Google’s new messaging app Allo was supposed to come with a cool new privacy feature: Conversations would only be stored for a short period of time before being deleted. But now that Allo has been released, that feature isn’t actually enabled by default, The Verge reports.
A privacy-conscious messaging app that doesn’t hang onto your messages forever is a pretty cool idea, and different to services like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
But Google says it has dropped its plan to store messages for a short period of time before deleting them. Now, according to The Verge, it will hang onto them forever because it helps the app draft suggested replies for you.
The decision to drop the default privacy feature won’t go down well with the people who already criticised the app when it was first announced.
Motherboard published an article titled “Don’t Use Allo” because of its lack of end-to-end encryption. And privacy experts took to Twitter to warn against using the app.
Making encryption opt-in was a decision made by the business and legal teams. It enables Google to mine chats and not piss off governments.
— Christopher Soghoian (@csoghoian) May 18, 2016
Now Allo is in an even worse position, privacy-wise. End-to-end encryption is only an option in the app, and all conversations are stored forever. That’s far less secure than WhatsApp, for example, which announced in April that all conversation on the app would be encrypted by default.
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