Google has released an encrypted messaging app, Allo. According to Edward Snowden, you should never use it.
Google unveiled the app earlier this week, joining a host of popular messaging apps offering increased levels of privacy. Allo is not private by default, but has an option allowing for conversations to be taken “incognito,” supposedly employing end-to-end encryption.
However, Snowden insists that Allo is not to be trusted. Via a series of tweets, the former NSA whistleblower drove this opinion home, saying: “Last year, our secret court approved 100% of requests for surveillance. They would cover Allo.” He went so far as to brand the app a direct trap for spying on citizens after lulling them into a fale sense of security, calling it “Google Surveillance”
Google’s record of cooperating closely with governments
Far from a champion of individual security against the interests of prying governments, Google has displayed a rather poor track record of supporting freedom for the people, instead working closely to advance the agendas of the western powers. Just before an interview with the head of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, a representative of YouTube, owned by Google, threatened French blogger Laetitia Birbes, telling her to refrain from asking tough questions.
The encryption wars have begun to heat up
Since Snowden’s initial revelation that the US government was secretly spying on its citizens, encryption has its opponents have burst to the forefront of public debate. France and Germany want the EU to ban end-to-end encryption, while in the US the FBI promises to do the same next year. Despite falling on the side of government control and against individual choice, Hillary Clinton uses Signal encryption for her campaign staff.
Meanwhile, the encryption community is digging its heels in, ready for a long conflict. The Tor Project has implemented higher community standards, including a pledge against creating backdoors in programs encrypted to allow access for law enforcement. As Tor becomes dated tech and only to be trusted for encrypted browsing until governments find a way to crack it, the next generation of encrypted tools now appears on the horizon.