Is it possible to set some kind of expiration date for a message? Example: I send a message M to user U and 1 day after U read the message, it should be deleted from his account/device. Some public messengers that have security/privacy in focus already provide such a feature like Signal do since 2016.


We have protocols like OTR that offers various security features for messages like E2EE. So it's guaranteed that only the desired receiver can read it. Criminals or intelligence services can't even read them, much less are they able to manipulate the content (Assuming we're using OS software that has passed security audits, so that there are no bugs or backdoors that compromise security).

But this doesn't protect us from spying data on the target device where encrypted data is avaliable. There are some realistic scenarios like presently dubious companys that uses zero day exploits to unlock smartphones. In those cases, the attacker gain access to all information, even when they're securily transfered using OTR or similar technology.

In the worst case, the attacker got a lot of information from chat conversations over months or even years. To limit the damage, it seems a good idea to automatically delete sensitive information after a period of time. Then the attacker get a lot less information. It seems a good idea, at least for extra sensitive information. So I would like to know if this is possible using open protocols designed for self hosted services like XMPP. Couldn't find many information about this.

  • This might be better suited for the Information Security stack exchange site. – I say Reinstate Monica Mar 18 '18 at 3:35

It would seem not - The basic XMPP core does not seem to have that functionality built in, which means that even were there to be a module/extension which supports it, it could not be relied upon. Browsing the XMPP specifications for extensions I could not find anything about expiring messages - so not only is it not baked into the core, it does not seem to have standards compliant support.

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