posts serving as the backdrop to “super spreader” events. Persons allowed to use the border for re-entry into South Africa include holders of long-term residence visas, work visas or business visas.
Further exceptions have been extended to the deportation of willing departure of foreign nationals returning to their countries of origin.
www.samigration.com

Relatives Visa

Relatives Visa
A Relative’s Visa may be issued by the Department to a foreigner who is a member of the immediate family of a citizen or a resident, providing that such citizen or resident provides the prescribed financial assurances.
This only applies to first level of kinship i.e: Brother, Sister, Mother, Father.
The period of validity of the Visa shall be determined by the financial assurance provided, but will not exceed a period of 24 months at a time. A relative Visa issued to a spouse shall lapse upon the dissolution of the spousal relationship and the Department may at any time satisfy itself that a good faith spousal relationship exists and or continues to exist.
Let SA Migration Intl handle your entire case from filling out the documentation to processing the application.

South African Retirement Visa

A retirement visa can be granted for 4 years to someone with a monthly pension, irrevocable annuity or retirement account of R37 000 from a net worth/combination of assets realizing R37 000 per month and wishes to retire temporarily or permanently in South Africa.
A South African Retired Person’s permit is ideal for people wishing to retire in South Africa temporarily or permanently subject to the financial criteria or parameters being satisfied. This South African visa category is designed for those intending to retire in the country or wishing to have a long stay in South Africa with the need to renew the visa or permit. This retirement visa is not based on age but rather on assets, rental income and / or bank accounts generating income. It is based upon foreigner providing proof that such foreigner has the right to a pension or an annuity or retirement account which will give such foreigner a prescribed minimum payment for the rest of his or her life from the country of his or her origin; or a minimum prescribed net worth generating income for life.
This South African immigration visa is a popular option for seasonal visitors, i.e. those visiting the country for a period of six months or more. An important point to observe is that successful applicants are under no obligation to apply for permanent residence.
The temporary grant may be renewed indefinitely so long as the requirements continue to be met. However, permanent residency does bestow additional benefits upon its holder. In South Africa, immigration through the retired person’s route can be either a temporary visa permit or a permanent residence visa as outlined in the eligibility criteria summarized below.
• The temporary route is granted for four years and is renewable indefinitely for four-year periods.
• The permanent route offers permanent residents the same rights and privileges as those with South African citizenship, with a few key exceptions, most notably the right to vote.
In both the temporary and permanent residence category the, South African Retired Persons Visa is based upon financial criteria and unlike a South African Work Visa, no prior job offer needs to be in place before an application can be made. Although unlike temporary South African visit visas, retired people can permitted to work if they wish, provided they apply under the correct visa category – Retirement plus Work Visa We wish to stress that the category “retired person”, does not confer a maximum or minimum age limit for this class of visa for South Africa. Retired person’s visas may be awarded to people of all ages, provided that the eligibility requirements below are met.
• A pension, retirement account or irrevocable annuity which has a value of at least R37, 000 per month. This requirement applies to each person making an application.
• Alternatively, candidates may obtain a South African visa of this kind by demonstrating a “net worth” through a combination of assets which equates to a minimum of R37, 000 per month. Once again, this criterion applies to each person making an application.
Work Conditions
The nature of this type of immigration to South Africa is such that no specific stipulations are in place regarding a candidate’s ability to work in South Africa. In most cases, it may be assumed that people embarking upon this route, based as it is upon a steady income from a source other than employment will not be entering the country to work. However, each case will be considered individually and candidates may be able to work during their time in the country.

Applicants wishing to work will need to submit an employment contract and is not required to demonstrate that a South African citizen or resident is available for the position. The idea here is that applicants under this category can supplement their income and that the rules have been relaxed significantly from the stringent work visa requirements.
Accompanying Dependents
Spouse immigration and dependent immigration are now provided through temporary South African Retired person’s visas. This route to South Africa is based upon the financial security of each applicant and unlike work permit visas or business visas, the dependent family members of retired applicants automatically qualify for visit visa status to accompany the principle applicant and does not have to meet the same criteria for temporary residence but for the purposes of permanent residence they are treated as one family unit.
However, in cases where an applicant successfully obtains permanent residence as a retired person, their spouse and/or dependent children, i.e. those aged under 21 will also qualify for permanent residency.
Financially Independent
An alternative route exists in the financially independent visa for which candidates would need to be able to demonstrate a net asset value totalling not less than R12 million.
In addition, it would also be necessary to demonstrate proof of payment of R120,000 as a non-refundable sum to the Director General of Home Affairs. The application for a financially independent visa will lead to permanent residence.
• A retired persons visa may be issued for a period exceeding three months to a foreigner who intends to retire in the Republic, provided that the foreigner provide proof that such foreigner has the right to a pension or an annuity or retirement account which will give such foreigner a prescribed minimum payment for the rest of his or her life from the country of his or her origin; or a minimum prescribed net worth.
• The Department may authorise the holder of a retired person permit to conduct work under terms and conditions as the Department may deem fit to determine under the circumstances.
• A retired person visa may allow its holder to sojourn in the Republic on a seasonal or continuous basis; and not exceed a four-year period, at the expiry of which it may be renewed one or more times.

South Africa Citizenship Options

• South African Citizen by Descent
• South African Citizen by Naturalisation:
• Automatic loss of Citizenship
• Resumption of South African citizenship
• Deprivation of Citizenship
• South African Citizen by Naturalisation:
• Automatic loss of Citizenship
• Resumption of South African citizenship
• Acquisition of the citizenship or nationality of another country
South African Citizen by Descent:
Anybody who was born outside of South Africa to a South African citizen. His or her birth has to be registered in line with the births and deaths registration act 51 of 1992.
South African Citizen by Naturalisation:
Permanent Resident holders of 5 or more years can apply for citizenship. Anybody married to a South African citizen qualifies for naturalisation, two years after receiving his or her permanent residence at the time of marriage.
A child under 21 who has permanent residence Visa qualifies for naturalization immediately after the Visa is issued.
Automatic loss of Citizenship.
This occurs when a South African citizen:
Obtains citizenship of another country by a voluntary and formal act, other than marriage, or;
Serves in the armed forces of another country, where he or she is also a citizen, while is at war with South Africa.
Deprivation of Citizenship:
A South African citizen by naturalization can be deprived of his citizenship if;
The certificate of naturalisation was obtained fraudulently or false information was supplied.
He or she holds the citizenship of another country and has, at any time, been sentenced to 12 months imprisonment in any country for an offence that also would have been an offence in South Africa.

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