By Xiu Ying
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – President Jair Bolsonaro and Justice Minister Sérgio Moro will now use encrypted smartphones provided by Abin (Brazilian Intelligence Agency), says O Globo. Previously, the politicians rejected the use of the devices, which provide greater security when exchanging messages and surfing the internet.
The decision was taken after the leaked messages on Telegram between Moro and prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol, of Operation Lava Jato, published by The Intercept. Other members of the executive branch will also be using the device.
After he took office as president, Jair Bolsonaro ignored Abin’s suggestions and continued using his Android smartphone. Given that the federal government’s main means of communication today is Twitter, and the president is known to use WhatsApp for in-house messages, using his device to run the government was not a wise move.
The cell phone provided by Abin is known as a Secure Communication Terminal (TCS), an encrypted device that must be used by authorities to address issues of public interest.
TCS, however, does not allow the installation of WhatsApp and Telegram, which are user-friendly Apps. TCS also does not permit the installation of Twitter, a social network that has become the official communication channel of the federal government, as mentioned earlier. It also prevents the installation of Instagram, another communication channel for the president, who has over 10 million followers.
It doesn’t allow installation because apps are flawed, and at one time or another, the president’s security may be impacted by vulnerability — old or new — discovered and exploited.
On the other hand, the device offered by the Intelligence Agency features a chat tool similar to WhatsApp. It includes an encryption key and a server, all of which are managed by Abin itself. However, it is not as practical as the most widely used messaging App in Brazil — hence Bolsonaro’s reluctance to use it.
In addition to the encrypted cell phone, Abin offers e-mail (also encrypted) and a landline phone with a security system as a safe means of communication.