Investigative Journal Claims That WhatsApp Shares Unencrypted Messages With Other Third Party Organizations

Spokespeople for WhatsApp have recently attempted to clear the air regarding allegations that the platform lies about its end-to-end encryption.

WhatsApp just can't catch a break, can it? Ever since that very, very ill-fated decision to force its new policy update on the platform's community, every move it makes is carefully and suspiciously analyzed and dissected. Then again, the suspicion is completely warranted. WhatsApp's parent company, Facebook, is well known for any number of controversies relating to user data. And when WhatsApp more or less attempted to coerce its userbase into giving up their personal data to that very shady overlord, everyone naturally took offence. WhatsApp lost thousands of users to its competitors, and was forced to delay its policy. Facebook even took to newspaper articles, which attempted to clarify that WhatsApp's new policy update was not nefarious. But the damage was already done.

This latest concern, attacking WhatsApp's famed end-to-end message encryption, was raised by online investigative journal ProPublica. The raised issue also has rather severe implications for WhatsApp's business model as a whole. Throughout the entire policy controversy, the one crutch that the platform relied on was its end-to-end encryption. There was no way that user privacy would be invaded, the devs touted, because conversations were encrypted and kept from even WhatsApp's own eyes. The suggestion that even this much is not true means that WhatsApp is at best lying (or at least not conveying the facts), and at worst proving to be an serious security hazard.

At any rate, representatives were quick to issue a statement, claiming that the ProPublica report was based on a simple misunderstanding. The latter's claim was that, when users hit the report button on certain messages, that message along with the previous 4 would be sent to reviewers in their unencrypted form. WhatsApp then allegedly not only shares this information with Facebook, but also shares these messages with the law enforcement agencies. WhatsApp's representatives insist that a user's sharing of reported messages is not incompatible with encryption, and thus the messages are kept safe.

It's becoming increasingly difficult to decide which party is telling the truth here, since all evidence is either circumstantial or based on hearsay. This hasn't even been the first attack on WhatsApp's end-to-end encryption, as competitor Telegram criticized the feature in a series of tweets. Either way, perhaps its time that we as a collective start letting WhatsApp go.

Creator: Chesnot / Credit: Getty Images

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