Encrypted Messaging Software In Wide Use By Legislators, Others

by | Feb 16, 2017

[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”123″]

In a state many consider to be a leader when it comes to government transparency and public records access, secretive communications software has been widely adopted among prominent Members of the Florida Legislature, their political allies and operatives, lobbyists, staffers, and even some members of Florida’s capital press corps. And it’s all perfectly legal.

Just as is happening in Washington D.C., The Capitolist has confirmed the identities of a number of high-profile elected officials in Florida, public figures, and Tallahassee insiders who are using the secretive apps, which leave no trace of a message after the user reads it, and thus qualifies as a “transitory communication” that is legally exempt from public records laws. Florida law still prohibits such communication if it would violate “open meetings laws” where public business is discussed between certain gatherings or in certain communications between public officials.

Widely available smartphone apps like Confide, Signal and even SnapChat all rely on an “instant-delete” feature after the intended recipient has reviewed the message, making it impossible for the message to be swept up in a public records request under Florida Statute 119. But both Confide and Signal take things a step further. Both feature end-to-end encryption that prevents a third-party from intercepting the message, and Signal boasts that its code is 100% open source, meaning third parties can audit the code to verify that they aren’t playing any games with encryption or secrecy. Another popular security feature, especially in the wake of widespread email hacking during the 2016 election cycle, is that some of the progams prevent a recipient from taking a screenshot of the message and having it later turn up elsewhere.

While SnapChat notifies the sender if a recipient takes an unauthorized screenshot of the message before it is deleted, Confide tackles the problem a different way, by limiting how much of a given message is displayed at any one time. The recipient traces his or her finger down the screen revealing one line of the message at a time, making screenshots much more difficult.

Curiously, all of the programs search your contact list to find others you may know who are users of the app. There is nothing that prevents journalists from checking to see if two local county commissioners, for example, are both users of the same encrypted messaging software – and if those two commissioners use the messaging app to discuss public business, they would be in direct violation of the law. Under Florida’s Consitution, however, two legislators are permitted to discuss state business privately. It is only when more than two gather secretly to discuss state business that a violation may occur.

Follow @BrianJBurgess on Twitter.
Follow @TheCapitolist on Twitter, like us on Facebook.

Don’t have our mobile app yet? Get it FREE. Capitolist FREE App


  1. billyroberts1

    Mobile Testing Services: Ensuring Quality in the World of Mobile Applications

    Mobile testing services refer to a comprehensive set of procedures that are used to test mobile applications for functionality, usability, performance, compatibility, and security. The primary objective of mobile testing services is to ensure that the mobile application meets the quality standards and expectations of end-users. With the widespread use of mobile devices and the growing demand for mobile applications, mobile testing services have become an integral part of the software development lifecycle.

    In this article, we will discuss the different aspects of mobile testing services, including the types of mobile testing, the benefits of mobile testing services, and the challenges associated with mobile testing services.

  2. Adam

    Now it’s important to just find good developers for your project who can make a technically strong and stable project or software. My company is negotiating with the https://devspiration.com/fintech/banking-and-finance/ team to get more solutions for a new company project

  3. kitty

    Hi! I’m developing my app and as I’m developing the code and design, I’m having a lot of problems that need to be solved. Can someone help me and expand my knowledge?

  4. PITER

    In our wonderful world, digital technologies are crucial because they will undoubtedly aid in identifying the best answers. In any event, as it advances our technology, the creation of products, websites, and applications is crucial to modern civilization. In addition, I choose to use this source because I lack expertise in that area. I discovered what I required at https://weassemble.team/offshore-software-development/. It enabled me to scale up my technology and development capabilities and grow my firm to its maximum potential. It is also usable.

  5. chachaflint

    I don’t need such serious software, but I often think about developing software for business optimization. Any ideas for a development company or studio?

  6. jackaldride

    It will be an excellent investment in your business. Speaking of developers, I worked only with this studio sloboda-studio.com, but I’m very pleased with the result. I was worried that there would be some low-quality software that would constantly give me errors. In practice, everything works fine, and I almost never contacted specialists for help.

%d bloggers like this: