Confide sued over ephemerality and screenshot protection claims

Confide, the encrypted chat app that’s reportedly popular among Trump staffers, is facing a class action lawsuit that claims Confide misled consumers about its ability to protect messages from being screenshotted or saved.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York by a Confide customer who paid $6.99 per month for a premium version of the app, alleges that Confide doesn’t live up to its claims of ephemerality and screenshot protection. In the lawsuit, Confide user Jeremy Auman alleges that it’s possible to take screenshots of messages when using the Windows desktop version of the app. Auman also says that the Windows and macOS versions of the app don’t send notifications to all parties in the conversation if a screenshot is taken, as Confide claims.

These issues amount to false advertising, Auman alleges.┬áConfide CEO Jon Brod told TechCrunch, “Not surprisingly, the accusations set forth in the complaint are unfounded and without merit. We look forward to responding to this frivolous complaint and seeing this case swiftly thrown out of court.”

Auman’s allegations follow research published last month by Quarkslab, which suggested that Confide’s end-to-end encryption wasn’t as secure as advertised.

“Confide fails to deliver on two of the three requirements that it espouses as necessary for confidential communications: ephemerality and screenshot protection. Absent these protections, Confide knows that it cannot deliver on its promise to consumers that communications sent through it will be confidential,” the lawsuit claims. “Confide ensured that any message sent through its messaging platform is (and has been) at risk of storage. Consumers who erroneously thought they were using a secure platform to send confidential and potentially compromising information are now at great risk of having that information used against them.”

Auman is represented in the lawsuit by Edelson PC, a law firm that often pursues consumer privacy cases against tech companies. His attorney, Chris Dore, said in a statement, “Individuals ranging from an average consumer all the way up to government officials at the highest level have realized the importance of secure communications. And as such, that range of people put their trust in the representations made by Confide to protect their private correspondence. Our suit seeks to hold Confide accountable to the level of security it promised.”