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Snowden: Don’t Use Google’s New Messaging App, Allo

September 23, 2016

Edward Snowden has some strong words for mobile users thinking of trying Google’s new messaging app, Allo: Don’t do it. The NSA whistleblower made the remarks just hours after Google released its new messaging app without a promised privacy feature turned on by default.

Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden

Announced earlier this year, Allo was supposed to store content transiently rather than indefinitely on Google servers. Unfortunately, the app version released earlier this week doesn’t do this.

As The Verge explains:

The records will now persist until the user actively deletes them, giving Google default access to a full history of conversations in the app.

Snowden is not amused, explaining:

Two important points

Deleted are eventually removed from Google’s servers. However, for this to happen, both people in the conversation must have removed the message. (You can delete single messages or entire conversations in Allo.)

Finally, it’s important to note that users can still experience an end-to-end encryption experience in Allo. To do so, you can use the Incognito feature, which hides messages from everyone (including Google) except for you and the person you’re chatting with.

We’ll continue to follow this story in the days ahead.

Google Allo — smart messaging
Google Allo — smart messaging
Google, Inc.