Open Whisper Systems Praised for Collecting Minimal User Data

Customers and privacy advocates applauded Open Whisper Systems (OWS) after an unsealed court document revealed how the company’s product design had prevented user data from being turned over to the government. By default, OWS’s encrypted messaging app Signal “simply does not keep the kinds of information about their customers” that governments would seek, such as information about message content or relating to senders and recipients. This design decision was vindicated when OWS received an FBI subpoena in early 2016 seeking a broad array of user information. In response, OWS could only provide the limited information it possessed: the time and date of the app's registration and last use. OWS's decision to make privacy a default setting in its easy-to-use app was cheered by privacy advocates and Signal users, which include Edward Snowden, Laura Poitras, and Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign staff.

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