Slack, a popular messaging platform, does not offer end-to-end encryption, leaving personal messages vulnerable to access by employees, hackers, and law enforcement. This lack of privacy could lead to harassment, union-busting, and criminalization of activities such as discussing abortion.
The absence of encryption is particularly concerning in the current U.S. political climate, where laws criminalizing certain activities are on the rise. This lack of privacy disproportionately affects marginalized groups, including LGBTQ+ people, racial justice activists, immigrants, and journalists, who have historically been targeted by law enforcement.
Despite the rise in online harassment, especially during remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Slack lacks tools to block or report users. This absence of protective measures is particularly concerning given the existing structures that often downplay sexual abuse and blame victims. A reporting system would help victims document harm in real time and provide necessary information about the incident.
Despite Slack’s previous refusal to implement end-to-end encryption, it is believed that with enough pressure, the company could be persuaded to improve the safety of the platform. Other messaging systems, such as Facebook Messenger, Twitter, WhatsApp, and Signal, have already implemented or are considering implementing end-to-end encryption. The call to action is for companies, organizations, communities, and individuals to sign an open letter demanding Slack to enhance user safety.