The creation of the foundation will enable Signal, which has been under the fiscal sponsorship of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, to operate as part of an exempt 501(c)(3) organization, while the gift from Acton will support, accelerate, and broaden the service's mission of "making private communication accessible and ubiquitous." Since releasing the app in 2014, Signal's creators have declined to solicit outside investors or accept venture capital funding because, as co-founder Moxie Marlinspike wrote in a blog post, "we felt that putting profit first would be incompatible with building a sustainable project that put users first. As a consequence, Signal has sometimes suffered from our lack of resources or capacity in the short term, but we've always felt those values would lead to the best possible experience in the long term."
Acton, who left WhatsApp and Facebook — which acquired WhatsApp in 2014 — last year, will serve as the foundation's executive chair, while Marlinspike will continue to serve as CEO. "[T]he best way to continue to ensure the universal availability of high-security and low-cost communications services like Signal is to do so through a foundation structure that is free of the inherent limitations of a for-profit company," wrote Acton.
"The Signal Foundation's mission is to develop open source privacy technology that protects free expression and enables secure global communication," he added. "Our plan is to pioneer a new model of technology nonprofit focused on privacy and data protection for everyone, everywhere."
(Image credit: Getty Images/Yuri Arcurs)