Magazine article Information Management

White House Use of Encrypted Messaging May Violate Law

Magazine article Information Management

White House Use of Encrypted Messaging May Violate Law

Article excerpt

As reported in the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere, senior Trump administration aides are using encrypted messaging apps to communicate, which might violate federal recordkeeping laws.

The Journal reported that aides close to the president are using Signal, which encrypts data end to end. The app was reportedly used by some staff in the Obama administration as well.

The incentive to encrypt may have been boosted by the hacking of the Democratic National Committee. But by keeping such communications private, the administration may be violating the Presidential Records Act, which requires staff to keep records of conversations.

The article quotes Michael Morisy, founder of news site MuckRock: "If new agency appointees are using Signal or other disappearing message apps routinely for work, even if it's not classified, that's a serious lapse in records retention policy. Email retention is still a huge struggle, and I have a hard time believing that Signal messages are properly being archived. …

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