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Apple hires developer behind encrypted messaging app Signal

Apple has just made a big — and timely — hire, recruiting a developer behind encrypted messaging app Signal, perhaps best known for being Edward Snowden's chat app of choice. The developer, Frederic Jacobs, confirmed the news on Twitter:

Jacobs wrote that he'll be joining Apple for an "internship" position over the summer. The company has made similar intern hires before, notably including the iOS hacker Comex.

The hire, of course, comes at a propitious time for Apple, as it tangles with the FBI over a court order that could force the company to break the security of an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters. In a legal motion filed yesterday, Apple said that complying with the demand would give the FBI "dangerous power."

Signal has earned strong marks from privacy researchers, and the app became more widely known after some evangelizing by Snowden. Although the scope of Jacobs' duties isn't clear, reports have suggested that Apple is looking to beef up its security — possibly working to block both law enforcement and the company itself from accessing iCloud data.