In the wake of Edward Snowden's revelations, a San Franciso privacy group has revealed that all of the major messaging apps have fundamental flaws.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) released its Secure Messaging Scorecard today, evaluating dozens of messaging technologies on a range of security best practices.
The scorecard includes more than three dozen tools, including chat clients, text messaging apps, email applications, and technologies for voice and video calls - and found all of the major players were left wanting.
'The revelations from Edward Snowden confirm that governments are spying on our digital lives, devouring all communications that aren't protected by encryption,' said EFF Technology Projects Director Peter Eckersley.
'Many new tools claim to protect you, but don't include critical features like end-to-end encryption or secure deletion.
'This scorecard gives you the facts you need to choose the right technology to send your message.'
EFF examined them on seven factors, like whether the message is encrypted both in-transit and at the provider level, and if the code is audited and open to independent review.
Six of these tools scored all seven stars, including ChatSecure, CryptoCat, Signal/Redphone, Silent Phone, Silent Text, and TextSecure.
Apple's iMessage and FaceTime products stood out as the best of the mass-market options, although neither currently provides complete protection against sophisticated, targeted forms of surveillance.
Many options—including Google, Facebook, and Apple's email products, Yahoo's web and mobile chat, Secret, and WhatsApp—lack the end-to-end encryption that is necessary to protect against disclosure by the service provider.
Several major messaging platforms, like Mxit, and the desktop version of Yahoo Messenger, have no encryption at all.
'We're focused on improving the tools that everyday users need to communicate with friends, family members, and colleagues,' said EFF Staff Attorney Nate Cardozo.
'We hope the Secure Messaging Scorecard will start a race-to-the-top, spurring innovation in stronger and more usable cryptography.'