Google-Hangouts-logoHangouts is a messaging platform by Google that allows users to chat with friends, family members, colleagues, and more. Users can make voice calls via the platform as well as host video conferences, so all in all it’s a pretty handy tool. However if security is your number one concern, then this is something worth taking note of.

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During a recent Reddit AMA about government surveillance, Google’s director for law enforcement and information security Richard Salgado and Google’s senior privacy policy counsel David Lieber answered some questions, one of which addressed the question of how secure Hangouts is.

According to Salgado’s reply, it seems that Hangout’s encryption is only during transit, meaning that once it arrives on Google’s servers, it’s fair game which also means that it is open to wiretapping by the authorities. The folks at Motherboard then reached out to Google to clarify this in which a spokesperson confirmed that Hangouts does not have end-to-end encryption.

“That makes it technically possible for Google to wiretap conversations at the request of law enforcement agents, even when you turn on the “off the record” feature, which actually only prevents the chat conversations from appearing in your history—it doesn’t provide extra encryption or security.” So, does this change your perception of Hangouts? Or would you keep using it anyway since you have nothing to hide?

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