WhatsApp’s head of public policy Will Cathcart is set to dish up a slew of allegations against Apple and Signal India in a series of articles to be published on Thursday by the New York Times. One of the most contentious claims is that the messaging app has been a major source of child-exploitation imagery, with more than 400,000 reports of such incidents filed with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Another claim is that the company has failed to implement end-to-end encryption on the messaging service, which it says is vital for protecting users’ privacy.
Facebook’s feud with Apple
Apple and Facebook are locked in a bitter feud over privacy and data collection. They are also facing off in the courtroom over antitrust allegations. The two are hardly the only tech giants involved in a war of words.
Facebook and Apple are not the only companies battling over data. Google has had a lot to say about privacy and has banned ad trackers from its Android platform.
However, the iPhone maker’s recent push toward greater privacy has boosted the ire of social networking kingpins like Facebook. It is a good thing that Facebook is not the only one slamming the new iOS feature.
One of the key features of the iOS 14 update is a “Tracking Transparency” feature that will let users know when their favorite apps are tracking them. As for the feature’s main draw, Facebook has made it a point to test the waters.
WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption
End-to-end encryption is a nifty way to protect your messages and media files. This technology is used to secure calls and status updates, as well as other documents and photos. In the case of WhatsApp, the system is capable of ensuring only two parties have access to the contents of your messages.
As a result, you’ll be able to send and receive texts, voice calls, and even videos with your contacts without worrying about the security of those messages. However, this type of technology is only available on the company’s own smartphone app.
Another technology akin to end-to-end encryption is the Signal Protocol, developed by Open Whisper Systems. This protocol uses a key and lock at both the sender and the receiver to secure your messages.
400,000 instances of child-exploitation imagery reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) has received over 400,000 instances of child-exploitation imagery reported to its CyberTipline. This represents one-third of the total ever reported. It is one of the largest efforts in the United States to combat the online sexual exploitation of children.
NCMEC analysts review images, help determine if the depicted children are known victims, and alert authorities when they are identified. They also provide information to prosecutors.
According to NCMEC, more than 100,000 American children are victimized annually by the sexual exploitation of children. These numbers raise awareness of a problem that is affecting our nation’s most vulnerable citizens.
According to the FBI, the number of arrests has increased by more than 250 percent in the last 10 years. Child pornography has become a growing crime in the U.S., fueled by the demand for this kind of online content.
Will Cathcart, the head of WhatsApp, has recently spoken up about a new privacy update for the popular messaging app. The company has also taken steps to combat disinformation.
Last month, India announced new IT rules that would require firms to identify the originator of messages. This puts messaging apps in a tricky spot.
WhatsApp’s head of public policy Will Cathcart, WhatsApp has already started using an artificial intelligence program to scan unencrypted content. It compares the unencrypted data against suspicious messaging patterns. And it hires hundreds of content reviewers.
In addition to end-to-end encryption, which makes messages secure, WhatsApp has also developed a way to sync data across multiple devices. This compromises privacy.
Another feature of the messaging platform is the ability to make payments via it. If you use the “Pay” option, you can send money to friends or businesses via a link in your message.
Inability to be used on multiple devices with the same account
Using one account on several devices has been a challenge for many users of the instant messaging service. However, with the release of the Multi-device beta in 2021, users can now use their same WhatsApp account on up to four devices at once.
The multi-device feature is available on both iOS and Android. While there is no definite date for the feature’s official launch, WABetaInfo reports that it should be available soon.
To use the multi-device version, you first need to install the latest version of the app. Next, you need to go to the settings menu on your primary device. There you can find the link to your linked devices. This will allow you to scan a QR code on your secondary device.