Treating Data Like Waste

Before news broke today that Yahoo was searching through mass amounts of user data by government request, the ACLU posted an article about a client they have been defending — Open Whisper Systems, makers of the Signal messaging app — against a government user data request.

ACLU attorney Brett Max Kaufman:

As the documents show, the government’s effort did not amount to much — not because OWS refused to comply with the government’s subpoena (it complied), but because the company simply does not keep the kinds of information about their customers that the government sought (and that too many technology companies continue to amass). All OWS was able to provide were the dates and times for when the account was created and when it last connected to Signal’s servers.

A policy of not collecting or retaining user data remains a very effective way of protecting users’ privacy. It’s really quite simple.