When Moxie Marlinspike [a pseudonym], the iconoclastic technologist, landed Hillary Clinton as a client of his encrypted messaging app last year, he hailed the event with trademark Silicon Valley idealism: "I think we have actually, sort of, won the future." But his Signal encryption technology, which also underpins WhatsApp and other similar services, has been as controversial as it has successful. The billions of people who now use such apps operate under cover of secrecy. We are only starting to discover quite how dangerous the flip side to that West Coast liberal vision could be. Whenever a terrorist attack occurs these days, a key line of investigation is how the perpetrators communicated. Over the past couple of years — in Paris, in London, in Stockholm — police have highlighted the role of encrypted messaging via WhatsApp. "The shadow continues to fall," former FBI director James Comey told senators in May, in reference to the secrecy such services provide. Encrypted messages...

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