In the new alternative world of Trump, security is becoming a bigger concern. In the wake of the recent hacks of the Democratic National Committee by Russian hackers working at the behest of Vladimir Putin, politicians in the United States have now beefed up their security using the newly reborn Signal App as their goto for communications. Signal allows users to message one another using encryption.
Built by the San Francisco-based Open Whisper Systems, Signal is based on end-to-end encryption in which only those in direct communication can read the messages.
Signal has seen a roughly 400% increase in downloads since Election Day last November, said founder Moxie Marlinspike. He declined to say how many people use the app.
“It’s funny,” Mr. Marlinspike said. “In the past, people asked, ‘Are you worried terrorists are using it?’ Now they’re asking about politicians.”
According to the report out today in the Wall Street Journal, even Rudy Guiliani is using it.
Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani said he has had the app for a few weeks. “One of my cybersecurity experts downloaded it for me,” Mr. Giuliani said.
Other politicians are getting into the security game as well. But some say this will keep conversations that should be made public if ever needed from being disclosed.
Current and former senior aides to Mr. Cuomo also have the app. So do City Council members Daniel Garodnick, David Greenfield and Corey Johnson. Other users are Howard Wolfson and Marc La Vorgna, aides to former Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Nearly a dozen officials or aides close to Mr. de Blasio are on the app, including press secretary Eric Phillips; Nisha Agarwal, who serves as commissioner for the mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs; and Dan Levitan, a political adviser.
Dick Dadey, executive director of the Citizens Union, an ethics group, said he understood why politicians and their aides would seek to avoid a repeat of the WikiLeaks scandal. But he said that by using apps like Signal, they also could be keeping conversations private that should be made public under freedom of information laws.
“There are consequences to our democracy when public officials or their aides are resorting to keeping their conversations private in this way,” Mr. Dadey said.
Difficult times require difficult decisions. If you are worried over your emails or messages from being read by parties that you don’t wish to see them such as hackers, government officials and so forth, then Signal is your goto app. It even has the Edward Snowden approval rating, if one could call Edward Snowden a good source on security.