WhatsApp Provides One other Layer of Safety to Encrypted Chat Again-Ups
Despite concerns from authorities and various governments urging Facebook not to add any more messaging encryption, it is still pushing its data security, with the latest update being a new, optional layer of protection for your message backups that are stored outside of WhatsApp most used messaging app in the company.
Last month WhatsApp added end-to-end encryption for chat backups that are based on. are stored Cloud-based services like Google Drive and iCloud. Now another element is added, with optional access restrictions using a password or encryption key.
As you can see in this picture, when encrypting your chat backups, you now also have the option of using a password or encryption key, further locking your data and keeping your information private.
As explained by WhatsApp:
“No other global messaging service on this scale offers this level of security for its users’ messages, media, voice messages, video calls and chat backups. “
Neither WhatsApp nor your backup service provider can read your backups or access the key required to unlock it. This is an important point for WhatsApp to keep in mind, especially given the recent backlash from users for updating its data sharing processes, which now sees more data about your interactions with businesses being shared within WhatsApp with Facebook.
However, this does not apply to your personal message interactions, a key feature of WhatsApp. Your personal interactions in the app are still encrypted and fully protected, with this new process adding more capacity to protect your personal information to ensure that no one, not even law enforcement or other authorities, can see what you are sharing in the app.
WhatsApp’s original update to encrypt chat backups closed an important loophole in this regard, as law enforcement agencies were previously able to tap unencrypted chat backups on Google and Apple servers to access user information and interaction history. This serves an important purpose, according to some regulators and officials, as Facebook’s gradual transition to more encryption will give more protection to criminals who use their messaging services for illegal activities.
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, has argued, for example, that any attempt to further restrict this access by law enforcement agencies will increase the potential for groups of perpetrators to use these platforms.
As per NSPCC managing director Peter Wanless:
“Private messaging is at the forefront of child sexual abuse, but the current debate over end-to-end encryption risks leaving children vulnerable where there is the most harm.”
Government agencies agree. B.ack In October 2019, representatives from the US, UK and Australia jointly signed an open letter to Facebook asking the company to abandon its plans for full messaging encryption, arguing that it would:
“… endanger our citizens and societies by seriously undermining the ability to detect and respond to illegal content and activities such as the sexual exploitation and abuse of children, terrorism and attempts by foreign opponents to undermine democratic values and institutions, and by preventing law enforcement . ” of perpetrators and protection of victims. “
The governments of each region have asked Facebook to provide at least “back door” access for official investigations, which Facebook has repeatedly refused.
Facebook stepped up its foray on this front in August by adding end-to-end encryption for voice and video calls to Messenger, while it also started a new experiment expanding encryption options on Instagram Direct.
Which is inevitable given Facebook’s broader plan to incorporate all of its messaging services – but this project continues to stir the ire of law enforcement agencies who view the move as a threat to the public.
But here, too, Facebook is pushing further and with the additional motivation to connect its backend systems in order to avoid a possible breakup of the company’s components if it was ever found to have violated antitrust regulations, as it seems that despite resistance, Facebook actually does all of its Will encrypt messaging services.
Is it good? I mean, the broader push toward data security and control is another element, and Facebook’s updates align with that shift. But, as mentioned earlier, it could provide additional protection for criminal networks, which can then use more platforms with greater reach without fear of being discovered.
This appears to be a significant downside to increased privacy, but these are the implications to weigh in the evolving debate over data usage.