Tech. expert explains burner apps similar to those used by Chicopee superintendent

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WGGB / WSHM) – Western Mass News took a deeper look at burner apps, and how Chicopee Superintendent Lynn Clark was able to use them to send these 99 text messages. We took our questions to the experts.

Burner apps are part of this investigation into Superintendent Clark’s text messages.

According to court documents obtained by Western Mass News:

“Each of the threatening messages were sent by phone numbers purchased on the burner app by Clark… using an Apple wireless device that accessed Clark’s home IP address.”

Additionally:

“Clark used similar burner apps in her capacity as superintendent of Chicopee Public Schools to contact parents of students when they were unresponsive to calls made from a number associated with the public schools.”

Western Mass News wanted to know if this was legal. We asked Tony Russell-Smith, the Tech Director at Yes Computers in Northampton.

He said that not only are these burner apps legal, they are also incredibly easy to access. However, they are not nearly as secure as you might think.

“Basically, people who are caring about security, they will actually use end-to-end encryption which is much more difficult to deal with,” Russell-Smith explained. “The burner app does not offer that. It basically offers a random phone number which basically prevents the average Joe from tying to your identity. ”

Russell-Smith showed us one free app where you could enter an area code and choose from a variety of random numbers. He offered up some legal practices for using burner apps, including giving an employer a fake phone number on a resume.

As for how rare this is, he said it is common for criminals to use fake numbers trying to deceive other people or authorities.

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