FOIA Advisor

FOIA News: FOIA suit seeks unobtainable encrypted messages

FOIA News (2017)Allan BlutsteinComment

Suing to See the Feds’ Encrypted Messages? Good Luck

By Andy Greenberg, Wired, Apr. 12, 2017

The recent rise of end-to-end encrypted messaging apps has given billions of people access to strong surveillance protections. But as one federal watchdog group may soon discover, it also creates a transparency conundrum: Delete the conversation from those two ends, and there may be no record left.

The conservative group Judicial Watch is suing the Environmental Protection Agency under the Freedom of Information Act, seeking to compel the EPA to hand over any employee communications sent via Signal, the encrypted messaging and calling app. In its public statement about the lawsuit, Judicial Watch points to reports that EPA staffers have used Signal to communicate secretly, in the face of an adversarial Trump administration.

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