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Confide: Governor’s Office setting trend in Capitol of using app that erases texts

  

Reports say the Governor’s Office uses an app called Confide to keep their mobile messaging nonexistent.

The app, available in the iTunes and Google Play Store, touts itself as “encrypted,” “ephemeral,” and “screenshot protected.” Messages sent through the app disappear once they are read but cannot be screencapped when pulled up. When screencapped, a gray screen is saved.

The Governor’s Office communications director Parker Briden told the Kansas City Star that he was not aware of the app being installed on official devices. Chapter 109 of the RSMo. does not draw a distinction between private and official devices as being exclusively beholden to government records.

In Sunshine Requests performed by the Missouri Times, text message screencaps are often released as part of the documentation.

But does the app allow the Governor’s Office to circumvent the Sunshine Law?

“There’s a rule of evidence called adverse inference,” Chuck Hatfield said. “If someone has destroyed a document that could have been evidence, a jury is instructed they can assume the evidence was damaging to the destroyer.”

From a first glance at the app, government-issued device phone numbers for government staff are not using the app. The numbers seen by the Missouri Times in the mobile app are political or personal phone numbers that have been used in the past for official correspondence.

One lobbyist said they used the app because it requested by a contract client, while a legislative staffer and legislator said they use the app because others requested to use it to correspond.

A recent lawsuit from Graves Garrett on behalf of Missouri Alliance for Freedom against Sen. Rob Schaaf seeks access to his Gmail account because it would contain government records.

Read the Kansas City Star report here: http://amp.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/article188405944.html?__twitter_impression=true

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