Encrypted messaging app Sign seems to be blocked in China


The Sign Messenger app is displayed on a smartphone in Hong Kong, China.

Roy Liu | Bloomberg | Getty Photographs

GUANGZHOU, China — Encrypted messaging app Sign has stopped working in China and is now solely accessible by way of a digital personal community (VPN).

China blocks many overseas apps and providers together with these from Facebook and Google. However Sign had beforehand not been barred by the so-called Nice Firewall.

Sign claims to be end-to-end encrypted, that means the corporate itself nor any outsiders can view the contents of messages between a sender and the supposed recipient. This additionally means authorities can’t listen in on messages.

CNBC examined Sign on three completely different units and messages didn’t undergo, suggesting it has been blocked by authorities. The app was nonetheless accessible for obtain by way of Apple’s China App Retailer.

Sign was not instantly accessible for remark when contacted by CNBC.

The messaging app, nonetheless, nonetheless labored when used with a VPN. A VPN or digital personal community permits customers to guard privateness and circumvent web restrictions by connecting to servers world wide.

Sign being blocked in China highlights the rising web censorship on the earth’s second-largest financial system.

Downloads of Sign surged earlier within the 12 months after rival WhatsApp changed its terms of service to allow the sharing of some data with its dad or mum firm Fb.

Sign is comparatively small in China with 510,000 downloads thus far from Apple’s App Retailer, in response to Sensor Tower. However the app supplied a uncommon avenue for sending encrypted messages via a overseas platform and not using a VPN.

Nonetheless, the dominant messaging app in China stays Tencent-owned WeChat with over a billion users.