The FTC accuses Amazon of using Signal’s auto-deleting messages to erase evidence

According to a court filing reviewed by Engadget, the Federal Trade Commission has accused Amazon of concealing communications using Signal’s disappearing messages feature. antitrust suit against the company. The FTC says the retailer continued to automatically delete its communications even after the agency notified it it was under investigation and asked it to retain them. The defendants include founder and former CEO Jeff Bezos and current CEO Andy Jassi.

“For years, Amazon’s top executives, including founder and former CEO Jeff Bezos,[ed] Sensitive business matters, including antitrust, over the encrypted messaging app Signal instead of email,” the FTC wrote in the full filing. received by (Owned by Bezos) The Washington Post. “These executives activated Signal’s ‘disappearing message’ feature, which irreversibly destroyed messages even after Amazon notified Plaintiffs that they were investigating its conduct.”

The FTC is asking a federal judge to compel Amazon to produce documents related to data processing. The government agency says it will not disclose Signal usage until March 2022, before retail sales. The Wall Street Journal article emphasizes secret practice.

“While it is impossible to recover the contents of deleted messages, the software shows that the user turned the disappearing message feature on, off, or changed the timer for deletion, leaving scraps that indicate widespread deletion by Amazon executives,” the document said. “The undeleted messages show that Amazon executives used Signal to talk about business issues related to competition.”

This issue seems to be an increasingly common business practice in Silicon Valley. Last year, the DOJ indicted Google routinely destroys its internal chat historiesrequired to be preserved under federal law. In addition, before Elon Musk bought Twitter and changed its name to X, the company asked a judge to sanction the founder of Tesla. use Signal’s auto-delete to save messages sent through the app.

Along with Bezos and Jassy, The Washington Post reports that the full document names David Zapolsky, the general counsel involved in the practice, Jeff Wilke, the former CEO of Worldwide Consumer, and Dave Clark, the former CEO of Worldwide Operations.

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