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NYC’s Mayor: Bill de Blasio joins encrypted messaging app Signal to accompany other Lawmakers

March 23, 2020

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NYC mayor joins ranks of lawmakers using a disappearing messaging service – Signal Private Messenger

Luckily Signal Private Messenger has a feature that notifies other users when someone in their contact list creates an account. Due to this feature, reporters in New York came to know that the 109th mayor of New York City Bill de Blasio has joined the encrypted messaging app – Signal. As per media reports, a few days Back de Blasio had created an account on Signal which allows users to send highly encrypted disappearing messages to each other.

However, this move of De Blasio’s use of the app poses ethical and legal problems. Alex Camarda, a senior policy adviser for good government group Reinvent Albany said “We don’t think that any elected official should be using an app that does not preserve communications that are subject to the Freedom of Information Law and the records archiving laws,”. He adds “We don’t see how it’s possible to use that kind of app and be in compliance with those laws”.

To counter Camarda’s comment on De Blasio’s use of the Signal Private Messenger, de Blasio spokeswoman Freddi Goldstein at the mayor’s office said “City Hall abides by the rules for record retention. Use [of] a messaging app doesn’t change that.”

In addition to Mayor de Blasio, Government officials of different nations have been using Signal Private Messenger to communicate privately with their aides and supporters. Recent example of this – European Commission has told its staff to switch to the encrypted Signal app to increase the security of its communications.

American Civil Liberties Union also recommended Signal Private Messenger to the Senate Sergeant at Arms and to the House Sergeant at Arms by writing –

One of the most widely respected encrypted communication apps, Signal, from Open Whisper Systems, has received significant financial support from the U.S. government, has been audited by independent security experts, and is now widely used by computer security professionals, many of the top national security journalists, and public interest advocates. Indeed, members of the ACLU’s own legal department regularly use Signal to make encrypted telephone calls

Apart from the use of Signal Private Messenger by Government Officials, the messenger has also become one of the contact methods to securely provide tips to major news outlets such as The Guardian, The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times.

Why more & more Government Officials are using Signal Private Messenger?

The main reason behind this is all Signal communications are end-to-end encrypted, secured and cannot be accessed by anyone else other than concerned user. The app uses the world’s most advanced encryption technology i.e Signal Protocol.

Signal Protocol (formerly known as the TextSecure Protocol) combines the Double Ratchet Algorithm, prekeys, and a Triple Diffie-Hellman (3XDH) handshake. It uses AES-256, Curve25519, and HMAC-SHA256 as primitives.

The protocol offers confidentiality, authentication, participant consistency, integrity, forward secrecy, backward secrecy (aka future secrecy), message repudiation, causality preservation, message unlinkability, participation repudiation, destination validation, and asynchronicity. It does not provide anonymity preservation, and requires servers for the relaying of messages and storing of public key material.

The Signal Protocol also supports end-to-end encrypted group chats. The group chat protocol is a combination of a pairwise double ratchet and multicast encryption. In addition to the properties provided by the one-to-one protocol, the group chat protocol provides speaker consistency, computational equality, out-of-order resilience, dropped message resilience, trust equality, subgroup messaging, as well as contractible and expandable membership.

Kudos to Marlinspike & Brian Acton (Co-founder of WhatsApp) and the entire Signal team and everyone behind the Signal app, they created a product which was much needed in these times of mass surveillance. Signal is easy to use, simple, fast and secure instant messaging & calling application for not just tech nerds but also for general users who care about their data and security.

Get the Signal Private Messenger now & Stay a step ahead!

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