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This app promises privacy through encrypted messaging, but a U.S. subpoena puts it to test

he company responsible for spreading top-of-the-line message encryption across the Internet has had a first legal skirmish with the U.S. government.

Open Whisper Systems — whose Signal app pioneered the end-to-end encryption technique now used by many messaging services — was subpoenaed for information about one of its users earlier this year, according to legal correspondence released Tuesday. The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented the company, said the small San Francisco firm didn’t produce the user’s name, address, call logs or other details requested by the government.

“That’s not because Signal chose not to provide logs of information,” ACLU lawyer Brett Kaufman said in a telephone interview. “It’s just that it couldn’t.”

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