Facebook defends encryption approach - Mobile World Live

Facebook defends encryption approach

08 MAY 2018

WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption was talked up by parent Facebook’s global public policy lead on security, following news the departure of the app maker’s CEO may have been linked to a weakening of the feature.

In a blog, Gail Kent explained that though government officials often ask why Facebook continues to enable encryption when “we know it’s being used by bad people to do bad things,” not having it “would remove an important layer of security for the hundreds of millions of law-abiding people that rely on end-to-end encryption.”

“In addition, changing our encryption practices would not stop bad actors from using end-to-end encryption since other, less responsible services are available,” she added.

Writing about creating backdoors to give authorities access for criminal investigation, she said cybersecurity experts have proven it’s impossible to create any backdoor that couldn’t be discovered and exploited.

“It’s why weakening any part of encryption weakens the whole security ecosystem,” the blog post stated.

She also mentioned that WhatsApp does have some limited personal information about users collected to provide the service, which has been shared with law enforcement “when we get valid legal requests to help them close in on a suspect.”

While WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum did not explain his reason for leaving, a report in The Washington Post said he was not happy with Facebook’s attempts to use the personal data of WhatsApp users and weaken its encryption standards.

New video feature
In separate news. WhatsApp iOS users will now be able to play Instagram and Facebook videos from within the app, a functionality already available for YouTube videos.

The feature is part of the latest iOS update WhatsApp recently released, which also gives group admins more control, such as the ability to revoke admin rights from other participants.

The update hasn’t made it to Android yet.


Saleha Riaz

Saleha joined Mobile World Live in October 2014 as a reporter and works across all e-newsletters - creating content, writing blogs and reports as well as conducting feature interviews...More

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