Edward Snowden, the former CIA employee and NSA whistleblower, has just given Google’s new messaging app, Allo, a damning review.
“Free for download today: Google Mail, Google Maps, and Google Surveillance,” he wrote on Twitter. “That’s #Allo. Don’t use Allo.”
Google Allo is the new ‘smart’ messaging app, and bears similar features to the likes of WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. It also offers the added help of Google smart assistant, just add the @google chat bot to your conversation and it’ll interact with you like a real personal assistant.
But, there is one significant downside; privacy. As you probably guessed. The default setting in the app is for Google to collect all of your conversations, forever. Google initially stated that they would only access your messages on an ‘ad-hoc’ basis, to improve the Google AI. Now, it seems, Google have changed their position. On launching Allo, Google now collects all your conversations, unless you start a conversation in incognito mode. This, for Snowden, is a big problem.
In his tweet, he goes on to say; “Thinking about #Allo? Last year, our secret court approved 100 per cent of requests for surveillance. They would cover Allo.”
Snowden is basically saying that it gives the U.S. Government 100% access to your messages. There isn’t any news, or opinion, on how this relates to us in the UK, and Europe. Snowden advises to play it safe and use a secure client, such as Tor or Signal, which send encrypted messages that are stored only on the recipients device.