Signal, the encrypted messaging app, has tapped Meredith Whittaker, a former adviser to the Federal Trade Commission chair and an synthetic intelligence qualified who protested Google’s use of the know-how for army jobs, as its president.

In the freshly developed role, Ms. Whittaker will information coverage and technique for the messaging app and function to extend Signal’s enterprise.

Signal, which is committed to its users’ privacy, does not know how numerous persons use the app, whilst the selection appears to be expanding. The app has been downloaded far more than 100 million instances from the Google Enjoy retail store, and it ranks 15th amid social networking applications on Apple’s Application Keep.

The change from textual content messaging to protected apps like Signal is portion of “a increasing community awareness above the earlier fifty percent-ten years of the harms and actuality of the Massive Tech surveillance business enterprise product,” Ms. Whittaker reported in an interview. That awareness, she extra, has led men and women to “make options that reject that business model and function to protect their privacy.”

Signal, which started out in 2014 and captivated privacy-minded consumers from Silicon Valley, has developed into a mainstay messaging application. The company is no cost. Compared with other free of charge applications, Signal has never ever lifted venture funds funding or sold advertising.

The nonprofit that maintains Signal is funded by donations — most notably a $50 million infusion in 2018 from Brian Acton, a co-founder of WhatsApp and Signal’s interim main executive. (Mr. Acton remaining WhatsApp, which is owned by Meta, in 2017 and has turn into a vocal critic of Meta.) Signal also collects donations from end users, fulfilling contributors with badges that they can display screen on their profiles.

“Brian’s contribution aided lay a foundation where by we have the space to get the job done toward a broad base of assistance that sustains Sign for the long phrase,” Ms. Whittaker claimed. “It prices tens of thousands and thousands of dollars each calendar year to manage Signal, and that is a really lean spending budget in comparison to our level of competition.”

In comparison with the hundreds of persons functioning on WhatsApp, Sign employs around 40 individuals.

Ms. Whittaker, who did not provide her age, worked at Google as an artificial intelligence researcher for much more than a decade. In 2018, she protested the company’s involvement in Project Maven, a army undertaking that utilised synthetic intelligence to interpret visuals gathered by drones, and its $90 million payout to an govt accused of sexual harassment.

She left Google in 2019 and has considering the fact that suggested the F.T.C. chair, Lina Kahn, on synthetic intelligence concerns and investigated synthetic intelligence and ethics as a professor at New York College.

Ms. Whittaker stated she prepared to focus on policy as Congress weighed a invoice that could demand organizations like Sign to split encryption and scan the contents of users’ messages.

“To continue to keep our privateness claims,” she mentioned, “we have to have to maintain our privacy layouts robust.”