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Amid FBI row, Apple hires developer behind secure messaging app Signal

Apple is hiring Frederic Jacobs —a developer responsible for the secure chat app Signal —to work on the CoreOS security team this summer, a report noted on Friday.

Jacobs announced his new job in a Twitter post, later spotted by TechCrunch. Beyond the security focus, Jacobs hasn't elaborated on what he might be doing, which is common for high-profile recruitments at Apple.

He is however a specialist in cryptography, and Signal's main feature is end-to-end encryption, in theory making it impenetrable to outside parties like hackers and governments.

Apple is reportedly working to negate the kind of passcode workaround the FBI is requesting in the case of an iPhone 5c owned by dead San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook. The company is also allegedly planning to offer more secure iCloud accounts, such that even Apple wouldn't be able to examine the contents of a backup.

Those efforts could require someone like Jacobs. He may have come to the company's attention because Signal is the favorite messaging app of Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who exposed the organization's mass surveillance programs in 2013. Snowden is currently in exile in Russia, and could face extradition and imprisonment if caught by U.S. (or U.S.-friendly) agents.