Edward Snowden warns against using Google Allo

Whistleblower said he has privacy concerns about the communication application

Edward Snowden warned people not to use Google's Allo chat app because the company can read everything they say to their friends, family and colleagues, he alleged.

The whistleblower wrote: "Free for download today: Google Mail, Google Maps, and Google Surveillance," he wrote. "That's #Allo. Don't use Allo," on Twitter, alongside a number of other messages that warned people not to use the app.

Google Allo stores conversations so it can analyse them and then Google will present relevant content from its network, whether adverts, content on Google search or YouTube to the user. It will also analyse the language used in conversations and use this to predict what people want to say and how they want to say it to their friends.

Although the app is designed to offer users a more tailored experience, critics including Edward Snowden thinks storing this data is against human rights.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

At first, Google said the data would only be stored temporarily to protect the privacy of some users, but now it seems the company has changed its mind and will be storing the private chats indefinitely.

By storing this data, it also means the information can be used, if needed by governments and other official bodies to help fight crime. Because the information is held on Google's servers, those investigating into illegal activity, whether terrorism, organised crime or other malicious acts can use a warrant to force Google to reveal the conversations between suspects, which is not possible with other free messaging platforms such as WhatsApp and iMessage, which don't store the data.

Another Tweet by Snowden highlighted this issue: "What is #Allo? A Google app that records every message you ever send and makes it available to police upon request," he said.

Google responded in a statement: "We've given users transparency and control over their data in Google Allo. 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 messages 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."

Featured Resources

What you need to know about migrating to SAP S/4HANA

Factors to assess how and when to begin migration

Download now

Your enterprise cloud solutions guide

Infrastructure designed to meet your company's IT needs for next-generation cloud applications

Download now

Testing for compliance just became easier

How you can use technology to ensure compliance in your organisation

Download now

Best practices for implementing security awareness training

How to develop a security awareness programme that will actually change behaviour

Download now
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/security/internet-security/354417/avast-and-avg-extensions-pulled-from-chrome
internet security

Avast and AVG extensions pulled from Chrome

19 Dec 2019
Visit/security/354156/google-confirms-android-cameras-can-be-hijacked-to-spy-on-you
Security

Google confirms Android cameras can be hijacked to spy on you

20 Nov 2019
Visit/agile-working/33528/it-pro-panel-why-collaboration-platforms-are-so-hard-to-deploy
agile working

Why collaboration platforms are so hard to deploy

29 Apr 2019

Most Popular

Visit/policy-legislation/data-governance/354496/brexit-security-talks-under-threat-after-uk-accused-of
data governance

Brexit security talks under threat after UK accused of illegally copying Schengen data

10 Jan 2020
Visit/microsoft-windows/32066/what-to-do-if-youre-still-running-windows-7
Microsoft Windows

What to do if you're still running Windows 7

14 Jan 2020
Visit/hardware/laptops/354533/dell-xps-13-new-9300-hands-on-review-chasing-perfection
Laptops

Dell XPS 13 (New 9300) hands-on review: Chasing perfection

14 Jan 2020
Visit/operating-systems/25802/17-windows-10-problems-and-how-to-fix-them
operating systems

17 Windows 10 problems - and how to fix them

13 Jan 2020