‘No one can read it’; Many Coloradans switching to encrypted messaging apps following Capitol mob

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DENVER (KDVR) — Millions of people around the world, including thousands of Coloradans, have been downloading encrypted messaging apps like ‘Signal’ and ‘Telegram’ in droves following last week’s attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Directly after the attack, big tech companies like Facebook and Twitter started removing thousands of far-right posts and accounts.

Since then, there’s been plenty of concern from users over privacy and censorship.

Apps like ‘Signal’ market themselves as the safest and most private messaging platforms out there with their encrypted messaging options.

“Essentially these apps are end to end encryption,” said Donald McClaughlin, co-founder & lead consultant of CPCyber in Denver.

What that means, McClaughlin explained, is if you’re using an app like ‘Signal’ or ‘Telegram’ — you and the person you’re sending a message to are the only ones that can decrypt and read them.

“So big tech companies can’t go in there and see it. Even if your traffic is intercepted, it’s encrypted. No one can read it,” McClaughlin said.

Not even law enforcement, McClaughlin added.

For some, this is concerning given how a large number of people who stormed the U.S. Capitol last said they’ve switched to encrypted messaging services after Facebook and Twitter booted them.

“Facebook can access messages in your messenger. They say they don’t,” McClaughlin said.

According to local experts, unless you’re using an encrypted messaging system, big tech platforms like Facebook and Twitter could go through your messages if they wanted to do.

So what’s the biggest difference between platforms like Facebook Messenger and Telegram?

“If big tech is subpoenaed and information is requested legally, then they may have to provide it. But if the software doesn’t store it or is designed to protect the user like Signal then there’s nothing the government can do,” McClaughlin said.

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