Judge should order governor to stop using ephemeral messaging app, lawyers say

Two Missouri lawyers have sued the governor’s office over its use of Confide, an ephemeral messaging mobile app, which they say is in violation of state public records law.

The two men are set to appear before a county judge on Friday to ask for a temporary restraining order that would bar current and future use of such apps by the governor and his staff. Lawyers representing Governor Eric Greitens say that such a move is unwarranted.

Confide, like Signal and other popular encrypted-messaging apps, auto-deletes messages after a certain period of time, making automated record-keeping of those messages very difficult, if not impossible. Use of such apps by public employees for official business is almost certain to run afoul of transparency laws.

Late last year, after reporting by the Kansas City Star revealed the use of Confide by Greitens and several members of his staff, the two attorneys, Mark Pedroli and Ben Sansone, filed a public records request to learn more. The same day the lawsuit was filed, the Missouri Attorney General’s Office also opened an official investigation into the issue.

By early January, Sarah Madden, a special counsel for Greitens, responded that it would take time, perhaps up to 20 days, to provide a “response or a time and a cost estimate.” Read more…