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As Snowden Says Goodbye to Google's Allo, Does Secure Messaging Actually Exist?

© AFP 2022 / JONATHAN NACKSTRANDUS National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden
US National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden - Sputnik International
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NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has warned his Twitter followers away from using Google's new chat app unless they want their online privacy compromised.
​Allo, which was announced by Google earlier this year, was hailed as a new era in more private online messaging with end-to-end encryption.

​However, the latest version of the messaging app that Google is rolling out, will store users' messages indefinitely on its servers that are accessible to Google's algorithms — and will remain there unless the user goes out of their way to actively delete them.

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Basically, Google will have full access to your conversation history in the messaging app and should any law enforcement agency fancy a peek, the messages will be accessible.

​There is a way to turn off Google's data collection in Allo by switching to an "incognito" setting but then you forfeit any of the app's unique features.

"We've given users transparency and control over their data in Google Allo," a spokesperson for the Internet giant said.

"And our approach is simple — your chat history is saved for you until you choose to delete it. You can delete single messages or entire conversations in Allo… We also provide the option to chat in incognito mode, where messengers are end-to-end encrypted and you can set a timer to automatically delete messages for your device and the person you're chatting with's device at a set time."

For messages to be secure, they have to be encrypted before they leave your device and only read by the person the message is intended for. End-to-end encryption is like having a key and a door that fits together.

However, according to recent reports, there a five secure messengers for iPhone, Android, Windows Phone and Blackberry.

Signal Private Messenger, is a free secure messenger service for Android and iOS.

Blackberry Messenger, whose users are identified by a unique personal identification number (PIN) not by their cellphone number or email address.

​Gliph, can be used on the go on your smartphone or in the office on your desktop. You can also permanently delete messages from your device as well as the recipient's device.

Wickr lets you set an expiry date on every message you send. 

​Telegram, allows you to program your messages to self-destruct from two devices at a chosen time. 

​But what would Snowden use?

So, before the Internet has even has a chance to say "allo" it appears privacy campaigner Edward Snowden's "goodbye Google" has dealt the tech giant an welcome blow. 

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