back to article Early Skype developer Jaan Tallinn splashes cash in latest funding for Matrix-based instant messenger Element

As Microsoft doubles down on efforts to kill Skype persuade users to chat with Teams, former Skype developer Jaan Tallinn has dropped some cash into the latest funding round for open-source IM client Element. Element, which provides a messaging app for and contributes development to the open communication protocol Matrix, has …

  1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Fizzled out

    Is he aware of his surroundings? I mean there is a bunch of legislation coming in the EU that will make such communicators likely not possible or pointless.

    For instance, all private communication will have to be scanned for presumed suspect content and then report suspected cases to the police.

    1. Andraž 'ruskie' Levstik

      Re: Fizzled out

      This is why matrix - end to end encryption - and anyone can run their own instance that federates with others. XMPP/Jabber is also an option.

      Bit hard to get scanned when there is no service provider to threathen their business model.

      1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: Fizzled out

        The thing is that the direction the law changes are heading, means it will no longer be possible in quite near future.

        The future may look in such a way that If you get stop and searched and they find Matrix on your phone or laptop, you'll be in trouble.

        This will be enough deterrent to stop majority of population from using such tools.

        1. Lee D Silver badge

          Re: Fizzled out

          At that stage, you're either a) in a legally-unenforceable area or b) already in an inescapable dictatorship anyway.

          I can't get in trouble for having uTorrent on my laptop any more than this software.

          And, if it's done anywhere vaguely NEAR sensibly enough, it will be virtually impossible to distinguish the traffic from any other HTTPS session (and likely nodes will be running on things like AWS which means even trying to block the major endpoints will be useless).

          I have no fear of someone making a piece of software that would be "illegal" to have on my laptop. There are no laws for that whatsoever. It's the actions you use that software to do that matter.

    2. codejunky Silver badge

      Re: Fizzled out

      @elsergiovolador

      "I mean there is a bunch of legislation coming in the EU that will make such communicators likely not possible or pointless."

      The EU will probably panic if people start to use it and ban the app.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fizzled out

      @elsergiovolador: I assume, because you've not provided any detail, that you are talking about the EU ePrivacy Regulation?

      There is nothing that I'm aware of that makes what you state likely - that "all private communication will have to be scanned...". In fact the ePrivacy Regulation, in line with much of EU laws in this area, provide protection to the consumer rather than the business.

      I can only assume you're refering to the fact that they have recently provided the legal framework by which a company is permitted - but not required - to scan for (particularly) child sex abuse imagery and report to the authorities. Previously, any company doing that had next-to-no legal basis for doing such a thing.

      1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: Fizzled out

        Yes, it is filled with the Orwellian speak, like you say the private message scanning is to protect the consumer.

        You can read more about this here:

        https://www.patrick-breyer.de/en/posts/message-screening/?lang=en

        The first stage permits company to do that, but there will be a follow up that will require companies to do that.

  2. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells

    It baffles me that Instant Messaging is so competitive given that MSN/ICQ/AIM/IRC basically ( between them ) perfected the technology before Windows XP was launched.

    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      A pretty GUI on top of SMS would work well enough for 90% of users.

      He'll raise a load of cash, grab a quick 10% of the market, flog it to MS/Apple/Google/Facebook (pick any one). It will then gradually die.

      Rinse and repeat.

    2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      It's interesting how IRC got banned from many networks due to being a favourite protocol to control botnets.

      Was this used as a pretext to turn it into a niche and pave a way for communicators like Teams?

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        No, it was because the protocol really is not very secure.

    3. AJ MacLeod

      I know what you're saying, but none of the above was/is end-end encrypted. That doesn't matter in the least for a lot of use cases of course, but it very much does for others.

  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "sticking a knife into email"

    Is that a joke ?

    Do you have any idea how important email is in the business arena today ?

    Instant Messaging is nice, but it is not something you can present in court. An email is a legal trace of information and, beyond that, it is a certified justification of what happened and when.

    If you really want to kill email, please wait until I've retired. Thank you.

    1. Robert Grant Silver badge

      Re: "sticking a knife into email"

      This sounds like something people said about email not too long ago. IM is just as auditable, and just as possible to appear in court.

    2. luminous

      Re: "sticking a knife into email"

      "it is not something you can present in court"

      Tell that to the capitol rioter who got sent to jail because of a message on a chat app....

    3. Irongut

      Re: "sticking a knife into email"

      I haven't sent a single email from my work account this year and all the emails it has recieved are internal corporate spam or from monitoring software.

      Business email is dead. Deal with it.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: "sticking a knife into email"

        I've sent over three dozen work emails in the past week, and received at least an order of magnitude more.

        Not everyone is you.

    4. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: "sticking a knife into email"

      The main advantage of e-mail is that it is entirely protocol-based meaning that, in theory at least, you can choose different clients and servers.

  4. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    The Quantum Leap Hurdle for Almighty Entry into Greater AI Races .....

    ............. Featuring Real Live Augmented Reality Events

    He did, however, ponder hiring a team to see "if we can do something like email integration, for example, without going disturbing the work of the central team."

