Trump staffers trying real hard to text privately
Forget dot commers complaining about their bosses on Whisper or tech-savvy peeps using PGP keys to send private emails. Encrypted messaging apps like Signal and now Confide have moved beyond the tech and/or lefty sectors into the government, with White House staffers now using them to text with one another about the current administration.
With a White House that’s so dumb about technology that the President’s tweeting from an unsecured Android and growing more paranoid by the day, it’s no surprise that employees would try and protect themselves with encrypted apps. The problem is that they might not be so secure after all — and it could even be illegal for government use.
House Science Committee chair Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Rep. Darin LaHood (R-Illinois) have called for an investigation into the use of apps like Signal and Confide, writing, “In this instance, the Committee is concerned that these encrypted and off-the-record communication practices, if true, run afoul of federal record-keeping requirements, leaving information that could be responsive to future Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and congressional requests unattainable.”
Unlike Signal, Confide’s features include self-destructing messages and the inability to take screenshots from inside the app. If Trump starts trying to sniff out leaks, the idea is these apps will aid and abet employees talking smack about their insane bosses or chatting it up with reporters. Maybe. Perhaps more importantly — at least to users — is that Confide might not be so confident after all.
According to BuzzFeed News, “an independent cybersecurity researcher… said he was part of a team of researchers who were currently investigating the app and had found “a number of problems… we would not recommend this app to someone looking for secure messaging.”
Never forget. All your base are belong to us.