Snowden calls for boycott of Google's latest messaging app

Google has announced a new messaging app with strong encryption, meaning that your communications can't be wiretapped. But there's a catch: You have to turn on that feature yourself. The tech titan's plan to launch Allo this summer without encryption by default has drawn withering criticism from some quarters. Google's decision to disable end-to-end encryption by default in its new #Allo chat app is dangerous, and makes it unsafe," Edward Snowden tweeted. "Avoid it for now." But other privacy advocates are more positive.

"I, too, would prefer that Allo be encrypted by default," said Kevin Bankston, director of New America's Open Technology Institute. But, he added, "all in all, this is going to be a net increase in the amount of encrypted messaging out in the world. And that is ultimately a good thing." With Allo's debut, Google is taking a step toward joining the growing number of tech firms embracing "end-to-end" encryption, which protects the privacy of text messages and voice and video calls in such a way that even with a warrant, the government can't access them. But by requiring users to turn on the feature, Google is lowering the odds that average users will avail themselves of the option, critics such as Snowden say. The Washington Post