Jan 17, 2018 - Politics & Policy

Federal judge hears case on encrypted apps in White House

Donald Trump.

President Donald Trump. Photo: Olivier Douliery-Pool / Getty Images

A federal judge heard arguments Wednesday on a lawsuit alleging the Trump administration hasn’t properly prevented aides from using encrypted apps such as Signal that delete messages after they're read, Politico reports. Watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility & Ethics in Washington (CREW) and the National Security Archive filed the lawsuit last year.

Why it matters: Last February the White House told aides that they must save official messages they send or receive on social media platforms, which the DOJ lawyer said amounts to a ban on encrypted apps. Trump’s Department of Justice wanted to have the case thrown out.

  • The DOJ lawyer argued that two cases from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in the 1990s provide precedent to keep the courts from reviewing the president’s record management in the first place.
  • If that ends up being the case, that could effectively give the White House broad leeway to ignore obligations of Presidential Records Act, a lawyer from CREW argued.
  • The federal judge didn’t indicate whether he intends throw out the case.
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