silent circle
Leading encrypted apps recommended by the Islamic State group for secure messaging said Thursday they were making modest moves to stop jihadists using their technology in the wake of the bloody attacks in Paris, but defended a right to privacy.
 
Instant messaging app Telegram, created by Russian Internet guru Pavel Durov, said it had blocked dozens of accounts associated with IS that were reportedly being used to spread extremist propaganda.
 
Meanwhile, the encrypted communications firm Silent Circle said it was tightening access to its mobile apps and secure smartphone to make them harder for terrorists and criminals to use.
The moves come as pressure builds on new messaging services to balance their obligations to users against security concerns following the deadly attacks in Paris and the recent downing of a Russian plane in Egypt, despite there being no evidence the attackers used these systems to communicate.
 
Telegram, a free app which was launched in 2013, says it "provides a secure means of communications everywhere on the planet" and blasts Internet giants Facebook and Google on its website for giving private data to third parties.
 
It offers an encrypted chat service with self-destructing messages and has recently launched a way to create public channels to broadcast to unlimited audiences.
 
According to the Middle East Media Research Institute, the technology is fast becoming popular among jihadi groups, with IS and Al-Qaeda groups creating several channels.
 
Telegram, a free app which was launched in 2013, offers an encrypted chat service with self-destructing messages and has recently launched a way to create public channels to broadcast to unlimited audiences
"We were disturbed to learn that Telegram's public channels were being used by ISIS to spread their propaganda," the service said on its own Twitter account late Wednesday.
 
"As a result, this week alone we blocked 78 ISIS-related channels across 12 languages," it added, saying it relied on user reports to find the channels.
 
Telegram's Durov, however, specified that "only publicly available channels could be reported and blocked" and denied that he can intercept conversations.
 
Meanwhile Silent Circle -- the Swiss-based firm which makes the encrypted Blackphone handset and Silent Phone applications for private messaging -- said they were "enacting more aggressive back-end payment technology to reduce the likelihood of evildoers" like IS using the service.
 
"Since ISIS labeled us as the strongest product, we are going to implement what we feel is responsible and morally acceptable procedures to make it harder for the bad element to get our technology," Mike Janke, the company's co-founder and chief executive, told AFP.
 
 
Source: AFP