Brussels / 3 & 4 February 2024


[Security] Modern chat-mail for security-sensitive helplines

Helplines and NGOs working with sensitive populations in at-risk areas require a robust, secure but also usable communication tooling. They need to have a system that lets anyone contact them in a secure and pseudonymous way, without revealing who manages the hotline; they also need to be able to organize their internal workflow securely and safely enroll new members.

We have conducted a user survey among grassroots helplines in Eastern Europe and identified several common traits: first, they rely on a patchwork of tools (messaging apps, cloud storage, task trackers) therefore multiplying potential vulnerabilities; second, they are critical towards popular secure messaging apps that either leak your phone numbers (e.g. Signal), or do not guarantee end-to-end encryption (e.g. Telegram) or may seem tricky to onboard for non-techies (e.g. Element).

What we propose is a chat-mail service using Delta Chat messaging suite, adapted specifically for hotlines and NGOs. Delta Chat is a federated, crossplatform, free and open source messaging app that works over email and offers state of the art end-to-end encryption using Autocrypt and SecureJoin with multiple audits.

During this presentation we will demonstrate how our chat-mail service can help high-risk user groups. We will specifically focus on instant onboarding, shared account management, account portability, guaranteed end-to-end encryption and embedded collaborative chat-apps ("webxdc") such as notepads, calendars, task trackers etc. We will also share user stories from the field, since all these features are tested with real hotlines.


Photo of holga holga