Is Homomorphic Encryption A Blessing Or The Privacy Devil In Disguise

With the recent Apple transparency update cutting off significant data input to Facebook’s ad campaigns followed by Facebook’s case with the Congress proving to be difficult every passing day, the company’s future in regards to privacy and security of its users seems bleak. With alternative apps starting to spring up and Telegram taking the lead across the board. In desperate times, Facebook has looked hither and thither for updates and new methods to hold on to the existing status that they have. The attempts led them to release updates for the ad campaigners that provided them with additional access and more content exposure, however, it was not favorably looked upon and this was just a small gesture. The difference in access of information was far greater than the updates bridged.

Facebook turned its head to several of its acquisitions and with Whatsapp being the most prominent platform, was inevitably the most attractive. With artificial intelligence researchers stepping into the shoes at Facebook, Whatsapp is expected to get a major privacy update and one that would not only void the gap resulting from the lack of information but also put an edge over the ad campaigners. The method to be adopted by the Researchers is termed as Homomorphic Encryption.

The technical details of homomorphic encryption pertain to a technique of encryption that will allow the researchers to categorize and use data without the need to decrypt it. This will still be a breach of security and privacy by Facebook, however, any attempts by scammers and hackers would be rendered useless at all stages of the process as the data would be encrypted. Furthermore, the ad campaigners are bound to be satisfied as they would still be provided with the same, possibly more, analytical data and exposure as the algorithm would run across the encrypted messages from WhatsApp under homomorphic encryption.

However, Facebook’s comment to the information indicates that the idea is still under works and is in no essence of the term finalized. After Facebook’s end to end encryption blunder with the regulatory bodies, it is understandable that Facebook’s steps are cautious and calculated throughout the field. The recent history and complexities involved with homomorphic encryption goes on to back the claim of Facebook and User Privacy being polar opposites.

In fact, even android might introduce a similar transparency feature to Apple and prevent Facebook from gaining access to information of both the type of mobile phone users. Therefore, even though the development of homomorphic encryption have been discarded, it is the only possible path for Facebook to tread on unless they initiate ground breaking systems.

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