PM and Dominic Cummings use messaging service that permanently deletes texts

PUBLISHED: 09:30 06 May 2020 | UPDATED: 09:50 06 May 2020

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Photo by Simon Dawson-WPA Pool/Getty Images)

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Photo by Simon Dawson-WPA Pool/Getty Images)

2020 Getty Images

Prime minister Boris Johnson and other senior Tory figures have joined an encrypted messaging service whose messages can be permanently deleted.

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Johnson, Dominic Cummings, and other party stalwarts have now started communicating through Signal - a highly-secure encrypted messaging app.

Signal gives users the possibility to permanently delete their own messages that are between five seconds to a week old. The Sun reports it is more secure than WhatsApp with security services unable to hack into.


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The switch in technology raises concerns over transparency. Deleted messages are impossible to retrieve, which makes collecting them for a Freedom of Information request or a judge’s order impossible. Signal has been liked by senior government figures because it will allegedly help limit leaks to the media.

Other names who have recently downloaded it include business secretary Alok Sharma, chancellor Rishi Sunak, and home secretary Priti Patel.

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The Sun reported that Johnson was the latest recruit, joining just last week as he returned to work to tackle the coronavirus..

Signal uses end-to-end encryption and allows subscribers to make voice and video calls.

In July 2019, in her first intervention as home secretary, Priti Patel told the Telegraph warned against social media giants using end-to-end encryption.

She said: “This is not an abstract debate: Facebook’s recently announced plan to apply end-to-end encryption across its messaging platforms presents significant challenges which we must work collaboratively to address.

“The use of end-to-end encryption in this way has the potential to have serious consequences for the vital work which companies already undertake to identify and remove child abuse and terrorist content.”

She added: “It will also hamper our own law enforcement agencies, and those of our allies, in their ability to identify and stop criminals abusing children, trafficking drugs, weapons and people, or terrorists plotting attacks.”

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