    Ah Yes, ..... Ye Olde Stalwart Successful SkunkWorks Root ...... which can be extremely disturbing whenever Just Luscious Reward is so Almightily Tempting and Bewilderingly EMPowering.

    Many a Troubled Soul has Failed Spectacularly to Survive and Prosper and Invest Deeper into the Source of such Source/the Core[s] of such an Ore. The Search though never done in Order to Provide and EMPower Guaranteed FailSafe Supply of COSMIC Feeds and Seeds for SMARTR Nurturing to Bounty for Harvesting with Further Enrichment Projects to Program and to Add and AIDevelop from the Profits Generated by Enterprises Adding Value and Core Ore Worth.

    If you're a troubled soul travelling further on, either alone or in the company of others and strangers, through portals revealed here for transfer to anywhere or anyone else out there laying out Future Paths with Massive Networks for Complicated Creatures of Novel Habit, hang ten, take five, and breathe in the message to exhale and exort all to take care and pay real future attention to strange forces ally vying to attend to your needs and supply all your feeds and seeds.

    Many more than just some are as a scum in a scam featuring snake oil sales teams. ....... and are gravely regarded.

    The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present -- and is gravely to be regarded.

    Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite. ....https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/eisenhower-farewell/

    Which is all very well, .......and thanks for the warnings, Ike. What are the plans for dealing with such an escalation of kernel privileges?

    1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells
      Holmes

      Re: The Quantum Leap Hurdle for Almighty Entry into Greater AI Races .....

      Just out of interest: do you know that you are posting complete bollocks?

      1. snowpages

        Re: The Quantum Leap Hurdle for Almighty Entry into Greater AI Races .....

        If amanfromMars1 DID know, then I would be very impressed (and scared...)

      2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: The Quantum Leap Hurdle for Almighty Entry into Greater AI Races .....

        Just out of interest: do you know that you are posting complete bollocks? ... Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells

        Says the tamed voice in the wilderness which shared .....

        Re: Everyone's an expert

        El Reg binned off their readers in 2017 when they switched their political slant from grownup to way over to the left.

        The idea, of course, being to attract the young and stupid.

        And we've now got the comments reflective of that. .... https://forums.theregister.com/forum/all/2021/07/19/freedom_day/#c_4300061

        The deserved prize for that is another right good bollocking ......

        GrahamC [2107271737] ...... being failed by siloed systems right at the beginning of a Much SMARTR Friendship touted/pimped and pumped and dumped on https://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/articles/2021/7/26/ndia-launches-emerging-technologies-institute

        Let's try to post this one more time here to discover where the corporate harm is being done on a forum manifestly unfit for Future Greater IntelAIgent Games Play Purpose.

        There is much to be learned and taught to be exercised and optimised in such newly optimistic opportunistic Entrepreneurial Venture Capitalised AIdVentures. Bravo, NDIA Hawks ...... and you already have chain mail responses. ........ Re: Right to repair with surreal interventions/otherworldly improvements ........ with further beta proofing of failsafe crash testing dummies required and freely supplied whenever and wherever wanted and/or discovered to be lacking...... AWOL/MIA/Currently Unavailable.

        Something which was not accepted earlier for post hosting [2107271716] on https://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/articles/2021/7/26/ndia-launches-emerging-technologies-institute, with in its stead a simple redirection to https://www.ndia.org/about/media/press-releases/2021/7/20/dod-advisory-detailing-chinese-cyber-threat-activity

        The ponder is now on whether such would be an Appropriate or Inappropriate in the Current Circumstances APT ACTion?

        [Sorry, an error has occurred on the page you are trying to access.] .... 00Ps

        There is much to be learned and taught from here too, Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells, if you think comments on El Reg are attractive to and reflective of the young and stupid and less than politically grownup for such be the future personified.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Already here?...............

    .....just thinking about Ricochet. Not only encrypted, but routed over TOR. No servers, no logging, I believe. Anonymous as far as snoopers are concerned. See:

    - Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ricochet_(software)

    We need more applications like this....almost as anonymous as staying offline completely and using snail mail or dead letter boxes!

    1. NetBlackOps Bronze badge

      Re: Already here?...............

      Routing over TOR is no panacea as it’s fairly well known in that community that nation-state actors like to sit on nodes provided by themselves.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Already here?...............

        @NetBlackOps

        How about answering the question? A nation state would need to be doing multiple independent things:

        - Sit on entry node

        - Sit on exit node

        - Match up transaction details

        Is this three part set up even likely?

        .........and even then it's quite likely that the sender and the recipient are STILL ANONYMOUS!!!!!

        .........and a bit better than the "end-to-end" encryption supplied by WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram et al.

        So.......tell me again that Ricochet is not (at least) an improvement over some of the alternatives.

    2. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells

      Re: Already here?...............

      I2P is probably better suited. It's a shame it's such a faff to set up compared to Tor.

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Already here?...............

      If it's not encrypted then it's easily intercepted.

  6. Cincinnataroo

    Too much silliness

    Despite the buffoons who talk of "killing email" and "the EU telling humanity to do some other silly thing" there is real promise here. Progress way too slow though.

    This looks interesting as does the "Bluesky" project (don't know the current status though).

    I hope we can break free of the current stupidity in communication.

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