Element is a messaging app that makes use of multiple independent servers that are able to talk to each other. Element users can also control their own server and still make use of the larger communications network. The app can be downloaded for free from the App Store, and only requires an email address to sign up.
Has there ever been a breach or data leak?
No known hacks or data breaches!
Is any kind of biometric data collected (health, heart, voice, etc.)?
Are you able to delete your data / the data collected about you?
Does it have parental controls?
Does it use encryption to protect your data both in-transit and at-rest?
Does it get regular software and / or firmware updates?
Does it require you to create a strong password?
Is there a system in place for managing security vulnerabilities?
How Can It Snoop?
Does it have a camera or request / require access to a camera?
Does it have a microphone or request / require access to a microphone?
Does it track your location or request / require access to location data?
Does it require an email address to use?
Does it require a phone number to use?
Does it require an address (home or office) to use?
Are you able to use a credit card as a payment option?
Are you able to use a cryptocurrency as a payment option?
Are you able to use PayPal as a payment option?
Are you able to use cash or gift cards as a payment option?
What Could Go Wrong?
Not much risk in using this app. Element uses independent servers which means that the company does not store all data in one location, and all stored data is end-to-end encrypted.
How Does It Share Your Data?
Element may share your data with a third party if and only if it is required by law, protects the integrity of the service, or may prevent immediate harm to a user. Otherwise, messages are hosted in local servers, which makes it very secure.
- Open source.
- Allows for greater control over data when running your own server.
- Generally targeted less by governments.
- Federated servers require trusting your server's administrator.
- Some metadata may be available, but not actual message content.
- Server administrators can block other servers.
It does not appear as though Element has suffered from a major data breach. Element is extremely secure as it makes use of federated servers and end-to-end encryption, and does not require an email or phone number to sign up. If you want the highest level of privacy for your messages, Element is a good choice.