Editor’s note: This article is the second in a series focusing on the best encrypted apps and services available. Content has been provided by an anonymous security and privacy professional. Readers are encouraged to confirm this information on their own.

What Should You Look for in an Encrypted Communication App/Service?

It should be independently audited for privacy/security. Many are open source, meaning that anyone can audit the source code (though an amateur being able to audit the product is not a substitute for an expert actually having done so), and that future companies’ development teams will be able to specialize on whatever feature makes their own product unique – in addition to OpenPGP, several services/apps listed are based on the relatively new Signal Protocol.

It should have a transparent business model, free from conflicts of interest. Ad-supported online businesses (e.g., most of the internet) are predicated on exchanging their service for information about you – i.e., if you aren’t the customer, you’re the product. Look at the permissions that apps require – are they strictly what the app’s function requires? And as seen above, end-to-end-encryption of message content, but not metadata, doesn’t really protect you from companies like Google or Facebook.