FTC claims Amazon employees used Signal app to ‘destroy evidence’

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The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has accused Amazon (and its employees) of failing to preserve evidence by using the Signal app.  The FTC has claimed Amazon’s employees “heavily used” the Signal messaging app for business communication. Moreover, they turned on the disappearing messages to obliterate any potential evidence.

FTC claims Amazon destroyed evidence by using the Signal app

The FTC is currently investigating Amazon in regards to Project Nessie. The agency has accused Amazon of developing and deploying a powerful, dynamic, and intelligent algorithm to inflate prices. The FTC has previously argued that such techniques helped earn Amazon a billion dollars in extra profit.

As part of the ongoing investigation, the accused company must preserve all data, after being notified. The FTC claims Amazon failed to do so. The agency claims Amazon’s employees have been relying heavily on the Signal app to communicate.

The very nature of the Signal app is detrimental to the preservation of evidence. Not only is the Signal app end-to-end encrypted, but it also allows users to destroy any trail of communication.

The FTC has reportedly claimed Amazon employees continued to use the Signal app even after Amazon was notified about the ongoing investigation. It is surprising to note that the FTC claims Amazon did not instruct employees to preserve messages sent in the app until more than 15 months after it was notified of the investigation.

What is the FTC demanding from Amazon?

The Signal app isn’t the only one to offer end-to-end encryption and disappearing messages. Other popular instant messaging applications such as WhatsApp too have these features.

Group admins and individuals too can choose to destroy messages after they have been viewed or after a particular time. The FTC has issues with Amazon not informing its employees.

The FTC has opinioned that Amazon employees should have stopped using the Signal app. Alternatively, these employees should have preserved these messages by switching off the disappearing messages setting.

In a motion filed late last week, the FTC argues that much of the information it has sought from Amazon may have been destroyed. The agency is blaming the destruction of evidence on Amazon’s alleged inaction. Additionally, the FTC has claimed that Amazon hasn’t provided much of what the agency requested.

If the judge finds that Amazon deliberately failed to preserve information, the situation could worsen for the e-commerce giant. However, according to The Washington Post, a publication that Amazon owns, Amazon isn’t the only company accused.

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