Developer Open Whisper Systems says the country is censoring its messaging and voice calling program.
Egypt has reportedly censored encrypted chat service Signal.
App developer Open Whisper Systems on Monday confirmed the transcontinental country is censoring its messaging and voice calling program.
We’ll begin deploying censorship circumvention in Signal over the next several weeks. Until then, Tor or a VPN can be used to access Signal.
— Open Whisper Systems (@whispersystems) December 19, 2016
The issue surfaced on Saturday, when IT specialist Ahmed Gharbeia tweeted about “wide reports” of Signal failure in Egypt.
“Everything is functioning normally on our end,” Open Whisper Systems wrote in response, suggesting “something might be up” on the local network.
The firm reached out to the Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI)—a global organization operating under the Tor Project to detect censorship, surveillance, and traffic manipulation on the Internet.
The project last week released two new software tests designed to examine the blocking of WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, allowing anyone to monitor the accessibility of the apps and collect data as evidence.
Signal, a free app for Android, iOS, and desktop, is one of several messaging services to support end-to-end encryption—including Facebook’s WhatsApp and Messenger. It is also one of several to come under fire from law enforcement officials who can’t keep tabs on the conversations of suspected criminals.
Further details on the alleged censorship were not revealed; Open Whisper Systems did not immediately respond to PCMag’s request for comment.
Constraints to encrypted social media are not new in Egypt: Facebook’s free Internet service was shut down in December 2015 because the country’s government could not spy on the browsing activities of local users.
The Egyptian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology also did not respond to a request for comment.
Open Whisper Systems recently ruffled some more government feathers with added support for disappearing messages. Users can determine how long—from five seconds to one week—a chat message is available to recipients before it self-destructs.