11) WhatsApp Transition is Still Filled With Questions

As of now, a lot is still up in the air about Facebook’s decision to merge WhatsApp with Messenger and (of all things) Instagram. Our earlier item mustered several insightful comments. See those at…

 

www.brigada.org/2019/01/27_25705

 

One Brigada participant tried to speak my language with his anonymous comment. “There’s a lot of information that’s missing overall.  Because WhatsApp was phone number based, I was always skittish about it to begin with. The purchase by Facebook didn’t help. This isn’t THE nail in the coffin, but it sure seems to be attaching another side panel at the least. IF they actually do bring true end-to-end encryption, and not end-to-server encryption or some other such word twist, to the other platforms then that is somewhat hopeful news. However, I have a feeling that there will be a good amount of meta-data leakage in whatever they create. From what I understand, most find that it’s connections, not the content, that is of the most value. Those connections, the meta-data, are things like who’s talking to whom and what are the relationships that are in common between the groups.  Having the phone number is a valuable piece of meta-data. [And here’s the part in which he started talking my language. : ) ] Being able to say that this phone number likes M&Ms and talks to this phone number who likes M&Ms, and all these M&M lovers like to watch Jack Bauer, so these phone numbers will probably like Jack Bauer, is essentially marketing gold. Now replace M&Ms with a street drug and “like Jack Bauer” with “have a police record”. Take it a step further with your imagination regarding a Police State….” I get his drift. I’ll leave his name out of this discussion (because, as you can see, he’s security conscious, but the truth is — he’s spot-on. Time will tell. Either way, with all of the security lapses of which Facebook was accused over the past year, can we really believe they’ll pull off this kind of confusing merger and make it secure? That’s the question.

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