The Scoop: Jami has developed an open-source and distributed communication software that can offer its users more security when conducting video calls or carrying on text chats through the web. The technology facilitates free, private, and anonymous communication that is compatible with iOS, Android, Linux, Windows, macOS, and Android TV. Online daters can use Jami to set up video chats that are safe from spying and prying eyes.
The coronavirus pandemic has caused a huge shift in the dating scene. Millions of singles have turned away from bars, restaurants, and nightclubs and are seeking more socially distanced ways to connect with someone new. Video chatting started trending worldwide, and it proved particularly helpful to active daters.
The dating app Hinge recently surveyed its membership base and found that 85% of users agreed that video chatting is a good way to get to know a potential date while social distancing.
Singles and couples naturally have some security concerns when it comes to video dating. You don’t want a stranger Zoombombing your first date — or something even more intimate — so it’s important to choose video conference software that makes privacy a priority.
That’s exactly what Jami does with its free, open-source software.
Jami offers a secure alternative for audio and video communications conducted via any mobile or desktop device. Its end-to-end encryption is appealing to privacy-conscious people all over the world.
Couples can feel secure that when they use Jami they are entering a private space where they can flirt, chat, and develop a personal connection without worrying that their data will fall into the hands of shady corporations.
Christophe Villemer, Advocacy Vice President at Jami, told us the team is currently hard at work on an updated version of the software, which should be available in early October. The new version will offer major improvements in video adaptation, stability, and connectivity. It will also have greater capacity for multiparty video conferencing.
“We want to give the public internet tools that truly respect the privacy of its users,” Christophe said. “It’s totally peer-to-peer and distributed communication — that’s the magic of Jami.”
A Peer-to-Peer Software Solution Gives Users Peace of Mind
Several years ago, a Canadian company called Savoir-faire Linux partnered with technologists all over the world to address privacy issues in video communication. The group of software engineers developed Jami to be a free and open-source software alternative to Skype, Zoom, and Whatsapp.
“It was a huge challenge because all the major tools use centralized or decentralized servers,” Christophe said. “So we had to figure out how to have a distributed peer-to-peer solution that will ensure users don’t need to go through a server trust center to communicate.”
Jami connects one device to another with end-to-end encryption, which means there is no way for anyone to intercept or hack into the call. All the information remains within the individual’s device, and that provides users with great peace of mind.
The video functionality is sleek and fast because it follows the shortest route between two devices — no need to divert to a server or data center in another part of the world.
The Jami team stands behind the quality of its service, and it’s constantly coming out with new versions to make the online chatting experience even easier.
“We always want to do it the best way,” Christophe told us. “We want it to be universal. The beauty of Jami is we do not manage the use of the software, so we see all kinds of people looking for a secure way to communicate.”
The Platform Does Not Ask for Personal Details Upon Signup
Jami is a completely free video chat service with no ads and simple features. Users do not need much experience to get the hang of this software. The first step is to download the Jami software on the device you wish to use for video chatting. The platform is compatible with Android, iOS, Linux, macOS, and Windows.
The signup process does not require users to submit an email address or phone number. All they need to do is come up with a unique username. The platform uses blockchain technology to make sure the name hasn’t already been taken by someone else.
If you’re really committed to remaining anonymous, you can use a 40-character signature generated by Jami. This string of characters has no significance and cannot be searched or traced back to you.
Jami recognizes each user by the device and creates a private key to unlock the account, so there is no need for users to add any identifying information. From start to finish, users can expect a streamlined experience with privacy controls built into the software.
Approximately 100,000 people have used Jami to host video calls with friends, family members, colleagues, and significant others. Jami does not collect demographic information from users, but Christophe said that, from observation, it appears that Jami is particularly popular among doctors, lawyers, hackers, and other professionals with serious privacy concerns.
Jami has taken off in the U.S. and Europe, and it has also proven useful to journalists and activists in conflict-ridden parts of the world. For instance, when the Iranian government shut down the internet for a week in 2019, many young people used Jami, which does not require an internet connection, to stay in touch.
During the coronavirus lockdowns of 2020, Jami saw a huge uptick in activity all over the globe. Downloads increased 500% in March and April, and the software has continued to build its membership base to include privacy-conscious individuals who do not feel comfortable giving their information to big tech companies.
“Our users are concerned about their privacy,” Christophe said. “This overlaps with the dating market, of course, because we’ve seen issues with people being spied on or recorded without their knowledge.”
Jami can offer the dating public a peer-to-peer video chat solution that can keep their secrets and help them build intimacy online in a safe and secure environment.
Hard-Working Engineers Continually Learn & Improve
Jami is the passion project of a multicultural team based in Montreal. Its software engineers come from 20 countries and speak many different languages. But they all feel strongly about the importance of data privacy in the fast-growing and interconnected online world.
“We are very well known in the open-source world,” Christophe said. “We have always been very involved in the open-source movement, and we are always working to give society better tools to communicate.”
The team has leveraged its expertise in video technology to make Jami more secure and trustworthy than some of the biggest names in the space. This plucky 50-person team is taking on juggernauts like Skype and Zoom, so every person has to be at the top of their game.
Right now, Jami’s development team is burning the midnight oil to complete an updated version of the software that will bring greater efficiency and functionality to users. Like its predecessors, it will be free.
In addition to the in-house team, Jami has gotten support from vloggers, developers, and other tech-savvy folks with a stake in online privacy issues. Community members from Spain, Brazil, Iran, and other countries have provided translations into different languages to make the software more accessible to people around the globe.
Jami is backed by the Free Software Foundation and distributed under a General Public License that guarantees users can run, share, and modify the software.
“We want to make an open-source project with a strong community all over the world,” Christophe said. “And that will make it stronger and more competitive.”
Jami is an Ally to Privacy-Conscious People Worldwide
Online dating platforms have witnessed a huge shift in how its users communicate and build relationships during the coronavirus outbreak. And there’s reason to believe that video chats will become a permanent feature of the dating world. In its survey, Hinge discovered that a solid 52% of users plan to continue going on video dates even after the pandemic is over.
If video dating is the new normal, then privacy-conscious services like Jami are more critical than ever. Jami offers a secure way to communicate with potential dates anywhere in the world. Couples can use this open-source software to engage in a one-on-one video chat or audio call without putting their personal data on the line.
“We can assure users that the chat is only on your device and the device(s) of the person or people you communicate with,” Christophe said. “So you just have to be careful about what that person will do with it.”