Google Allo, the new “smart” chat app launched on Wednesday, is ‘dangerous’ and should be avoided, according to whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The ex-NSA contractor posted a series of Tweets to warn everyone away from the chat app, which he says will “record every message you ever send and make it available to police upon request”.
Allo, designed to unseat chat pack leader WhatsApp, promises to deliver quick conversations with features like; “Smart Reply” that can guess your answers and respond to messages with just the tap of a button, and “Google Assistant”, which answers your questions and helps you search for things directly in your chat.
How does Allo plan on predicting your every word and witty emoji, you ask? “The more you use it, the more it improves over time,” which basically means they’ll collect and store as much of your data as possible and then use artificial intelligence to guess your replies.
However, the efficiency of time-saving typing may end up costing customers their already compromised privacy.
When Google first announced the introduction of Allo earlier this year they, too, had planned end-to-end-encryption in “Incognito Mode” and assured they would only store messages transiently, rather than indefinitely.
However, it now appears that Google won’t be doing that after all. Wednesday’s announcement revealed Google plans to store all conversations that aren’t specifically started in “incognito mode” by default.
As Snowden pointed out, last year every single one of the NSA and FBI’s 1,457 surveillance requests was granted by the US foreign intelligence surveillance court… and Allo’s stored data (i.e. your data) will be fair game too.
In contrast, all of WhatsApp’s chats are encrypted and unreadable – although they did announce last month that they will now be sharing your contacts and who you talk to with Facebook.