There are quite a few messenger applications with support for end-to-end-encryption, so in other words, just you and the person you’re talking to can read the conversation. Let me assure you that Briar stands out from all these options. The program is only available as a beta Android app at present, this is something that you should know from the start, yet it uses the Tor network to provide the anonymous communication tools that you might be looking for.
Building such a project is far from an easy task, yet the result is quite remarkable. This app uses a peer-to-peer system without centralized servers. Those who use it can easily exchange messages with one another directly. Well, you should know that these messages are end-to-end encrypted and are sent without any metadata.
All these are possible as long as Briar uses Tor to exchange messages, yet it can function without Tor access too. The app can either connect to Wi-Fi networks or use a local mesh of Bluetooth connections to transmit messages, so if your network blocks Tor, you can still send encrypted messages using Bluetooth or ad-hoc Wi-Fi.
Even more, you don’t need me to tell you that an encrypted messaging app such as this one makes no good if it can be broken into. That’s exactly why the Briar team had the app audited by security firm Cure53, and all the reported problems have already been fixed. Briar’s cryptography is one of a kind, so don’t hesitate to take a closer look at the detailed report here.
Adding contacts can be easily done by scanning a QR code on the other user’s device. However, you should keep in mind that screenshots are blocked by the app, so the only method to add a contact is to physically be with the person you want to message. And another negative aspect is that Briar requires a constant connection to Tor, and uses a persistent notification to get the job done which could severely affect the battery life. However, all these are in the name of privacy, so can you really complain?
Take the Briar Beta app from here and keep in mind that a desktop app is something the developers are looking into for the coming months as well.