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LANSING, February 5, 2021 ~ A Michigan State Police representative has confirmed that officials within the department have been using the messaging app, Signal while conducting day-to-day business. Critics are concerned that use of this app by on-the-clock State employees may violate the Michigan Freedom of Information Act.
Marketing for the Signal app claims that, “We can’t read your messages or listen to your calls, and no one else can either.” Messages sent on Signal bypass State servers, encrypt messages, and leave no record of the conversation after deletion. Only the sender and the receiver have access to the messages.
Michigan State Police First Lieutenant Mike Williams stated that department members are required to follow all public record retention policies. He also denied any violations by the department.
“To use that app to communicate sensitive information securely is important, right? …We have a duty to protect that data,” Williams told a Senate subcommittee hearing on Thursday. “At the same time, we have a duty to maintain our transparency by retaining those records and then disposing of them only in accordance with a retention schedule.”
Lieutenant Williams said that the app is neither banned nor sanctioned in the department, and there is an ongoing review regarding continued use.
February 5, 2021 ~ State Senator of Michigan’s 24th District and Chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military and Veterans Affairs/State Police Tom Barrett (R-Charlotte) tells Frank that Michigan State Police have confirmed the use of the text messaging app “Signal,” which bypasses the state server and leaves no record when messages are deleted, among some of their top officials.