If you’ve ever wondered how to determine the originator of content on WhatsApp, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve covered End-to-end encryption, Artificial intelligence scanning of unencrypted data, and Apple’s 25-day lookup. But what if your conversation isn’t private? If so, how can the government see it? There’s no clear answer, but there are a few steps that can help.
Identifying the originator of content on WhatsApp
Identifying the originator of content on social media platforms is becoming a major concern for privacy advocates, including the Indian government. Facebook-owned WhatsApp is suing the government of India over new guidelines that will force it to break privacy protections for its users. This step would be equivalent to keeping a fingerprint of every message sent and received. The new guidelines are designed to curb misinformation and rumours, but they have a few caveats. Facebook has not yet developed a mechanism for identifying the first originator.
First, it is impossible to trace all WhatsApp messages and determine who they came from. The process is ineffective and subject to abuse. Secondly, it is hard to know how many branches of messages have been created by one person. WhatsApp has consistently argued that breaking end-to-end encryption protects privacy and prevents abuses. Second, tracing messages can only identify the originator of one message, not several. Moreover, the law requires the government to track the messages sent to all the users in a group.
The recent end-to-end encryption of WhatsApp has many benefits. Not only will it protect messages from being intercepted, but it will also help to protect your identity. End-to-end encryption ensures that no third party can read your messages, ensuring that only the intended recipients see them. While this might seem like a small concern, it is a crucial aspect of security. It is also beneficial for ordinary users, as it will ensure that their private conversations remain private.
While it is great that the app is getting more secure, the question remains, how do we make it more secure? In 2016, Facebook rolled out end-to-end encryption for WhatsApp messages, which means that only the sender and recipient will be able to read each other’s messages. But this does not mean that there is no risk of government or law enforcement agencies gaining access to the contents of our conversations.
Artificial intelligence scanning of unencrypted data
Facebook and Instagram have the ability to remove individual posts, but not on WhatsApp. Despite the fact that these platforms do not call themselves content moderators, WhatsApp’s artificial intelligence scans unencrypted data on its users and matches it against patterns that might indicate spam or abuse. Some of the unencrypted data that WhatsApp analyzes include name, profile picture, phone battery level, language, time zone, IP address, and Internet signal strength.
While the privacy and security benefits of end-to-end encryption are undeniable, users should be aware that this technology allows WhatsApp to scan their messages and pass them on to law enforcement agencies. For example, constant texting from a new account is evidence that the person is spamming. Other factors that the AI looks for include the time zone, language, and wireless signal strength. Additionally, it can detect previous violations and flag users as spam based on their behavior.
Apple’s 25-day iMessage lookup
What’s so concerning about Apple’s 25-day iMessage search for the government? It is not clear how Apple will make this lookup possible. Each time someone texts with an iPhone, the Messages app contacts the Apple servers to see whether to route the message over an SMS system or Apple’s own proprietary messaging network. Each query records who the phone calls and who is in the iMessage system.
The DEA’s recent iMessage search revealed that the DEA was unable to intercept the text messages from a suspect’s iPhone. Apple’s iMessage encryption makes this nearly impossible, but the DEA is still using the search. The DEA’s latest investigation, how to view text messages on another phone centered around a recent criminal case, revealed that Apple was not able to intercept the text messages.
Facebook’s willingness to give NSA access to encryption keys
The NSA has a large budget, and its efforts to spy on American citizens have been well documented, including the collection of telephone records, email, and internet communications through the PRISM program. The NSA could easily penetrate Facebook’s encryption system, but its new methods will significantly reduce this vulnerability. Facebook will switch to a more secure encryption method that uses keys with a longer length, increasing the key’s strength to 2048 bits.
Facebook’s willingness to hand over encryption keys is troubling, but not incredibly surprising. The company uses TLS to encrypt messages between users and Google. In addition to decrypting those messages, the company has the keys to access the message’s encryption. That means that if a wiretap order comes in, the company can turn over saved chat history. The implications are frightening.