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Signal has started testing the use of account usernames, to allow users to keep their phone number private. This is Edwin Kwan from Sydney Australia. Currently a mobile number is required when registering for an account on Signal and that number is what other users use to connect and reach out to you. For those wanting additional privacy, there wasn’t anyway around this, apart from getting a burner phone and using that number to register for an account. Signal has recently started testing the use of usernames. A phone number is still required for registering an account. However users would be able to turn off phone number discovery in their privacy settings and only allow the username to be the primary way others can contact them. The usernames are paired with a set of digits and aren’t shared on their profile. And each username has a unique QR code and link for easy sharing with friends. The username functionality is only available in their staging environment, which is a completely different environment to their production systems. Users wishing to try this functionality out will need to install and run a new build, and register for a new account with a phone number. People wishing to contact them will also need to be registered in their staging environment. Signal first indicated the development of usernames about a year ago, allowing users to use the encrypted messaging service without disclosing their phone number.

This segment was created for the It’s 5:05 podcast