Signal, the privacy-focused instant messenger wrote in a blog post today that, how far the US law enforcement would go for tracking a person.
As per it, Signal received a search warrant from Santa Clara police almost a year back, forcing it to share information on the target’s contact and identity details. While Signal refused on providing them since it doesn’t have them, it shared just the timestamps of account login.
Forcing Tech Platforms to Share Data
Tech platforms providing anonymous or encrypted communications are always under pressure. And it’s growing constantly, with the latest victim being Signal. The privacy-focused instant messenger was ordered by Santa Clara Police to disclose the following information;
Name, street address, telephone number, email address, billing records, dates of when the account was opened and registered, inbound and outbound call detail records, voicemails, video calls, emails, text messages, IP addresses along with dates and times for each login, and even all dates and times the user connected of a specific Signal user.
Signal in response gave only the timestamps of said account’s last connection to Signal account, as it only maintains that record. Also, it clarified to the police that it doesn’t store any of the demanded details, and also assured its community the same.
The platform was served with this search warrant nearly a year ago but was ceased to share the information request publicly through consecutive non-disclosure orders since then. Signal then said,
“Though the judge approved four consecutive non-disclosure orders, the court never acknowledged receipt of our motion to partially unseal, nor scheduled a hearing, and would not return counsel’s phone calls seeking to schedule a hearing.”
Signal isn’t the only platform subjected to such requests. Google last month said in its transparency report that, law enforcement agencies worldwide are forming new laws to compel tech companies to share data of their citizens, and thrust them in more ways.
ProtonMail too was demanded to share the IP address of one of its users, by the Swiss court, which was later shared with French authorities since ProtonMail is not subjected to respond to French and EU requests.