OVER the course of the last few days, the tech world was abuzz with an essay on Forbes that WhatsApp was going to add some form of content scanning and filtering into their popular messaging app -- WhatsApp. Basically, the call out was that WhatsApp (Facebook, in reality) will be able to see your chat messages prior to it being encrypted and sent. They need to see your messages first so that it can scan it using AI technologies and flag whatever is necessary that may be seen as a problem.
If this was at all true, I see the point here of being able to safeguard its users from abuse or violence or to be able to detect any potential threats to national security. Unfortunately, there’s a cost involved. The cost being the users’ privacy and practically also shooting encryption in the head. Not to mention it running directly counter to whatever thrust Facebook is doing to regain its users’ trust after all those privacy scandals.
Thankfully, the report was not true.
Bruce Schneier wrote about the issue at length here. And I recommend that you go visit that article for more details into the issue.
But if it were not true, and you were a WhatsApp user? How exactly would you feel about it?
Would you even care at all in the first place?
Or are we all already sucked in too deep into these platforms we are on that we don’t mind at all how much information we give out willingly or unwillingly?
I’ve pined so much about data privacy here that I can’t remember how many times I’ve written about it. And, even until today, I’m still concerned. Always concerned, to be honest. So much so, that I convinced my immediate family to abandon Facebook Messenger altogether and we switch over our family chats to Telegram.
It’s not going to put a dent into these internet company megaliths but I think it’s a positive step towards safeguarding our private information. It may not even be that far off where I’d also be able to finally leave Facebook and Instagram (to start with). I’ll deal with the withdrawal that comes after. At least, I’m not leaking any more data than I already have.
Which brings me back again to these questions: how much do you care about any of your personal info being siphoned off by whatever social media platform you’re in? What have you done lately to mitigate and safeguard your personal info in the online space?