An app ISIS is known to use brings attention to privacy issues

NOW: An app ISIS is known to use brings attention to privacy issues

The attacks in the U.K. have renewed a worldwide discussion about counter-terrorism efforts.  Officials are now targeting an app that ISIS is known to use to message each other and plan its attacks. 

"It is one of the apps that is know that is used by terrorist organizations such as ISIS," says Mitch Kajzer, the Director of the St. Joseph County Cyber Crimes Unit. 

It's an app with a reputation.

Telegram is known for off the grid communications. 

"The end to end encryption is just about as secure as you can get with communication and that no one can intercept and read," explains Kajzer. 

With encrypted messages, secret chats, aliases and even a self-destruct option, it's grown in popularity.

There are over 100 million users, in just two and half years in existence. 

Kajzer says that's part of the problem. 

"The appeal is the sense of privacy that they have using it. That they can freely talk amongst each other, that they can plan activity," says Kajzer. "Knowing that their communications aren't being spied on or intercepted by government agencies."

While the app does appeal to terror groups, some of the users are people who value privacy. 

"People who are very security conscious. They want to protect their information," he adds.

Law enforcement has come across Telegram usage in Michiana, and makes them wonder.

"As we look at phones and devices and we see data hiding evidence in there, that does raise a red flag with us," he explains. 

But do those red flags infringe on basic rights? Kajzer isn't sure. 

"It's something that's going to continue to be argued by both privacy advocates and those saying that the government and law enforcement should be able to access that information," he says. 

The encryption and security is so sophisticated, that even if law enforcement and government agencies try to monitor it, it won't be so easy. 

"With these encrypted apps, even if we do all that and get a lawful court order saying we can monitor communications, we still, a lot of times, cannot do it," Kajzer adds.

And for those trying to do their best to keep everyone safe, it's only making their job harder.

"It's very scary. And it's frustrating from the investigative end of it also," Kajzer says. "It hinders us in the way where it takes away a very valuable tool to develop and find information regarding to cases."

ABC57 News reached out to Rep. Jackie Walorski for her take on this issue.

In a statement, she says "It is essential that law enforcement, the intelligence community, our military, and technology companies work together to prevent terrorists from accessing tools that help them plan and carry out attacks."

But it's not just a local problem. It's an issue that the whole world is now grappling with. 

"We need to start considering global solutions to address that. The United States can't address that alone, or the U.K. can't act alone, or France cant." Kajzer says. "Everyone has to come together and come up with a solution and start treating it as a global type problem that's affecting all of us/"

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