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The Whatsapp Scandal

The house with the built-in backdoor

But McClelland, and many others, point out something even more disturbing: the complete lack of warning when keys are changed. "Why in the world would you distribute a client that not only has the ability to suppress such warnings, but has it enabled by default?"

That addresses the developers' second argument. The issue, they say, isn't what "could" happen but what "would" happen. Facebook insists that, were the government to demand its data, it would refuse.

It's a laughable contention because Facebook is one of the most intercepted and data-captured protocols in the world. The government captures Facebook data regularly and it admits as much. Facebook doesn't protest, claiming that its social media application is public and so protecting it makes no sense. So why in the world would it take a different position here when the circumstances are basically the same and, as Jamie points out, why would you enable the suppression of those warnings by default in the first place? Who, exactly, are you keeping in the dark?

What's more, they may not need cooperation from the company. Government hackers and criminal data thieves are notorious for successfully hacking systems that have vulnerabilities without any permission. And Whatsapp, by all accounts, now has a big one.

Given what we already know about the blanket, constitution-dismissing surveillance under the Obama administration and what we can expect from the Presidency of a rights-dismissive, paranoid crypto-fascist like Donald Trump, do you really want to use this app on your phone?

While not as robust in features, an app like Signal can encrypt text reliably and should in the toolbox of every activist (or person for that matter) using a cellphone. Whatsapp should not.

story | by Dr. Radut