FTC accuses Amazon executives of using Signal to auto-delete messages


For years, Signal has been the go-to messaging app for private communications. The federal government now believes Amazon was using that power inappropriately.

According to the Washington Post, the Federal Trade Commission accused top Amazon executives, including former CEO Jeff Bezos, of using Signal’s automatic message deletion feature to hide communications, even after the FTC ordered it to keep those messages around. Amazon was apparently supposed to stop deleting messages after it was notified that the FTC was investigating it for antitrust violations.

The FTC’s allegation centers around the fact that these deleted messages are indeed gone forever, even if it’s possible to see when a user did or didn’t turn on the message deletion feature.

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“From the messages that were not deleted, it is apparent that Amazon executives used Signal to talk about competition-related business issues,” the court document read, per Engadget.

Signal has been widely used by activists and data security enthusiasts to conceal communications from prying eyes for years now. Messages benefit from end-to-end encryption on the app, meaning that only the users in the chat room can see them. Disappearing messages are set to automatically go away after a certain amount of time, in the event that the device with the messages on them is taken or compromised.

From a purely self-serving point of view, Bezos and company did the smart thing. In terms of cooperating with the FTC, however, they may have messed up a bit.

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