Snowden warns against the use of Google’s Allo chat application

Edward Snowden was quick to critize the Google's Allo chat service just after the launch.


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Edward Snowden

Google, on last Wednesday, announced to release Allo chat application worldwide — a new articial intelligence based applicaton powered by Google Assistant. Allo app is widely believed to rival the Facebook’s popular chatting applications such as WhatsApp and Messenger.

Allo received mix kind of reaction from the users. If there were many who appriciated Google’s latest chat app, there were few privacy advocates too who took hard stance on Google and argued the possibility of user privacy breach.

Related: Google releases Allo: a smart messaging app powered by Google Assistant

Former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden was among the critic who warned the people not to trust the Google’s Allo.

Snowden accused the Google by point out finger on Allo chat application. According to him, the selling point for Allo is not users privacy or encryption but rather mass surveillance.

Allo is a smart messaging application backed by Google Assistant to help the users reply quickly. The application analyzes the conversation history to suggest the quick replies.

Google rejected the claim of Snowden by arguing that users can turn the application more secure by enabling ‘Incognito’ mode whenever they prefer.

“Google Allo can help you make plans, find information, and express yourself more easily in chat. And the more you use it, the more it improves over time,” Google said in a statement.

By default, Allo does not encrypt end-to-end messages. Rather, it offers Incognito mode to activate the end-to-end encryption.

Google also made a change in Allo privacy policy and announced to store the in-transit messages on Google servers. Some security experts expressed disappointment on Google’s decision to store messages on its own servers, where they can be accessible to authories on request.

Christopher Soghioan, another privacy researcher with the American Civil Liberties Union, lamented that Google “decided that improving auto responses was worth making all messages accessible to law enforcement”.

Snowden claimed that Allo is a combination of Google Mail, Google Maps and Google Surveillance to track the user daily activities and advised ‘Don’t use Allo’.

Google argued that the Smart Reply feature of the application requires high ‘data processing’ and that the technology giant needs to store the conversations in order to suggest intelligent replies.


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