Is it Inevitable for WhatsApp to remove End-to-end Encryption?steemCreated with Sketch.

in privacy •  4 months ago  (edited)

In an interview with Forbes, WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton shared his story on why he left WhatsApp and Facebook after a few years working with Mark Zuckerberg. WhatsApp is a popular messaging app used by over 1.5 billion people over the world. It was founded by Brian Acton and Jan Koum but Facebook acquired the company for $19 billion in 2014. Since then, the 2 co-founder left WhatsApp and Facebook, less than 4 years after the acquisition.

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Both Brian Acton and Jan Koum are pro-privacy and they built WhatsApp with users' privacy being the key focus. WhatsApp is known for its end-to-end encryption. This means that your messages can only be decrypted by your account and there is no way the company is able to view your messages. However, end-to-end encryption may no longer be a feature in the near future.

When WhatsApp was sold to Facebook for $19 billion 4 years ago, Brian Acton and Jan Koum got Facebook to agree to not monetize the application within the next 5 years. Fast forward to 2019, the agreement is near to an end and Facebook has already planned how to monetize WhatsApp. One of the monetization methods is the WhatsApp for Business feature, which allows companies to broadcast marketing messages to users. The next logical step is to help businesses get more users to connect with them via WhatsApp. How? Through targeted advertisements of course.

Right now, WhatsApp has a "Status" function which is similar to the Instagram/Facebook type of status update. According to this article, advertisements are likely going to be shown on the "Status" page of the app. This will work hands-in-gloves with their WhatsApp for Business feature and direct users to connect with businesses.

The key question is whether end-to-end encryption will be compromised? My take is that it definitely will be. In order to serve users with targeted advertisements, there is certainly a need to collect some kind of data. There is no way data can be collected with end-to-end encryption implemented. Hence, it is very likely that Facebook will "tweak" the encryption and collect the data they require to monetize the app better.

Recently, in the lawsuit on Facebook regarding the Cambridge Analytica incident, the lawyer said that,

“There is no invasion of privacy at all, because there is no privacy.”

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Facebook's lawyer further claimed that Facebook was nothing more than a “digital town square” where users voluntarily give up their private information. I have mentioned before that Facebook is touting false privacy. While providing users with plenty of privacy settings on their platform, the fact remains that whatever you share on Facebook belongs to them. On the other hand, Steem do not present itself to provide privacy features and it is a truly open platform. Between falsely private and truly open, which will you choose?


Conclusion

I think WhatsApp, being part of Facebook, will inevitably have to remove its end-to-end encryption. The encryption is an obstacle for Facebook to effectively monetize WhatsApp. In business, profit is the only thing that truly matters. What can we do then? Other than WhatsApp, there are several other apps that provide end-to-end encryption, with Signal and Wickr rising in popularity. Signal is a open-source project supported by grants and donations, much like how Mozilla is being operated. So if you are thinking of an alternative, consider switching to Signal.

Thanks for reading, and do share your thoughts with me. Today is Hari Raya Aidilfitri, and I will like to wish all Muslims Selamat Hari Raya!


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Telegram's Pavlov Durov says Facebook apps are deliberately designed to be mass surveillance systems. https://telegra.ph/Why-WhatsApp-Will-Never-Be-Secure-05-15

If you are concerned about the Facebook's abuse of its almost absolute power, join the Class Action against it - for its illegal ban on Crypto industry ads which caused markets to drop 53% in a week. https://www.jpbliberty.com/class-member-signup

Hello dear @culgin.

It would be a high risk to the security and privacy that WhatsApp offers to its users until now, if the "end-to-end encryption" was eliminated. It is precisely this encryption that offers a sense of security to users and is perhaps the main factor that motivates the adoption of this means of instant messaging.
Facebook has the domain of the information of those billions of users who innocently place private data on that platform. When merging with WhatsApp and eliminating the encryption, the recipe would be completed.

As for monetizing. To send ads more effectively it is necessary to know the inclinations and tastes of the potential client. Then without encryption this will be possible.

All best, Piotr.

Thanks for sharing. WhatsApp’s future has been under question mark ever since FB’s acquisition. The problem here, however, is people’s unwillingness to adopt new platforms just because of privacy issues. A lot will just shrug their shoulders and say they've got nothing to hide. People don't like the change. It's evident from how many people are still using FB regardless of all the drama and problems and scandals. I personally would like to see an alternative communication app to gather more popularity and get adopted by more people in a very newer future.

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That's true. Many people don't care much about their privacy and that's perfectly fine. I am more concerned with those who assunes they have privacy but in fact they don't. I thought those people need to be aware of all these

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I am one of those, I have nothing to hide. :-) I don't do much on FB or Whatsapp anyway. I will go when, where my friends go.

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