Grand jury subpoena for Signal user data, Central District of California (again!)

28 Oct 2021

Signal still knows nothing about you, but inexplicably the government continues to ask.

Because everything in Signal is end-to-end encrypted by default, the broad set of personal information that is typically easy to retrieve in other apps simply doesn’t exist on Signal’s servers. Once again, this subpoena requested a wide variety of information we don’t have, including the target’s name, address, correspondence, contacts, groups, calls.

As usual, we couldn’t provide any of that. It’s impossible to turn over data that we never had access to in the first place. Signal doesn’t have access to your messages; your chat list; your groups; your contacts; your stickers; your profile name or avatar; or even the GIFs you search for. As a result, our response to the subpoena will look familiar. It’s the same set of “Account and Subscriber Information” that we can provide: Unix timestamps for when each account was created and the date that each account last connected to the Signal service.

That’s it.

We’d like to thank the ACLU for their untiring and enduring assistance – particularly our counsel for this response, Brett Max Kaufman, Jennifer Granick, and Patrick Toomey.

We’d also like to thank everyone who uses Signal. Our commitment to you remains unchanged. We’ll keep working with effective and talented organizations like the ACLU to respond to future government requests, and we’ll keep publishing our responses here.

The transcript for this request can be found below.

The Subpoena

Our Response