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Signal supports encrypted group video calling

December 15, 2020

Signal announced that the encrypted messaging app added support for conference video calls for up to five people.

The work and study conditions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic led to the emergence of applications supporting conference video calling this year.

Signal now joins the fight and offers a secure way to video chat with friends or colleagues.

Fans of Signal appreciate the ability to rely on the app for conference calls as well, although most people at this point in time have their favorite video conferencing app.

Other video conferencing apps, such as Zoom, have faced a host of security issues over the past few months.

One of the concerns users raised about Zoom was that it did not contain end-to-end encryption, as it claimed to have included this feature since 2016, when the truth was that it started rolling it out this year.

Conference calls can be initiated by clicking the video call button at the top of the supported group chat.

The company says: The calls are end-to-end encrypted, like anything else within Signal.

By default, participants are shown in a grid, but you can scroll up to get the view that focuses on the person currently speaking.

With a limit of five, Signal will not replace videoconferencing services, such as Zoom, anytime soon, but the company says it is working to increase the maximum number of participants in calls over time.

Group video calls are available for Android and iOS, and are currently limited to the new-style group chats within Signal, and will not appear in old chats.

Signal launched its new group chats again in October, adding support for tagging people, group admins, and more granular permissions.

And the company wrote in a blog post: Conference calling is one of the many features we designed with special Signal groups in mind as the basis for this feature, and we used our RingRTC library to handle encryption, call settings and how to join them.

And old chats are being upgraded to the new chat mode in the coming weeks, Signal says.